Maximizing Sales Intensity Through Training
With immediate adoption of the tool, we helped the sales team
surpass its previous year's sales goal by Q2 of the following year.
“This training has affected our financial results, not only in amount but in the fact that we’re six months ahead of where we were last year. We are seeing great increases in our revenues.”
Julie Davis-Petit, Director of Marketing
The Stonewall Resort
Member of the Benchmark Resort & Hotels Collection
The Challenge to exceed sales goals with a tenured staff that
needed a boost in performance
Accelerate sales. Increase sales intensity.
Benchmark Resorts & Hotels is a company focused on curating unique and extraordinary experiences. In order to deliver on this, the company understood the necessity of providing training as equally unique and innovative to their sales associates. In Q4 2018, Benchmark deployed SalesBoost, an online sales development and coaching program, as part of their blended sales training strategy. Through a combination of on-demand, role-based training courses, realistic simulations, and immediate coaching, Benchmark Resorts & Hotels was able to accelerate sales and improve financial results—results that extended throughout their portfolio, such as the Stonewall Resort.
Before SalesBoost was implemented, the Stonewall Resort was ultimately not able to hit its annual sales target of $2.2 million; ending the year at $140,000 away from their annual goal. After implementing SalesBoost, the Stonewall Resort saw a rapid improvement. Its sales team surpassed the previous year’s target, and as of May 1, the resort was just $72,000 away from its annual goal of $2.4 million in group sales.
Quickly hire, train, and develop talented sales professionals from all backgrounds and at all skill levels
Vastly different skills and experiences
In 2018, the Stonewall Resort had failed to reach its revenue goal, and it hoped its sales team could deliver better results in 2019. To effectively increase sales, the Stonewall Resort needed to improve their team's performance at all skill levels—a challenge in an industry prone to high turnover and an ultra-competitive market.
After an initial introduction to SalesBoost from parent company Benchmark, Julie Davis-Petit, Director of Marketing at the Stonewall Resort, and her sales team started working with SalesBoost in October 2018. With SalesBoost, she found a solution that could speak to all roles, plug in quickly, and support a learning environment available 24/7 on any device. SalesBoost also offered the flexibility to customize training based on the Benchmark brand and sales philosophies and expectations. But for Julie, one of the biggest selling points of SalesBoost was how it allowed her team to learn at their own pace based upon their specific role and skill level.
The neuroscience of adult learning
Instill an active learning environment
SalesBoost developed its platform by incorporating adult learning science principles, which emphasize that people retain information best through active experiences. Rather than focusing on passive training seminars or quizzes, SalesBoost brings simulations into its courses, so learners can immediately put their new skills to use in a real-life situation. By doing so, learners become experts at adapting to unexpected situations. In addition, SalesBoost also personalizes each course by role or skill level to aid in knowledge retention, and it relies on AI and natural language processing to give learners real-time feedback on how they performed during the simulation.
Together, these factors support an active learning process where learners are engaged and able to quickly begin applying the skills they’ve learned into their sales activities. And by rehearsing each simulation multiple times, learners ultimately develop a “muscle memory” for the skill they are trying to cultivate, so performing the skill no longer becomes a conscious effort.
Engaging content, Comprehensive role-based curriculum, Ability to attract and engage top talent, Instant feedback on sales performance
Immediate adoption. 97% Engagement.
The Stonewall Resort was able to take advantage of the private-label fully branded platform with customized content that Benchmark had created for its portfolio of properties. While the development team began building the custom platform, SalesBoost’s content developers—all award-winning hospitality professionals and trainers—worked with Benchmark’s subject matter experts to create new Benchmark-specific courses. These 15 courses were added to the platform in addition to the over 100 existing sales courses included in the SalesBoost library.
In October 2018, 50% of the Benchmark sales force was on-boarded into the platform, with the remainder of the sales force on-boarded in January 2019. To date, Group Sales, Catering Sales, Business Travel Sales, and Conference Services as well as all Sales Leadership are actively using SalesBoost with an average of 97% learner engagement. Custom Leisure Sales courses as well as Marketing, Reservation Sales, and Revenue Management courses are in development. Operations and Front Desk Associates courses are also available.
For training to be effective, Benchmark wanted to ensure that content was engaging, a requirement that SalesBoost was well-qualified to deliver. SalesBoost courses were built in a micro-learning format that allowed members of the sales team to learn quickly, practice, and apply new skills immediately. Its on-demand e-learning courses were made available on any device to enable full flexibility.
As a leader, Julie immediately adopted the use of the platform and started building engagement among the team.
“I used a form from the Leadership Coaching Course, ‘Leadership Coaching to Become More Awesome,’ which is a fun, positive spin to the typical coaching or counseling form,” said Julie. “It's structured for team members to take more ownership in our coaching sessions and come to the table with concrete ideas of how I can help them improve.”
Comprehensive role-based curriculum
It was important that every professional on the sales team, regardless of experience level or role, be able to benefit from the new platform. When customizing the content, SalesBoost included relevant, role-based courses for every skill level; group sales, conference services, catering sales, business travel sales teams and leadership. SalesBoost also incorporated their existing courses and new courses are added to the library as they become available.
Learning Journeys are customized for each sales associate based on their level, role and development needs.
“We offer all of the courses to all of our learners,” explained Julie. “Not only does this kind of cross-training help our team members develop new skills or explore interests in different departments, but it also helps them develop a better understanding of how each department works and interacts with other departments.”
Ability to attract and engage top talent
Because SalesBoost training is housed in a platform that’s accessible at any time, Stonewall’s employees were able to reference comprehensive training courses, tools, and resources whenever they needed, helping employees to develop their skills and position themselves for future leadership roles. For those new to the Stonewall Resort’s sales team, the instant access to the SalesBoost platform means that they’re able to get on-boarded quickly and begin selling right away.
“This is an immensely competitive industry and being able to prove that we’re serious about investing in our employees is a big selling point when we’re hiring,” said Julie. “When we’re interviewing a candidate, they know that they’ll be able to essentially hit the ground running—instead of waiting around for an in-person training that could be months away.”
Instant feedback on sales performance
Finally, employees needed to be able to successfully apply the lessons they had learned. SalesBoost’s voice analysis software helps sales professionals develop muscle memory by practicing how to deliver an effective message that resonates. The AI and natural language processing technology analyzes the learner’s performance, then delivers feedback within 30 seconds on how the learner performed regarding sales effectiveness, momentum, and energy level. Based on the learner’s performance, the software delivers tailored recommendations.
I was surprised to discover that this is not at all an intimidating process,” said Julie. “Because of the way the platform is structured, each of us has the privacy to practice on our own as we work to develop these skills.
Julie Davis-Petit, Director of Marketing
The sales performance and financial results speak for themselves
Sales team surpassed previous year's annual revenues in 4 months
Throughout the sales simulation process, learners could access coaching and results instantly. This rapid feedback enabled the sales team to make adjustments almost immediately to improve their sales effectiveness. From the leadership team’s perspective, their ability to pull reports and see weak spots meant that they were able to focus on developing their team’s skills in certain areas.
As for the success of the platform, the sales performance and financial results speak for themselves. Before SalesBoost was implemented, the Stonewall Resort was ultimately not able to hit its annual target of $2.2 million. After all the Stonewall Resort team members began actively using SalesBoost, the company saw a clear improvement. Its sales team surpassed the previous year’s target of $2.2 million and as of May 1, the resort was just $72,000 away from its annual goal of $2.4 million in group sales.