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Sony Sales Academy Success Story

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Sony Sales Academy For those of you who would like a clearer picture of what the Academy is all about, here is an in depth article that explains everything you would ever want to know about the SSA.

Sales do not happen by themselves. In a tough, fast-moving commercial environment, selling is about establishing a relationship with your customer that is based on trust and a genuine insight into their needs.

For Sony Professional Solutions Europe (PSE), it is a huge challenge to provide more than 270 front-line account managers across Europe with the skills and support they need to engage successfully with their professional customers. To create an even more robust, expert sales team, Sony with the support of DOOR decided to create the Sony Sales Academy. ’Customers buy on the strength of relationships, and that is especially the case in the professional world,” says Sales Academy Training Manager Mike Wallace. “Establishing customer intimacy is a fundamental building block in our drive to become a more consultative, solutions-based provider.” Crucially, the Sony Sales Academy is not just an off-the-shelf training resource.

Developed for Sony by DOOR Training India, it is based on a deep analysis of PSE's business needs as well as those of our customers and channel partners. “We have got ambitious organic revenue target towards 2010 for growth and increased profitability,” explains Mike, who has overseen the project’s development. Stated simply, the goal of the Academy is to provide staff with the skills and knowledge they need to sell Sony products and solutions more effectively. To achieve this, the Academy programme balances “pure” sales training with a robust framework of technical and product knowledge. There is a wide range of training modules available, optimised for Direct Account Managers, and Channel Account Managers as well as Senior and General Managers.

Since the Academy’s spring launch in 2008, many of the PSE sales force have already been through the “Solution Selling” course. Local-language sessions (available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, Portuguese and Russian) are conducted in small groups, with a strong emphasis on interactivity and role playing to complement more formal “classroom-style” teaching. Training is customised for each individual based on a thorough assessment of their needs and skills gaps. To augment the training modules themselves, there is a complementary programme of on-the-job “embedded activities”. This is hosted via our “LOVE Learning” (Learning Objectives Validation Evaluation) online system that manages and tracks all learning activity for each sales person and their manager.

“The Leadership Team and Local Management are committed to developing our people through strategic development programmes like this one. The programme was developed specifically for Sony and we encourage every member of the sales team to make the most out of the opportunity to attend the courses,” says Sony PSE Vice President Naomi Climer. One Key Account Manager who has already benefited from the programme is Claus Lofberg of PSE Denmark. Claus has been at Sony just over a year, looking after direct sales of visual display solutions of Sony's retail/transportation/venues (RTV) customers. “The Academy was helpful in providing practical structure and background theory to support my selling,” says Claus.

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