Mentor Group Ltd was founded in February 1996 as an independent, privately owned company, to address the market need for business-focused people development. The company was an early adopter of customer relationship technology. Mentor clients benefit from the new technological applications for online assessment, e-tools and wi-fi content delivery utilized by the dedicated Mentor teams of consultants, account managers and support staff. Mentor probes deeper into the issues, developing more creative, applied solutions and guaranteed a business return on investment. As a result Mentor rapidly established a blue-chip client base including the British Museum, Dell, Honda, HP, Nestle, PWC and Vodafone with an impressive track record that continues to evolve.
For almost 15 years, Mentor Group Ltd has been one of EMEA’s leading sales enablement and leadership training organizations. At any given time their active client portfolio contains upwards of 70 firms, most of them from the Large Enterprise space, including seven of the FTSE 100.
“We are quite pleased with the success we have achieved in such a relatively short amount of time,” said Chris Norton, one of Mentor’s Owners and Directors. “It is all about taking the time to understand your client’s needs and helping them achieve their goals; about building that long-term trust relationship. It is this focus that has resulted in our customer retention rate of 94%. That says all that needs to be said, I think.”
More recently, this focus on understanding client needs and
helping them achieve their goals has led Mentor down an exciting new
path as a certified partner in Baker Communications’
Coaching in the Cloud™ program.
“Up until recently, most of our customer engagements were of the traditional face to face, classroom variety,” Norton explained. “This delivery model has been the industry standard for many years, and we have obviously been very successful with it. But more recently we began to sense a new urgency, especially among our Large Enterprise customers, for something that would be more effective in overcoming the massive challenges they are facing in today’s uncertain economy.”
Norton identified five key areas that have taken on new urgency with Mentor clients: the need to realize greater return on ROI, the need to grow new business and do it quickly, the need to deliver to sales teams new prospecting and leadership skills, the need to work more efficiently, and the need to coordinate their efforts more effectively on a global scale.
“There was a massive push for more of a return on investment, more quickly,” said Chris Norton, Director, Mentor Group Limited. “From a business perspective, our clients just can’t afford to invest so much time and energy into slow and ineffective marketing plans that might or might not result in new business. And from a training perspective, that means the days of going through a sales training program and measuring results over two years are also long gone. Our clients need results now, because in order to stay competitive in this difficult economy they need to rapidly develop new business.”
Norton went on to point out that one of the biggest obstacles to growing new business is a lack of leadership skills.
“There is this new and urgent focus on prospecting, on going out and finding and fighting for new business,” he observed. “But at the same time, organizations are finding that the prospecting skill sets of their sales team are not strong and – most notably – sales managers are not particularly well equipped to lead their teams in such initiatives. So, our clients were asking for a lot of help in these areas. This has also been complicated by the fact that many organizations have been down-sized, and people are being asked to do more with less. Those that are left have to increase their productivity by at least 20% just to stand still, as often now organizations are operating with that amount of fewer resources, so there is also this need for greater efficiencies across the sales organization.”
“As corporations’ footprints grow, it becomes increasingly important to have a consistent strategy across the globe with tactics that are developed to address needs that change from one specific location to the next,” he explained. “Enterprise level sales organizations struggle to coordinate those efforts across geographies, markets, and cultures, and they need their training partnerships to provide global coverage while maintaining local relevance and implementation to help them deploy an effective global strategy.”
About 18 months ago, just as these urgent customer needs were
beginning to surface, Mentor was approached by one of their long
term clients, a leading global technology provider, to collaborate
with Baker Communications, also a performance improvement partner
for the same client, on the development of a global curriculum that
could be delivered in the Americas, Europe and Asia in multiple
languages. During the course of that collaborative effort, Mentor
and Baker recognized the potential benefits that could result from a
strategic partnership. Baker quickly gained a deep respect for the
vision and capabilities of Mentor’s leadership team, and Mentor was
introduced for the first time to a powerful solution that could help
their clients address those five urgent concerns. The solution,
Baker’s Coaching in the Cloud™ performance
improvement framework, was already showing tremendous success for
Baker clients in the Large Enterprise space, and as one of the
fastest growing Performance Improvement companies in the world,
Baker was perfectly positioned to certify Mentor with the
Coaching in the Cloud™ framework that
would help their client’s navigate the changing sales landscape.
Coaching in the Cloud™ solutions integrate new skills with very targeted marketing and demand generation programs that deliver 20X1 ROI or better. These results are provable, measurable and repeatable, aligning the interests, goals and objectives of both sales and marketing to drive superior results.
