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COMMITMENT TO LEARNERS & LEARNING:

BUILDING BETTER TEAMS FOR SOLUTIONS


SELLING
JEN FARTHINGS PORTFOLIO
ELEMENT 1
JULY 1, 2016

OVERVIEW
In this slide show, I present here two training artifacts, each of which has two
components. These were used for similar audiences but represent two
separate training initiatives for two unique groups. Each group was allowed to
choose their own adventure following the delivery of the role-play
assignment, then a learning aid was launched at the end of the simulation
events. My self-evaluation of the two events and two tools are combined for
the reflection.

PROJECT, AUDIENCE, AND PURPOSE


This training was an effort toward attaining one of my professional goals for 2016: Build
Better Teams

Team of focus: Solutions Sales team, which is divided into regional pods
Composition of a pod: business development associate (inside sales caller), enlistment
executives (senior sales person), engagement executives (account rep), program
managers (implementation)
The purpose of these informal learning activities were:
1. To train on building presentation skills, from conveying the product and services offering
in a high stakes setting (very large contract) to delivering that information in a crisp and
cohesive manner.
2. Learning to working in concert playing to one anothers strengths.
3. Present a new learning tool for sales training on Code of Conduct

Each team was tasked with choosing a challenging, real-world business development
scenario to prepare for and simulate (Artifact 1A/B). Following the simulation, we used
the gathered audience to release a new tool (artifact 2A/B).
. These learning events took place in March 2016 in NYC and Los Angeles.

ABOUT THE ARTIFACTS


Artifact 1 Authentic
Presentation Simulation

Artifact 2: Code of Conduct


Sales Flow

1A) Trailblazers and 1B) Producers


detail the main assignment, where teams
were formed, roles were created,
prework was delivered, and
presentations were given to a panel of
evaluators, including me.

2A) Code Flow Existing Partners and


2B) Code Flow New Prospects are
infographics that remind the pod teams
about the process flow in a solutions selling
situation, depending on whether its a
customer (partner) or a potential customer
(prospect)

Details are found on pages 5-8 of this


presentation.

Details are found on pages 9-10 of this


presentation.

ARTIFACT 1A: TRAILBLAZERS ASSIGNMENT


TRAILBLAZERS SALES PRESENTATION TRAINING

Building on the momentum of being invited to present to Charles River, weve positioned the training to reflect a real,
authentic opportunity. This way, training wont seem on the side of regular business and should be more meaningful to you.
We hope that you learn, ask questions, and most of all, get to know your pod-mates using your strengths and theirs to the
max!

Objective: Simulate the presentation to Charles River to improve delivery of the solution
Practice your best LRN pitch in the heat of a simulated RFP response
Harness your strengths, pod strengths, and put them into action
Collaborate across the company to make your presentation great

Weve split the pod into two teams. The strategy is yours to define and activate. Jen and Marsha are here to coach and advise.

1. Presenters:Stacey, Alina, Peter, Lynn


Roles: The LRN Presentation team should assign roles as they see fit playing to strengths and growing strengths.
Deliverable: presentation outline to Jen and Marsha by March 7

2. Charles River: Jamie, Samar, Barri, Carol


Roles: The Charles River team should assign roles as they see fit, e.g.: CECO, HR, GC, Program Admin, etc.
Deliverable: questions to ask the presenters to Jen and Marsha by March 7

Draft agenda (90 Minutes, 8 am start sharp):


10 minutes: kickoff / intro, setup, goals & objectives for the training
40 minutes: live presentation
30 minutes: for debrief, feedback,and questions

Artifact 1A: Trailblazers learner-produced artifacts

Sub-artifact 1C: learner


questions
Sub-artifact 1D: learner
agenda

ARTIFACT 1B: PRODUCERS ASSIGNMENT


PRODUCERS SALES PRESENTATION TRAINING
We invite you to build momentum on a hot pursuit, so consider PG&E as your authentic training focus for Q1.

The training is designed to reflect a real, authentic opportunity. This way, training wont seem on the side of regular business
and should be more meaningful to you. We hope that you learn, ask questions, and most of all, get to know your pod-mates
inside and out using your strengths and theirs to the max!

Objective:Simulate the presentation to PG&E to improve delivery of the solution


Practice your best LRN pitch in the heat of a simulated RFP response
Harness your strengths, pod strengths, and put them into action
Collaborate across the company to make your presentation great

Weve split the pod into two teams. The strategy is yours to define and activate. Jen and Marsha are here to coach and advise.

