| Mastering The Pitch
When the SAP Sales Academy was unable to host their regular face-to-face training during lockdowns they needed an engaging alternative to shift capability remotely. Our tailored live virtual training led to the most remarkable shifts they have seen in communication and presentation skills in their young talent across North America and Europe.
When lockdowns from COVID-19 hit across the globe in 2020, SAP was unable to bring their 132 Early Talent employees together for face-to-face training in San Ramon as they normally do as part of their 8-month Sales Academy program.
“One of the things we were really concerned with was how we were going to get this group engaged, and help them with their communication skills and their presentation skills when they were not in front of clients.”
With the support of an executive sponsor – who had already been a part of our training at SAP – and our proven methodology, we were able to collaborate with SAP to design a tailored training program that helped them to engage, motivate and unite the dispersed team. Delivered virtually through 2 x 4-hour sessions, over one month and two time zones to meet the needs of both European and North American contingents.
We focused on shifting the way the sales team designed their messages and delivered content for their audience – to avoid “spewing [marketing] material at the client”, and instead considering how to solve their business issues. Susan described it as “forcing them to get out of their marketing spin language and look at it from how this is going to impact the client’s business”.
Both Bernadett and Susan received glowing reviews from their groups about our methodology and training, noticing a significant boost in energy and engagement.
Susan told us “It was the first time I’ve ever been on a virtual training session where at the end of 4 hours people were asking for more. We had no Zoom fatigue, which shows the energy levels of your facilitators and the engagement.”
Bernadett shares that the very first piece of feedback she received during our training was that this was “the most impactful training they had received during the entire sales academy program”.
Susan also noted that “networking skills were, I think, the strongest of any group we’ve sent through Sales Academy”.
SAP saw significant results as a direct result of the training. Both on an individual level and overall.
Bernadett shares that one out-of-the-box thinking participant in the European group decided to “record quick videos using the methods” as a way to communicate with customers. This led to over 15 meetings and even generated a deal – which was widely admired across the organisation “everyone loved the bravery and the boldness”.
Susan explains overall, one of the most significant KPI’s noted was that “40% of our students closed a deal while they were in Sales Academy.”
“This is unheard of because we very seldom have anyone close a deal out of 132 participants while they’re in Sales Academy because they don’t have accounts.”
Our training enabled the emerging talent to position themselves and their strengths so professionally that their first-line sales managers assigned accounts to them.
In addition to this, Susan says capstone presentations – their final project for the academy – were “the strongest we’ve ever seen”. Other senior leaders at SAP who had already done the training “were really impressed and said that this was something they wanted to see ongoing in capstones”.
Susan explains our framework is now embedded as a tool the students and mentors can always use and go back to.
“It’s allowed us when they run into challenging things with clients to have a common language we can talk about so they can go back and start structuring their message in a very simple format.” The methodology has also enabled students with lower confidence to overcome nerves and one achieved the highest ever capstone presentation score to date, Bernadett said was “mind blowing to see the confident person he became.”
“It’s absolutely for everyone, but especially those who think they’ve already mastered communication,” Bernadett says. “Especially those ones who think they are already super good in communication”, because “I think they might find a lot of nitty-gritty things to remember”.
Susan goes on to agree that she believes everybody can take something from this and also that she can see the benefit of taking the training to everyone at SAP – “I think it would be the ability to make the biggest change in our organisation”, it has enabled us to “really differentiate what we do in Services and how we invest in our people”.