Customers deploying these strategies generate immediate sales pipeline and drive short-term, fast sales impacting the current or the next quarter. The activities of marketing, sales and training co-occur in a highly coordinated, collaborative effort to execute a revenue generation strategy from start to finish. In addition, the delivery mode occurs in the cloud via weekly WebEx meetings that last between 60 – 90 minutes. Plays can run anywhere from four to 12 weeks, and offer:
In the spring of 2010, VMware decided to deploy a Baker Communications Server Refresh Power! Play in Europe. As a Baker Communications’ newly certified Coaching in the Cloud™ Partner, Mentor Group, facilitated the Server Refresh Power! Play for a team of 12 inside sales representatives in Cork Ireland. The results were outstanding.
|INSIDE SALES METRICS – Cork, Ireland|
|# of Inside Sales Reps||12|
|# of New Opportunities||142|
|New Opportunity Value||$3.2 Million|
|# of Closed Opportunities to date||38|
Over the course of the play, the team uncovered 142 new opportunities representing $3.2 million in net new pipeline. To date they have already closed 38 new deals at a total value of $653,000.
The cloud-based model Baker Communications developed naturally provides clients a much larger return on investment in a much shorter turnaround, while also solving for each of the other urgent issues facing sales organizations today.
“Coaching in the Cloud™ was a real breakthrough,” notes Jim McManus another owner and Director of Mentor whose client was the focus of the play. “Some of the plays we’re running, you can see return on investment in 4 weeks. You can see the pipeline building and you can see the closed rates. It gives you the mechanism to show customers very, very quick value.”
Feedback from Mentor’s customers indicates that they really appreciate not only the speed at which they get results but also the definitive breakdown of the results week by week that they receive during the play. In addition, Norton pointed out that one of the core strengths of Coaching in the Cloud™ is Baker Communications’ cloud-based delivery coaching model. The methodology quickly transforms the manager into a sales team leader by giving them the ability to continue driving the momentum Mentor generates with their sales teams.
“It’s a catalyst for sustainability,” said Norton. “The ‘I Drive, We Drive, You Drive’ methodology engenders leadership. When the play is over, the sales manager knows exactly what to do to ramp up the team to attack the next opportunity.”
Of course, there was a learning curve
for Mentor to be certified to deliver
Coaching in the Cloud™ engagements. For
one thing, Mentor needed to make some
adjustments to both their processes and
coverage in order to become a Baker
Communications Coaching in the Cloud™
Certified Partner. Mentor hired a
significant number of new facilitators
to ramp up coverage across Europe as
well as to maintain effective coaching
in a cloud-based environment.
“Delivering in the cloud environment is different from face to face. Not all instructors work well with the Cloud Coaching cadence,” admitted Norton. “There was a steep learning curve, but it was well worth the ride. To date we’ve generated an incremental $500,000 in revenue from this new business practice with an additional $2,000,000 in qualified pipeline, all in less than a year. For a services company to start a brand new product line and yield these types of results this quickly is phenomenal.”
Norton explained that Baker Communications worked hand in hand with Mentor every step of the way, customizing cadence and resources for delivery outside the United States, developing facilitator clinics to prep new European coaches, and ramping up Mentor expertise with salesforce.com.
“The support Baker provided to us was outstanding,” Norton said. “And now we are working more closely together than ever as we deploy Coaching in the Cloud™ plays all across EMEA.”
Norton also pointed out how Mentor’s strategic partnership with Baker Communications enables Baker’s Coaching in the Cloud™ programs to be more accessible to global audiences.
“To deliver effective engagements globally, say, for working with a client in Germany, it helps to have localized expertise,” indicated Norton. “It’s part of the European culture, and we are able to bring that to the table in a way that benefits everyone.”
Norton also indicated that one of Mentor’s oldest, most successful EMEA-based clients recently established a presence in the United States, where Baker Communications is now positioned to assist. “People want to engage with a local entity. Becoming the European partner for Coaching in the Cloud™ has really worked terrifically,” said Norton.
Norton was very energized when
discussing how being a Coaching in the
Cloud™ Certified Partner will allow
Mentor to evolve their approach for
sales transformation and expand their
“It’s opened up some new conversations. For instance, because of our partnership with Baker through Coaching in the Cloud™, we can now explore opportunities with service organizations as well as in sales,” Norton said.
Mentor is also scheduling projects with a brand new client in Russia, a region made much more accessible because of Coaching in the Cloud™. “It’s changed our whole approach to territory planning,” said Norton. “We use a world map now.”
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