May 19, 2020

Never underestimate the importance of sales training

Adam Groff
3 min
Never underestimate the importance of sales training

Personalized, one-on-one sales can go a long way in today's business environment.

Because of this, a growing number of companies across Canada are focusing on the importance of adding a personal touch when it comes to training their sales teams.

Here are just a few Canadian companies with impressive personal touch sales initiatives, as well as some of the techniques they're using to train their sales teams.

Top Sales Teams in Canada

With the right sales team in place, companies of all kinds can reach new heights while satisfying every customer that walks through the door.

With that said, there are a number of Canadian companies that have been able to achieve continuous sales success just by ensuring each customer has a great experience. These companies include:

  • Aldo Canada - Aldo opened its doors in Quebec in 1972 and is now an international shoe brand. To make sure customers keep coming back time and time again, Aldo trains all of its employees to focus on the needs of each customer by tuning out distractions and asking key footwear questions. Aldo's online store also has an excellent customer support department.
  • Keurig Canada - One-cup coffee makers have taken the coffee industry by storm, but Keurig is still number one in terms of sales due to its customer initiatives. Keurig Canada makes its company more approachable to the customer by featuring customer service agent profiles on their corporate website. Likewise, they make sure all customer service reps use Keurig products on a regular basis.
  • Air Canada - There are a number of sales training techniques Air Canada uses to make sure all flyers have the best travel experience possible. For example, Air Canada hires multi-lingual flight attendants and booking agents so every customer experiences personalized service.

With the companies above in mind, here are just a few tactics Canadian companies are using to train their sales teams:

Taking Feedback to Heart

Customer feedback gives companies a firsthand look into the minds of their shoppers.

The article "Modern Pharma Sales Training Deserves a Personal Touch" mentions the importance of customer feedback and for good reason: it's crucial to the sales process.

That's why companies across Canada are using customer feedback to influence their sales training initiatives.

Whether it's online feedback via social media or in-store customer surveys, Canadian companies are taking their customers' opinions to heart by implementing their wants and needs into the sales process.

For example, if a customer makes a social comment about poor service at a certain company, that company can remedy the problem by putting more employees and sales people on the floor during store hours. It's that simple.

Asking the Right Questions

Canadian companies are also training their sales teams to ask customers the most pertinent questions during a sale.

By discovering the exact needs and specific wants of each customer through straightforward questioning, companies of all kinds are improving customer satisfaction and increasing return visits as a result.

Follow Ups

Sales teams are also being encouraged to keep an open line of communication with customers by following up after sales.

By training sales teams to make follow up phone calls and send follow up emails to each customer, companies are not only meeting, but exceeding customer expectations.

From feedback to follow ups, it's plain to see that Canadian companies are doing all they can to improve their sales training initiatives.


About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including sales training and customer satisfaction.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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