Presenters:Charles, Denise, Mark H, Mark S


Roles: The LRN Presentation team should assign roles as they see fit playing to strengths and growing strengths.
Deliverable: presentation outline to Jen and Marsha by March 17

PG&E: Donna, Laura


Roles: The PG&E should assign roles as they see fit for example: CECO, HR, GC, Program Admin, etc. Feel free to step outside
your comfort zone!
Deliverable: questions to ask the presenters to Jen and Marsha by March 17

Draft training agenda


10 minutes: kickoff / intro, setup, goals & objectives for the training

Artifact 1B: Producers learner-produced


artifacts
Sub-artifact 1F

Sub-artifact 1E

ARTIFACT 2 CODE OF CONDUCT PROCESS


LEARNING TOOL
Following the main training event, we presented a learning aid to the pods. The
purpose of this tool was to build on a training session on our Code of Conduct
product because learners gave feedback that they were confused about the
selling process and when to bring in a specialist. The specialists felt that their
time was being used improperly. The solution was to go over the process with the
leaders of each pod and try to figure out where the breakdown was happening.
We deduced that there were two similar but slightly different processes
depending on whether it was a prospect (potential client) or a partner (existing
client).
To clarify and remind the pod team of what to do when and who to bring in at
which point, we created a workflow infographic on two sheets to show two slightly
different but critical workflows.

ARTIFACT 2: CODE OF CONDUCT


LEARNING TOOL
Artifact 2A: for Existing Partners Artifact 2B: for
Prospects

A. CREATE INSTRUCTIONAL EXPERIENCES ADAPTED


FOR STUDENTS WHO LEARN DIFFERENTLY.
Each sales pod is comprised of a team of specialists, each with different roles and responsibilities
and at varied levels of experience. The learning activity emphasized learner choice so that each
member of the pod would have a chance to showcase his/her knowledge, skill, and ability in the
role-play scenario as well as in the prework.
Learners focused on preparation:

P. 6: Artifact 1A Trailblazers, sub-artifacts 1C questions and 1D agenda

P. 8 : Artifact 1B Producers, sub-artifacts 1E questions and 1D PowerPoint slide deck

Learners engaged in simulation of real presentation and response (ALL)

By giving these adult learners control and acting as coach, the activity allowed gave them voice,
which was conveyed in how they creatively interpreted the material and worked together to
problem-solve. For example, some researched the company, some wrote questions, some
planned the agenda.
Because the role-play drew on experience and specialties within the group, each member had an
opportunity to demonstrate success while building relevant skills. The activity allowed for work in
ones comfort zone, yet required that ALL learners participate in the presentation. For example,
one person did the platform demo and another talked about our methodology.

A. CREATE INSTRUCTIONAL EXPERIENCES ADAPTED FOR


STUDENTS WHO LEARN DIFFERENTLY (CONTINUED).

Artifact C: The Code Sales Flow Infographic (p. 10) was developed for learners
struggling with the training on how to sell the code and when to bring in
experts. For some, the visual workflow helped the information stick more than
the training session or narrative materials.

B. USE KNOWLEDGE OF MINORITY GROUP RELATIONS TO


CREATE APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTION FOR DIVERSE GROUPS.
Minority group relations was not a factor in this activity, though the
group was ethnically diverse.
A different type of diversity was the backdrop to the Artifact 1
simulation activity. All pods took the Gallup StrengthFinders Skills
Inventory https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com , which
highlighted each persons top 5 strengths.
The pods were encouraged to play to ones strengths, and to be
aware of others strengths in order to be a strong, capable team.
Some favored execution skills, while others favored strategic skills.
Most were great at relationship-building and influencing, which are
important for selling.
Ensuring the group drew on team strengths was part of the
evaluation, e.g. handing off a question to a colleague more capable
or driving a conversation to another person when relevant, much
like passing the ball in basketball and getting the assist.

StrengthFinders Skills Inventory

B. USE KNOWLEDGE OF MINORITY GROUP


RELATIONS TO CREATE APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTION
FOR DIVERSE GROUPS (CONTINUED).

Artifact 2 A and 2B spoke to the diversity around experience and learner preference.
Enlistment and engagement colleagues needed to follow different sales processes, and
those with less experience were in need of a learning aid.
Trailblazers was comprised of employees hired since 2015 with the exception of one person,
so this tool was very helpful to them.
Producers was the opposite, with just one colleague new since 2015, but they had more
visual learners who found it to be a useful reminder.

C. MODIFY CURRICULA WHEN INSTRUCTING


STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES.
Learners with disabilities was not an issue with these learners but modifications were
made.
Artifact 1: First, the activity was made uniquely relevant to each pod, using a real
account.
Next, learners newer to the organization were assigned to groups so they could be
supported by at least one person as a mentor within the breakout team. Finally, members
of pods were differently-abled in their industry knowledge level so those with less were
supported and coached by teammates with more to mitigate learning curves.
In the role play, there were instances where the newer learner was rescued by a more
experienced teammate (Trailblazers Stacey rescued Peter), as well as instances where
steering of conversations occurred to help foster contributions from each individual
(Charles steering to Denise for her specialty area).

Artifact 2: Learner preference is certainly not a disability, but the forms helped to meet
learners in their comfort zone.

