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EDAE 639 Instructional Design Alexandra Mockler

Problem/Need Statement
Company XYZ currently employs over 800 employees nation-wide, of which 240 make up the national sales force. There are 3 Regional Vice-Presidents, 17 Directors of Sales, 17

Business Development Directors and approximately 200 mobile sales agents. The role of the sales agent is to work with financial advisors in their territory with the goal to obtain client referrals for banking products. In this highly-commissioned sales role, it is no surprise to Company XYZ that that the average attrition rate is approximately 15-20% per year. Four years ago, it was identified that with such a high turnover in the sales department, it was important to implement a training program that would give new hires the tools and resources to be successful in their role. Months later, a New Hire Training program was introduced and this became the focal point of learning for new mobile sales agents. This program delivers training on product and process knowledge. It also teaches new recruits how to be effective and efficient with various software systems. Recent sales production reports illustrate that newly hired mobile sales agents are not meeting case quotas in the first few months of hire. Currently, the length of time it takes for a sales agent to be productive1 is taking twice as long as anticipated by sales management. This is negatively impacting their ability to get a solid start in building their practice, impacting the sales agent confidence and motivation, impacting retention and furthermore, decelerating the growth rate for this sister company.

Production requirements are between 8-10 funded cases/month

EDAE 639 Instructional Design Alexandra Mockler A way to mitigate some the downside in achieving initial sales targets is to design applied sales training courses that will be integrated into the New Hire Training program for new mobile sales agents. This goal of these courses is to properly equip new agents with the sales tools they need to be successful during their initial meetings with financial advisors. Making a good first impression is critical in a sales role in order to build a solid relationship with the referring advisor. With limited advisors in each territory, the sales agents must understand how they can be a partner to the advisor and use sales tactics and tools to strengthen that relationship. Current Environment Each new mobile sales agent is required to work from home, using a corporate phone and laptop to complete applications and run their practice. Initially, the new hire is required to attend a few sales meetings with other sales agents in his/her territory with clear oversight by the Director of Sales. The New Hire Training program runs every other month (maximum 6

times per year), where half the courses are delivered online via learning modules and live webinars. The second half is instructor led whereby all the new recruits spend a week at corporate headquarters to partake in a week of instructor led, active classroom activities. Each person is given a few different workbooks that will be used throughout the week to address certain key concepts and topics. Each hire is also required to bring their own computer to work on systems training. With a lack of office spaces and training rooms often booked, it has become a standard practice to work off the computers that new hires will use once they are back out in the field. This strategy tends to work better since the new hire can learn about the

EDAE 639 Instructional Design Alexandra Mockler unique functionalities of his/her own machine. This applied sales training will be conducted in a classroom environment. The room will be re-arranged to complement the different activities that will take place including group work, fish-bowl role-plays and impromptu presentations. Filling the Need Even though, Company XYZ is still an emergent sister company, sales plans and forecasts suggest this will change dramatically in the next 3-5 years. The company was extremely fruitful in its early years where it seemed that its banking products and solutions practically sold themselves. The market crash of 2008 became a tough reality for many of the sales agents, especially for those that counted on their referrals from financial advisors who were at a standstill in making client referrals. As the financial industry begins to restore itself, it is difficult to recover from the aftermath. Company XYZ can no longer rely on its unique product offering as there is a greater demand for added value. To maintain a competitive status in the industry, Company XYZ must equip its sales force with practical sales training which can be used to differentiate itself in the marketplace. If the sales training department can assist new hires in becoming successful right out of the gate, with applied sales training built into the New Hire Training program, Company XYZ should see an upward climb in productivity, achieving sales forecasts for 2013 and on. Unfortunately, with the sales plans slated for the end of Q4, the company cannot afford to rely on sales management to train new hires as several weeks may have elapsed by the time they get to conducting joint sales calls together. The Sales Training team and senior management believe that the amount of time a new hire uses in trying to

EDAE 639 Instructional Design Alexandra Mockler determine how to contact referrals sources can be significantly reduced by incorporating some of the different applied sale techniques in the New Hire Training program. Existing Stakeholders supporters of the applied sales training courses There are three (3) specific groups that support the need for an integration of applied sales training courses into the New Hire Training program. Senior management, including the Regional VPs and the Assistant VP of Sales Effectiveness are strong proponents of this integration, recognizing that production levels need to be higher in order to satisfy sales forecasts for the year. The RVPs also realize that additional responsibilities are placed upon the Directors of Sales, forcing them to have bigger teams and thus minimizing the amount of coaching time they can spend with each team member. Directors of Sales are also an advocate of this program for the mere fact that it will better prepare their new hires to meet with referral sources sooner, help them ask more relevant questions, and free up the Directors time to allocate to other coaching activities that will help further the sale. Lastly, the largest group of supporters for this course development comes from the immediate audience who will benefit from this change the sales force. With all the changes in the financial industry, it

does not come as a surprise that sales effectiveness courses rank the highest on our national training surveys. The Sales Training team also conducts course evaluations at the end of every New Hire Training program. Consistently and especially in the last few months, there has been an increase in the request for applied sales training. There is a large hesitancy among new hires to reach out to financial advisors, especially if they have never worked with this distribution

EDAE 639 Instructional Design Alexandra Mockler channel before. Integrating some of these sales techniques and tools at the front-end of the training process will help set the right expectations among the mobile sales agents.