Building Managers of the Future

Wednesday 8 July 2015

Beverley Froud, consultant and trainer has represented Prosell in delivering sales and customer service performance improvement programmes globally for the past 16 years. She has worked across a range of sectors, including telecommunications, retail, financial services and IT in countries as diverse as the US, Ireland, South Africa, India, Slovakia and the UK. Notable clients include Dell, Comcast, the UK Post Office and BT. Here are some of her reflections on working with Prosell and how the nature of the business has changed over this time.

What is your role at Prosell?
My key role is to deliver sales and customer service programmes to our clients, which today focuses primarily on developing the coaching skills of frontline managers and supervisors so that they can develop their people to deliver greater performance.

I also help train Prosell’s internal teams – that is working with our trainers to ensure that we deliver a consistent service to all markets worldwide. For example recently, I have been in the US, training 4 trainers to deliver a forthcoming programme for a U.S client.

You have been working with Prosell for 16 years now. In what ways has the nature of  Prosell projects changed over the years?
In the early days, many of the programmes we ran for our clients concentrated on the direct delivery of sales and customer service skills, in other words we trained their frontline people ourselves.

However, nowadays our focus is much more on training managers to develop the skills to drive change through the organisation themselves. This makes particular sense for businesses with large sales and customer services teams dispersed across numerous locations either nationally or internationally.

Our work with the UK Post Office is a good example of this type of project, where we were engaged to train 16,000 line managers and counter staff across the UK. Firstly, we helped the Post Office to develop the sales training and coaching programme itself. Then, we kick started the initiative with some direct training before coaching managers to provide ongoing support to their frontline people.

Technological change has also impacted the way we work. So, as you would expect, our latest programmes incorporate extensive use of video clips, webinars, Facetime and Apps to help provide cost effective programmes that deliver long-term change.

Prosell has rolled out many international projects, in which you were involved. What particular challenges do these projects pose?
Yes, I have been lucky enough to work on many international assignments with Prosell. In fact, in some years, I was abroad 40 out of 52 weeks in the year, working in countries as diverse as the United States, South Africa, Slovakia and India.

I am particularly proud of our work with Dell computer, where we helped train and coach sales teams across numerous markets around the world. Much of our work concentrated on customer mindset - helping agents in international contact centres to understand the customer, to quickly build relationships, to minimise frustration and to deliver quick, appropriate solutions. Of course, cultural issues came into play - for example, Dell sales teams in a contact centre in one country needed to be sensitive to the very different mindset of a customer in another region. In India, we helped Dell roll out a programme to 17,000 people focusing on “Customer Mindset”. As you can imagine, we were delighted that Dell won the 2011 Golden Peacock award for Global CSMB Sales Training and Development, that year presented by the Dalai Lama.

What are your some of your stand-out moments at Prosell?
Working with Prosell over the past 16 years, has been very rewarding although not without its tough moments. At times, we have worked with some very challenging groups, who initially did not believe in the value of the course or indeed of Prosell. In particular, I remember one group in the US starting on the first three day workshop of our Procoach course.  At the outset, the group was pretty negative, they did not want to engage with the programme. I knew I just had to keep at it, challenging their initial responses, not accepting superficial answers to my questions – to change behaviour for the long term, we have to help people change their mindset. The turning point came on the second day when one of the attendees said “If I was a huggy person, I would just hug you right now”. From then on, the atmosphere in the room was transformed and the workshop was very successful.

The real impact we can have on both individuals personally and the organisation as a whole is what keeps me motivated. I think this is best summed up by a comment I once received when working in India. “Sales are the sales. However, I can tell the difference between the managers who have been on the Prosell Procoach course and the managers who haven’t. What you are doing is making the managers of the future.”

If you would like to talk about developing effective leadership skills within your frontline teams, please do get in touch. We would be delighted to hear from you.

 

This post was written by

Beverley Froud

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