D. USE A VARIETY OF LEARNING STRATEGIES TO ENCOURAGE CRITICAL


THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING. AND
E. CREATE A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES POSITIVE
SOCIAL INTERACTION, ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT IN LEARNING AND SELFMOTIVATION.
Artifact 1: This experiential learning activity made use of a variety of learning strategies, particularly peer learning and roleplaying, and is grounded in the adult learning theory of andragogy, whereby:
1. adults need to be involved in the planning and evaluation of their instruction
2. experience (including making mistakes) provides the basis for the learning
3. interest in topics that have immediate relevance and impact to their job
4. learning is problem-centered. (Malcolm Knowles)
The group simulation provided optimum social learning and interaction and active engagement because they planned, learned,
presented and then debriefed together.
In the debrief, we first went around the room in a lightning round each person gave a 60-second takeaway about the group
performance. Many of the same themes were shared, and most were very self-critical in response to any positive feedback from the
group, which led to a renewed effort toward self-regulation and motivation.
Both sessions ran over in time due to lively discussion around feedback. They are still talking about it!
Artifact 2: The workflows used principles of scaffolding to help the newer colleagues stay on track at each juncture and to remember
what to do and when in thinking like a sales person or account rep.
For this portion, we brought in another colleague, Laura C, to act as a guest speaker to energize the room with her enthusiasm and
expertise.

F. PROVIDE INSTRUCTION THAT SUPPORTS


STUDENT LEARNING AND THEIR INTELLECTUAL,
SOCIAL AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT.

Artifact 1A: The lightning round debriefing in the Trailblazers pod led to a deep dive into personal professional development
following the session. One person asked for public speaking classes, another shared her experience in doing improve as a good way
to get more comfortable speaking, and another discovered she said um a lot. They were fairly comfortable giving critical feedback to
one another 1:1, which strengthened pod bonds and fostered a shared interest in one anothers professional development.
Interestingly, the pod leader was a bit defensive, and this was likely because she hadnt prepared as much, assuming she would
ace it. She got visible flustered early on and seemed to be self-conscious during the rest of the presentation. However, she did
note during lightning round that she was wooden and a bit off. Despite some disappointment, the pod, which was composed of
50% new team members really gelled following this shared experience, and their momentum since is notable. They ultimately lost
the RFP deal, but they felt that the training helped them deliver a much more focused offering, and they felt confident going into the
meeting.
Artifact 1B: In the Producers pod, most of this team has worked together for at least a few years, but one member was very new.
The team really rallied around him and supported his contributions in a collegial manner. However, before 5 minutes had passed, the
presenters carefully prepared PowerPoint presentation was almost immediately derailed by some tough-to-answer questions that the
team hadnt anticipated. In the debrief, the team unanimously realized that they were over-relying on their slides and hadnt
prepared for discourse and dialogue. I didnt have to prompt at all. They ended up getting into a very thoughtful debate about how
to recover and proceed. I was struck by how humble and willing to learn they were, especially from those that had been with the
organization for more than 5 years. It was a real a-ha moment. The next day, our president was out on a sales call with the pod
leader, a seasoned professional. He remarked that he had never see her listen so closely and talk so little, and NOT USE
POWERPOINT. This was evidence of applying what wed just focused on. The pod leader felt that she had turned a corner in her
professional development and pushed for more training, which we did this past month.
Artifact 2A/2B: After diagnosing the learning roadblock (why wasnt the training sticking, and not just for new colleagues) we
collaborated with pod leads on an effective tool that supported training on the Code of Conduct as a visual reminder of the process.
By involving the learners we used a collaborative process with proven results the infographics are hanging on the cubicle walls by

G. PLAN INSTRUCTION BASED ON KNOWLEDGE


OF SUBJECT MATTER, STUDENTS, THE
COMMUNITY AND CURRICULUM GOALS.
These two examples of the pod team-building simulation were successful for a few reasons. I had been
eager to apply learner choice again in my workplace training initiatives following my Action Research on the
topic. Also, I had just learned about the constructive classroom in my Cognitive Psych class, and I saw the
application to this situation as a must-doeven though I had only read about it. I knew I needed to
approach these veteran sales people in a way that was less traditional in order for them to get engaged, so
I went with learner choice, peer learning, and authentic assessment all in a scenario where I was a coach,
not a lecturer.
My number one goal was to have them be more successful in selling. The executive team noticed too much
talking and not enough listening, and the long PPT presentations were dull. Its hard to say that, so I gave
them space to show it, and they couldnt help but recognize the issues in the simulations.
Goal two was to foster better team work and collaboration, while playing to strengths. It was great to see
them help each other and collaborate before and after the learning. In this way, they simultaneously built
skills and relationships.
Initially skeptical about training, once I gave these capable adults control over their program, they started
to respond with interest, getting excited about the prep questions, and even raising some healthy
competition between the pods. Even the most seasoned colleagues learned something about the sales
pitch and themselves / their personal styles. Everyone found room for improvement, and even though there
was no scorecard given out or remediation required, they asked for it more training, more targeted
professional development. Basically, it was an opportunity to shine among themselves, possibly more so