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Insights

Sales Learning2Go at SAP

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
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All over the world, talent development professionals work every day to help create a world that works better. They do this by developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of others. Each year, the ATD Excellence in Practice Awards celebrate the efforts of individuals and organizations whose commitment to excellence sets them apart.

The ATD Excellence in Practice Award for sales enablement is presented to practices that foster and enable world-class sales competencies and standards that guide and empower sales leaders and sales training professionals to develop the next generation of sales people. SAP, based in Waldorf, Germany, is one of the most recent winners of this award.

The Challenge

Inside sales has traditionally played a key role in the growth of SAP— accounting for an average of 10 percent of total annual revenue. In the last three years, that role intensified due to enormous untapped opportunity within the small and medium enterprise customer segment as well as a strategic shift by the organization to seek the latest digital technology to gain an edge on the competition.

As more enterprises sought ways to digitize and transform their business, the selling environment grew increasingly competitive, leading sales leaders to partner with SAP’s learning organization to ensure their teams were prepared to meet customer expectations.

To create the “next generation digital salesforce”—one capable of delivering innovations to their customers and guiding them through their digital transformations—the sales force needed to improve social media skills, visual selling techniques, and credible conversations.

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The Solution

With these challenges in mind, SAP’s learning department created Sales Excellence (SE), a blended learning solution centered around a highly interactive, three-day, face-to-face workshop designed to boost the sales skills and competencies of the sales team. SE also was created to reduce the length of time it took for newly recruited sales people to complete the first deal. The classroom experience is complemented by before-and-after skills assessments, live virtual classes that reinforce learning, and peer-to-peer learning through video-based best practices sharing.

SAP also launched Learning2G, a two-pronged enablement approach that has brought together SAP’s virtual and digital learning programs to provide all employees with cutting-edge enablement—anywhere, any time, and when they need it most. A major component of the Learning2GO target audience includes the company’s global sales professionals (numbering more than 8,000 employees worldwide) and sales-related roles in the Global Customer Operations and Strategy division (approximately 10,000 employees worldwide).

The learning initiative’s virtual and digital approach includes synchronous, virtual live learning and asynchronous digital learning. Over the past several years, there’s been a tremendous shift within industry toward helping customers digitize their businesses—a critical, strategic priority for organizations looking to gain an edge on the competition. During this time, sales leaders have looked to the sales learning team to build a sales force for the Digital Age—one capable of meeting the needs of customers and a vastly expanded learning audience, all while driving competencies critical to achieving sales KPIs and optimizing bottom-line results.

The Results

To date, the program has served more than 2,000 participants worldwide and made a tremendous business impact, including a 29 percent increase in the number of accounts won by participants (compared to non-participants) and an additional $14.6 million in revenue.

What’s more, participants who took a minimum of two Learning2Go courses showed 125 percent more unique accounts in their pipeline, had 79 percent more value in their pipeline opportunities, and a 68 percent increase in unique accounts won

Have an award-winning talent development practice? Share it with ATD. The 2018 application deadline is September 21, 2018.

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at rellis@td.org. 

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