New Sales Academy: By practitioners for practitioners

The Sales Academy of the Steel Europe business area was established on April 21. Its mission: To help our sales teams rise to the challenges of the market.

The people who sell our high-quality steel products have a huge influence on our success. To increase this potential a new Sales Academy was officially opened at the Steel Europe training center on April 21. "Our vision is to be our customers' preferred partner," says Chief Sales Officer and founding father of the academy Heribert Fischer. "The Sales Academy will help our sales people position our strengths on the market even in a difficult environment." The idea is to enhance customer focus – and benefit the entire company by helping it compete in a fierce marketplace. "The goal of our academy is therefore to actively shape the change process in the company and establish a strong customer focus: We need to be the best – and that goes for sales too," says Fischer. The Sales Academy was developed and set up by an interdisciplinary core team in just a few months. Courses start in May.

Tailored learning
In the new Academy over 650 sales people from throughout the business area – later to be joined by other non-sales staff whose work is strongly sales-related – will acquire additional skills and knowledge tailored to their areas of work. They will start with a basic module, a series of customized training units developed on the basis of a preliminary survey and taught exclusively by instructors from within the business area. The range of subjects takes in everything from offers, target price, compliance, customer service, and pricing management to account and channel management. The aim of the training units is to ensure that customers are supported by only one core team throughout the business area rather than having numerous different contacts in different areas.

Two-phase system
A second series of training units, beginning in autumn, and a program being planned for top sales managers, will then provide more in-depth knowledge. Subjects covered in the one-day or half-day seminars include claims management, negotiating skills, market and customer strategy, order management, sales law, and anti-dumping laws. The Sales Academy is set to become a fixed institution with the mission of keeping our sales people at the top of their game.

Instructors from within the company
"We're taking a very pragmatic approach," says Kerstin Dähne, Training and Development Steel Europe. "We have tailored the content of the training modules precisely to the needs of the company with key input from "insiders". After all, who knows the steel business better than our own people?" Miguel Martin-Pelegrina, Head of Training and Development, adds: "The instructors are our top managers, they have the expertise, they are credible and they can make the events more interesting and informative than an outsider ever could. With the training taking place on the premises, participants save time and effort. So as well as being tailored to our needs, the courses are also extremely cost-efficient."

"The second semester starts in October," says Dähne. "The core team is excited about the Academy and keen to get started. A very important aspect to us is the feedback we get from employees – after all, the Sales Academy's motto is: By practitioners for practitioners."