Stirling Lloyd Case Study
Solutions2Success Client reference - Sales training
A leading innovative UK manufacturer of high performance coatings for infrastructures and buildings worldwide. Working closely with engineers, architects, specifiers, contractors and end clients to protect and enhance longevity of bridges, buildings, car parks, highways and railways.
Find out how Stirling Lloyd achieved exceptional growth from £17m to £30m in just 2 years and how they gained an attractive take-over bid from a $1.4bn American construction chemical company GCP Applied Technologies due to their success
The Project Objectives and Challenges
The organisation recognised the importance of retaining, developing and attracting the best sales professionals to overcome these challenges to ensure the value and quality message of the Stirling Lloyd product ranges was disseminated to win high value contracts, be the partner of choice and minimise profit erosion to ensure the company continued to invest in innovative products and customer service.
The S2S Solution
Having assessed potential training suppliers Stirling Lloyd selected Solutions2Success. Debbie Sweeney (Lead Sales Trainer) conducted a training needs analysis with several people from the various sales divisions to gain an idea of the sales team’s requirements and to help gain buy in to the programme. Many of the team were mature individuals, successful and experienced sales professionals so it was important they could see the benefit of sales training, be open to new ideas and apply the skills gained.
Each sales person (external Area Sales Managers and internal Sales Support) received thirteen days training over a sixteen month period. Subjects included business planning, forecasting, strategy, questioning skills, building value based propositions, relationship building, negotiation, presentation skills, time management and maximising leads from exhibitions. All courses were customised to what Stirling Lloyd sell and who they sell to so the training would be relevant and could be applied immediately post course.
Formal assessments using realistic project scenarios were conducted with the senior management team playing the part of the customers. Verbal and detailed written feedback reports were provided to each individual and stored on the central HR system. These reports were referred to when conducting one to one updates and appraisals to define goals, assess improvements and measure the success of the project against clearly defined KPIs. The assessment days provided everyone the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and application of the training; this was a key element to the success of the project and the embedding of the skills. The assessments were very challenging however the team rose to the task and appreciated the constructive feedback which highlighted strengths and areas for improvement.
When the sales team completed their presentation skills assignment at the end of the training they reflected on how they could see how all the training had benefited them in delivering their final presentation and why it was so effective in achieving results. Regular discussions were conducted throughout the programme with the Senior Management team and sales people; this helped stimulate further strategic ideas and continually revise the agendas and areas of focus when required. This was important to adapt to market changes, business priorities and continually gain buy in from the sales people to ensure the project was a success
- Sales of Stirling Lloyd to GCP for three times the turnover, sold for £94m
- Additional growth in turnover of 76% in 2.5 years - record sales
- Increase in profit margin by 60% in 2.5 years
- Win rates of projects improved by 20%
- Greater team collaboration across all sales divisions and support functions
- Inclusion of marketing personnel in some sessionsdeveloped a greater understandingof roles, responsibilities and challenges to support each other
- Development of common messages, processes and templates to ensure everyone maintained the same high standard and alignment with the brand proposition
- Sharing of knowledge and project successes during group discussions to compliment the theory with actual application
‘'One of the difficulties faced by many Sales Managers in their endeavours to recruit and develop a ‘super team’, is finding quality people. Once you have found the right ones, training them to become the best they can is usually time consuming, but essential if your business is going to improve the service it provides its customers and to grow sales.
The provision of high quality training is an important aid in demonstrating to your people how much you value them by investing in both their and your businesses futures. The collective learning experience boosts morale, confidence, team spirit and job satisfaction whilst reducing costs with improved staff retention. The biggest benefit to the business is the return on investment you see when good people become great and then stick around so that the improvements can be realised.
At Stirling Lloyd we have found that outsourcing this to the professionals who can bring a wealth of experience gained across different businesses and industries was the best decision we could have made.
It has always been busy here so the benefits we have seen in improving our focus and efficiency has resulted in us working far smarter with a real sense of purpose in delivering a world class customer support service to construction designers and contractors across a number of countries.
Delivering record sales over the last two years has been achieved by a lot of people and a lot of hard work and we are very grateful to Debbie Sweeney who we consider as one of our team. Debbie Sweeney (lead Sales Trainer of Solutions2Success) has made a point of getting to know our business and our people such that the training she has provided has been first class. We will soon be completing a two and a half year programme and it is our intention to continue to work with S2S in the future as our growth continues.’’
UK Director of Sales – Stirling Lloyd