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Sales training or sales academy?

Many progressive organisations who do regular sales training for their teams have created sales academies to manage this. This raises several questions:

What actually is a sales academy?
Do you need one?
What can a good sales academy deliver?

In our last update, we explained that we are collaborating with WillowDNA to build the Kojo Academy to provide accredited training for sales people.
In this article, we’ll explain how a well-designed sales academy can be hugely strategically important in the growth and strategic ambitions of organisations.


The 4 key roles of a sales academy
Our philosophy at the Kojo Academy is that a sales academy can add value in 4 significant areas:

Develop & deploy your sales DNA

Define and update the best practice sales methodologies and embed them in everyday sales behaviour

Training & Talent development

Regularly assess sales capability and provide intelligent career pathways to develop and retain good sales people

Sales enablement

Manage the everyday interaction between customers, sales and marketing for maximum effectiveness

Knowledge management

Discover and diffuse best practices across the sales community to reduce sales learning curve effects


Try this quick self -assessment to see how your organisation stacks up today


No. Standard        Score out of 10
1 Our sales methodology (process, attitudes, tools) is clearly defined and communicated / trained in the sales team
2 Our sales methodology is continually updated based on learning in the field
3 We have a clear view of the current capabilities of our sales team (Training needs assessment, sales specific competency maps, personal development objectives)
4 We have a structured learning journey from new hire to experienced professional that motivates people to stay with our organisation
5 Sales and marketing collaborate well in service of the organisational strategy, with aligned targets and effective working relationships
6 Changes in sales strategy, new product launches and new marketing campaigns are managed smoothly thanks to clear roles and processes in sales & marketing
7 We are good at identifying best practices and diffusing them in the sales team
8 We have effective on-line mechanisms for identifying and searching for best practices
  Total                       /80

Interpreting scoring

>60 points = Congratulations – you are doing a great job and now innovation and staying sharp will keep you ahead of the competition
40 – 60 points = Time to make an action plan – you can make good gains with some well planned improvement projects
<40 points = Good news! You can make big improvements in sales effectiveness. A well thought out road-map over 2 to 3 years will transform your sales academy

In our observation of client sales academy’s over an extended period, we have noticed that many do well on the Training and Talent area, but are weak in the other 3 areas. Common pitfalls include

  1. The sales methodology is too vague or generic and therefore not actually used by any sales people in practice
  2. The sales methodology is “inside-out”: It was designed from the supplier’s viewpoint about how it wanted to sell rather than how clients actually buy
  3. New hires are not brought into the business effectively meaning time to competence is slow and worse still, there is a higher than necessary drop out rate
  4. The early years of the learning journey work well, but organisations struggle to develop their best sales people who’ve completed the basics
  5. The jump from sales person to sales manager is precarious and badly managed
  6. Sales enablement is non-existent: Sales and marketing fight because there is no well thought out collaboration mechanism in place
  7. It’s very difficult to discover where best practice resides during changes in sales strategy, product / service focus, meaning sales are slow to grow

If your organisation suffers from any of these pitfalls, now is the time to get in touch.

The Kojo Academy uses a “research-led sales excellence” approach in helping you design your sales academy: Through constant scanning of research, evidence based field projects and client insights, we will help you to think through how to embed the 4 roles of a sales academy, and enable it in practice with a truly modern blended approach.

When an academy is designed well using these principles, it will have substantial financial impact through the following levers:

Reduce the cost of the sales force:
Decreased training cost per head
Increased staff retention rates
Reduced recruitment costs

Increased revenues:
Higher customer retention
Better conversion rate
Bigger success in acquisition of new leads
Higher cross-selling rates Increase profit
Better negotiation skills

Please contact Helen.wilcox@sellinginteractions.com to set up a personal consultation to discuss your sales academy ambitions.


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