“Training is not just the responsibility of the company, it is the responsibility of the individual as well”
At this morning’s quarterly MG Sales Talent Network Simon Kerr, Commercial Director of COMO Hotels and Resorts gave an engaging account of how he took his diverse sales team through a process, which has brought them to where they are now; living a coaching culture.
Simon is a seasoned hotel sales professional with over twenty years of sales, marketing and revenue management experience with some of the most recognised names in the industry; Hilton, Intercontinental and Grosvenor House. For the past 6 years Simon has worked for COMO Hotels and Resorts and is currently Commercial Director for this very unique company.
Simon explained how he has worked with his team, which is spread across the globe and incorporates many different cultures, to develop a personalised learning and development template unique to COMO.
“We all have a little bit of the Prima Donna in us in Sales, we have strong opinions, are good at expressing them and want to know they are heard”
The audience, personally invited by MG Sales Performance, consisted of some of the most experienced sales leaders in the hotel and meeting venue arena.
Simon explained that when he was looking for ways to develop and train his team he found that many of the “cookie cutter” training courses available did not work for unique products like COMO, which includes the Metropolitan and Halkin Hotels in London. So with his teams involvement he designed his own personalised template that reflected the culture and expectations of COMO.
“The inclusive nature of the project has been very warmly received by the team with lots of buy in”
At a brain storming session with his senior sales team they went right back to basics looking at job descriptions, recruitment and appraisal systems for the sales team that truly showed the expectations of the company.
This template became their development model, which produced a set of Sales Competencies that described what the ideal COMO sales person looked like and how they did their job
“The word assessment sends up barriers, you need to train your senior people to be able to get the best and most honest response from their teams”
The entire sales team were asked to a benchmark themselves against a range of statements in key areas including:
Aware of Business & Hotel needs
Aware of Market & Customer
Flexible Team Working
From the results Simon was able to identify any overall theme or training needs and his managers were able to draw up action plans for individuals and teams
“By linking to appraisals and developing a coaching culture we have been able to keep the learning and development objectives alive”
The Q&A session that followed Simon’s talk saw the audience of sales leaders discuss the current challenges they share around recruitment, training and retention of sales people.
“Our sales teams have changed because our customer has changed”
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