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TD Magazine Article

Selling the Passion for Products

Developing sales and marketing employees’ skills and knowledge has resulted in enhanced employee engagement and performance results.


Fri Jun 14 2024

Selling the Passion for Products

The BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development. The winners use learning as a strategic business tool to get results. View the entire list of 2024 BEST Award winners.

For TELUS, a telecommunications company in Vancouver, Canada, and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, a 43-year-old family-owned company headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, developing sales and marketing employees' skills and knowledge has resulted in enhanced employee engagement and performance results.


Salespeople at TELUS, which is a Best of the BEST winner (earning a BEST Award more than 10 times), are responsible for a large number of products across several categories. With such a complex portfolio, a sales agent's level of expertise and confidence has a significant impact in either over- or under-emphasizing certain products to their clients. For example, over a six-month period, 10 percent of sales representatives didn't sell any TV or internet products.

Enter the Mobile and Home Master Class, a blended virtual and in-person program to improve team members' confidence, expertise, and tactics in selling mobile and home products. TELUS hosted four 45-minute virtual sessions over two weeks and created a new learning platform where participants can access reinforcement materials and answer questions to keep knowledge fresh.

Sales team members gained best practices for selling and then practiced what they learned with their managers on the sales floor. The sales team then worked with a dedicated trainer via video to develop an implementation plan and practice role-playing exercises.

Within 30 days of finishing the program, 67 percent of participants sold internet packages, 38 percent sold TV packages, and 22 percent sold both.

"Providing a hands-on learning approach is the most effective way to help our people strengthen their skills. The Mobile and Home boot camps were essential in improving our sales performance by providing our reps with direct coaching, helping them build confidence in making that initial sale," says Torey Konecsni, vice president of TELUS Retail.


To help sales and marketing personnel become experts in selling Deutsch's entire spirits portfolio, the company developed the Spirits Immersion training program. Day one of the annual, live training program includes focused presentations by mixologists and cocktail bar leaders on what inspires them to create and design cocktails and menus. On the second day, attendees participate in a gin blending seminar, cocktail creation workshop, blind whiskey and tequila tastings, and an interactive competition where attendees build a cocktail and spirits menu. The feedback from the program's first two years ranked the experience 4.9 out of 5, with a knowledge retention score of 85 percent.

The desire to strengthen the connection between the talent development team and Deutsch's distributor partners led to the creation of a new distributor training program. The company targeted key markets where additional sales and brand training were necessary to accomplish Deutsch's and the distributors' sales objectives. The TD team designed customized plans and guided learning paths to deliver training sessions to drive skill mastery to the distributor sales teams. The program has engaged more than 1,650 distributor team members and led to increased profitability for the organization.

"I am so proud of our TD team," states CEO Peter Deutsch. "In 2007, we committed to build the most professionally run company in our industry. We have accomplished our goal. Not only does our exceptional TD team consistently overdeliver against our company developmental goals but they do it with the utmost professionalism."

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