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Case Study: Sales Training at Remploy


Remploy finds work placements and jobs for more than 12,000 people with physical and mental disabilities each year. As well as providing thousands of jobs at its 80 factories in the UK, it also finds employers for its clients in over 2,500 public and private sector organisations across the UK. Employer clients include Tesco, Land Rover, BMW, Wedgwood and The Body Shop.

The company comprises of 11 divisions which include brands such as Interwork (recruitment services), Managed Services (working with NHS and local councils), Workscope (manufacturing services) and Offiscope (outsourced services for the front and back office).Remploy also works with organisations to provide jobs in sectors such as automotive, e-cycle (repair and disposal of IT and household goods) furniture, healthcare, toiletries, packaging, print and performance textiles.

New Challenges
Increasing competition and ambitious growth plans led Remploy's management team to restructure the business in 2002. A key objective was to secure its position as the number one provider of employment opportunities to disabled employees in the manufacturing and automotive sectors and to achieve a similar dominance in other sectors including healthcare, toiletries and furniture.

As a result of the size and number of Remploy divisions, the company had a diverse and uncoordinated sales approach. Revising the sales teams' approach to selling was identified as key to achieving the new vision and strategy. Part of this new approach included the need to support government policy and legislation on diversity in the workplace by selling the benefits of a diverse workforce to employers. In turn this would allow Remploy to continue to qualify for government funding and support.

The objectives for the sales development programme began with the need for a stronger 'team selling' approach. This included a consistent and uniform approach to sales for the entire Remploy Group, identifying and developing revenue streams, strengthening strategic selling and account management skills and a focused sales leadership approach for territory sales teams.

The Remploy Academy Launches
Remploy had previously outsourced a pilot sales training programme for its furniture arm to sales training specialist TACK International. Also aimed at developing a 'team selling' approach, this training contributed to the company to more than double its turnover. This success was instrumental in TACK's appointment to create and deliver a comprehensive programme to support the sales approach of the whole organisation.

A year-long series of company-wide sales training programmes named 'The Remploy Academy' was launched in 2002 across all Remploy divisions. The programme included territory selling, relationship selling and key account management skills. This was consolidated with an overall sales management programme to unify the training sessions.
The courses began in 2002 and ran for eighteen months. Additional features of the programme included:

* The revision of a number of sales procedures. One example of this was the creation of an internal guide to approaching potential clients. This was designed to ensure that all communications were carried out in a uniform and consistent manner by all sales teams.
* Discussion and training sessions were held with groups of a maximum of 12 people to ensure all attendees had the opportunity to participate fully. The sessions addressed managerial and sales skills development such as motivational techniques, key account handling, territory sales, strategic selling and sales management.
* Briefing packs were provided for delegates and their line managers detailing the preparation required and learning objectives of each session. These were designed to facilitate discussions and reviews between managers and delegates on personal expectations from the courses and follow-up actions.

In total, Remploy has invested over £150,000 on its training programmes and more than 200 Remploy employees have attended Academy courses during its 18 month existence.

Remploy Riding High on its Success!
Remploy has met government targets and increased its focus as a leading provider of work opportunities for disabled people.

It has now started a separate phase of dedicated sales training delivered by TACK for Remploy Interwork, the recruitment service arm of the company. This latest phase of the programme focuses on developing the sales skills of its teams who are responsible for persuading employers to turn their initial job placements for disabled people into permanent positions.

While Interwork has been successful in targeting smaller and medium-sized employers, its goal is to improve the strategic selling ability of its team. This bespoke development programme will enable Interwork to target larger organisations, encourage diversity in their workforces and gain access to a wider selection of job opportunities. The training programme will include business development, relationship management, key accounts (planning and delivering sales strategies) and sales management.


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