Learning to be the best

Learning to be the best (photo)

Every company wants to establish a competitive edge, even more so when the economy makes life difficult and doing business becomes extra challenging. But how do you meet this challenge and get that all-important advantage over your competitors?

At our Automotive and Aerospace Coatings business, one answer has been to train salespeople to clearly communicate how a product can meet a customer’s needs and beat the competition more in terms of value than price. Introduced this year in Asia, the new sales training program – which employs an approach known as blended learning – has been highly successful.

Blended learning is different from traditional one-off training events because it combines workshops, role-playing, e-learning and take-home assignments in a single course which takes two months to complete. This approach was used recently in China and India for a Value Proposition Selling program, which involved participants putting their knowledge into practice for four weeks immediately after the course had been completed.

Not only does this approach prompt employees to start applying their newly acquired knowledge straight away, but it also encourages them to take a more active role in their career development. In turn, it leads them to commit more fully to their role and take more responsibility for their performance. The programs also offer a very tangible demonstration of AkzoNobel’s commitment to developing the talents of its people.

And initial evidence suggests that it is paying off. In the four weeks following the completion of one course in India, the sales staff added several new customers and increased sales at existing customers.