This month we have a case study within a case study. If you like success stories, it’s one you’ll want to read.
We interviewed BizSmart Select Member Nigel Dunand – from Sandler Training – who helps organisations build top-flight sales teams…
And we also interviewed Suzi Viljoen – Head of Sales at Supra UK, The Key Safe Company – to find out how she and her management team and sales team benefited from working with Nigel.
First we spoke to Nigel…
Nigel, what does Sandler do?
We work with organisations to help them hire and build A-player sales teams, sales processes and sales plans.
Who do you work with?
Typically our clients are in the Birmingham and West Midlands area, with 20 – 120 employees, and they’re in manufacturing, technology or professional services. They are running successful companies that have a great product or great service, but they suspect the main thing that’s getting in the way of greater success is their back office sales systems and processes.
What makes you different from others in your industry?
What our clients usually say is this: “The people delivering the training have done it”. We’re not contract trainers – we’ve been where they are. I’ve run sales teams, hired people, fired people and screwed up. We can all do the things we’re teaching.
The other thing is that this is ongoing. It’s not one-shot stuff. It’s coaching and training over time, with reinforcement to help it stick.
What drives you?
I believe that everyone has the right to achieve their goals, dreams and aspirations. The best feeling for me is when I get a “thank you” from a client. They’ll tell me they can now take holidays, buy the house they wanted to buy, put their kids through university.
My own personal motivation is my family. And I like being able to give back to my local community and a couple of charities I’m involved with.
How do you add value?
By helping our clients build successful sales processes that save enormous amounts of time. These are effective and efficient processes for repeatable success, so they can scale their businesses.
Now, let’s talk to one of your clients, Suzi Viljoen – Head of Sales at The Key Safe Company.
Suzi, tell us a bit about working with Nigel and Sandler.
We started working with Nigel just over a year ago, after seeing him give a talk. Our goal was to up-skill our sales people so we could go out to different markets.
Where did you start?
Nigel assessed myself, the MD and the sales team by getting us to fill in online questionnaires. At the time I was Sales Analyst and Quality Manager, and we were looking for a new Head of Sales. Nigel identified that we didn’t need to go outside to hire. He told me that I had the skillset to take on the sales management role.
I was unsure at first, as I’d never been in sales, but Nigel explained that sales is not some “mysterious black art” – it’s just a process. And I would be managing the process.
We did a two-day bootcamp, to cover the foundations, and then we continued with online courses and some in-person training on site.
We identified that we didn’t have a documented process to follow. All of our sales people were good at their jobs, but the process was in their heads as opposed to being documented.
That’s changed now, and everyone uses the same terminology. We’ve got a common language throughout the business so everyone knows how we work.
What results did you get?
In the first six months that I took on the Head of Sales role, sales increased every month.
And how did your team feel about the training?
The feedback at first was that Sandler came across as very American. But they liked the ethos that you’re creating partnerships with people, rather than trying to make a sale. It gives the sales job more of a purpose.
What really clicked with them was “looking for the no”. The idea that you should give potential customers every opportunity to tell you “no”, and a “no” is absolutely fine. We’ve flipped it a bit and we call it getting to the truth. If it’s a “no” or a “not now” that’s fine – it’s quite easy then to move onto the next person.
Another great thing about the training is that Nigel is always so helpful and encouraging. He always puts a positive spin on things.
We’ve just signed up with Sandler for a strategic management course – two of our managers are doing that next month. And we’re expanding into new territories and bringing out a new product, so the whole company is gearing up for those changes.
Now, back to Nigel… what should someone do if they’re interested in finding out more?
We have two free taster sessions that people can book onto: