University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo

Goal:  To address the challenges of new, expanding education programs and an increase in co-op students, senior employment relations staff were tasked with developing a strategy to help quality employers discover the benefit of hiring Waterloo co-op students. This included raising hiring rates with existing employers and attracting new employers from a variety of industries. Waterloo understood that effectively communicating the value of co-op to employers and enabling them to hire students was essentially a form of sales. To achieve their overall objectives, Waterloo sought to provide CEE employees with sales training. They also wanted to ensure management had the tools and reference material to provide ongoing coaching and training to employees and new hires through the onboarding process. Doing so would ensure customers (students and employers) receive maximum value. The CEE executive team at Waterloo outlined the following goals:

  • Engage a sales training provider that understood their business model
  • Ensure the training provider was knowledgeable about CCE staff and individual roles
  • Develop a customized training program to suit CEE’s specific needs and achieve the overall objective – increase in students working for quality approved employers under Waterloo’s co-op program

Approach:  Upon selection by Waterloo, SalesEvolve got to work, developing an interview-style, information gathering project to get to know the business model and staff, including business development, account managers, regional managers, communications & marketing and executive staff. 32 people were interviewed and provided SalesEvolve with an understanding of the workflow and challenges involved in increasing their customer base.

Result: SalesEvolve tailored the core training subjects according to what was learned in the interview phase and customized the delivery approach of training workshops to align with Waterloo’s desired outcome and the rapidly changing needs of the team due to COVID-19. The workshop component of training was designed by SalesEvolve to complement the needs of the executive team and to provide ongoing sales support to their respective departments. Training was conducted online with 32 team members and broken into smaller groups to promote sharing and discussion. Following the formal training sessions, SalesEvolve held smaller team sessions of about 6 people each to discuss content and to help staff apply concepts to everyday work scenarios. SalesEvolve also led mentoring and brainstorming sessions with Managers to help them provide their staff with ongoing training and support. The training modules covered subject matter including:

  • Value-based selling
  • Employer buying cycle
  • Customer Communications & Best Practices
  • Qualification of opportunities
  • Objection Handling
  • Account Management
  • Achievement Plans
  • How to conduct efficient customer meetings
  • Progressing opportunities with employers

Wrapping up the project, SalesEvolve also offered a final report of recommendations regarding team structure, sales processes, and effective supporting documentation. Recommendations were also made to support continuous development. SalesEvolve delivered in-depth training summaries, which included concepts taught in training sessions, to enable the CEE team to train new staff as their team grows.

We were interested in working with a partner that was willing to provide more than traditional sales training. In the academic world, the word ‘sales’ often carries a negative connotation. SalesEvolve was able to understand that and work with it. They helped to alleviate the fear of sales in our employees and focused on the benefits of providing sales as a service. We didn’t want this to be a tick box exercise or a ‘one and done’ training delivery model. We wanted this training to continue to live where sales management were equipped with the tools to continue to train their employees and new hires. SalesEvolve went one step further – and created the legacy to build the sales training module into our onboarding for new team members.

Ross Johnston
Executive Director, Co-operative Education, University of Waterloo

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