In 2016, TELUS Business began a far-reaching transformation of training and continuing education for its sales professionals.
Paul Bleier, Director, Sales Enablement at TELUS Business, discusses the factors driving this transformation and explains the strategies the company has used to elevate the performance of its sales force across Canada.
What changes in the business environment led TELUS Business to transform its training programs?
We recognized that the sales function in Canada is changing as customers demand more from their sales professionals – repeatedly pulling them out of their comfort zones. Aligning the capabilities of a sales organization to the customer’s business is no longer an optional exercise. Now more than ever, our complex selling environments require a focused effort by sales-enablement teams to help move sales behaviours from product selling to business-outcome selling.
We knew that without this shift, it would become increasingly difficult for our sales professionals to differentiate themselves, and successfully influence customer buying decisions.
What was the primary goal of this initiative?
Our overarching goal was to establish the best and most customer-focused salesforce across all our businesses globally, by implementing a world-class sales onboarding and continuous learning program – focused on performance-based, progressive development for sales excellence.
What did you identify as the necessary training components to drive higher sales performance?
One requirement was to ensure consistent use across the country of our Premier Sales Organization methodologies. We also intensified our focus on coaching and developing specific sales competencies among our team members. In terms of knowledge, we reinforced the importance of knowing customer markets and buying cycles, provided education on TELUS’s products and services, and ensured that sales professionals really understood the customer’s business transformation challenges they could address through the strategic use of technology.
How did you bring together all these approaches?
Our significant multi-year investment culminated in the launch of the TELUS Sales Academy (TSA) – a modern sales-enablement initiative to help sales professionals learn, grow, share and ultimately advance their careers in sales. TSA is a training and career-development program designed to facilitate adoption of industry best practices and sales competencies through formal and just-in-time learning, which both leverage recent investments in powerful sales enablement platforms. This includes training and coaching programs focused on leadership selling processes, funnel management, account planning, opportunity management, executive-level sales messaging, white-boarding techniques and social selling strategies.
TSA learning opportunities are grouped to form curriculums and structured around a three-tiered model: Foundation, Practitioner and Mastery, each designed to feed into the next through a rigorous certification process. To progress from tier-to-tier, candidates must complete the certification at each level of the curriculum, which is managed by regional certification boards.
What makes the TSA methods and approaches unique?
The novel nature of this program was recognized this past summer, when TELUS became the first organization in Canada to have an internal learning program of this calibre accredited by the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA), giving new and tenured TELUS sales professionals an opportunity to become a Certified Sales Associate.
Earning official professional designations from the CPSA adds credibility to TELUS Business’s sales teams and reminds customers of our ability to create meaningful and successful partnerships by putting customers first at every stage of the sales journey.
To learn more about how TELUS Business supports career advancement for its sales professionals, visit telus.com/careers.
Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.