Jay Sriskanthan from O2 argues that in a hyper-connected, hyper-distracted world, selling ourselves is a must.
We, as learning professionals, are able to grow the capability of our people, accelerate business performance and play an instrumental role in shaping the culture of our organisation.
Yet if you ask most people outside of our profession, they would not describe what we do as I have just described it. Why? Is it that our learning solutions are not aligned to business? Is it that the quality of our learning solutions is not strong enough? Or is it hard to access the learning solutions being provided?
The truth is, most of the time we do a fantastic job, we have plenty of people giving us positive feedback and we win awards. But clients remember us for that awesome learning experience and then forget to connect the dots that the learning experience led to their positive performance outcomes.
To add to this, we live in a hyper connected and hyper distracted world, where getting our voices, messages and services seen and heard by our clients (stakeholders) is a challenge.
Clients remember us for that awesome learning experience and then forget to connect the dots that the learning experience led to their positive performance outcomes.
So, we have a choice; we can either accept things as they are and continue, or we take a proactive role in shaping what and how our clients think, and ensure all our stakeholders understand the value of our work and how hard we have worked to create this for them.
For me, selling is simply understanding our client’s world and then putting together appropriate solutions that create value for them. Working with B2B sales professionals for the last 10 years, I have learned one or two things, which I find very helpful in my role as a learning partner to the business – which requires selling skills at both C-suite and individual contributor level.
My mentor once said, “Jay, remember the ABCD of sales”.
A for Attitude: Always have the attitude to serve the people (the end delegates) and be a true partner alongside your sponsors and executives, to solve business problems.It is with this mindset we can create true value for all – that is what makes all the difference.
B for Behaviour: Always do the right things such as turn up to meetings prepared and researched, share bad news early, so that risks are reduced and mitigated.
C for Competence: such as listening, asking good questions, building and maintaining relationships, business and finance acumen and research skills…to name a few.
D for Delivery: we must always deliver what we promise our clients and stakeholders.
At O2, we have been able to mobilise a Sales Academy which our senior executives describe as a commercial differentiator, and our sales professionals describe as a passport to development and growth. is is no accident or magical relationship or even a sales programme.
It is combination of all activities plus selling our value to the business. But, like sales, you are only as good as your future performance. Failures will happen, especially when we try new things, but having a strong brand and the right relationships, with the right training propositions, helps us to maintain the ethos of learning excellence.
About the author
Jay Sriskanthan is a learning partner at Telefonica. Follow him @Jay_Learning
Jay will be one of the TJwow speakers on 14 November when the question under discussion will be: “Are all L&D professionals sales people of learning for their organisations?” Find out more and register here