RS Components transform from declining sales to double digit growth – The Discovery Way

After a decline in sales and given the ambitious sales targets to meet in 2020, the Northern Europe division of RS Components needed to think big and embark on radical change. With more than 200 sales staff, the biggest challenge was how to get the entire team consistently achieving sales excellence. RS knew that a sales transformation programme was required and that external support would be needed to succeed. 24 months later, the team are now achieving double digit sales growth with much of the success cited as the support of Discovery, the experts in sales transformation, through a process of diagnosis, interventions and development.

The Challenge

Faced with a highly competitive market space and declining sales figures, key stakeholders recognised that ‘doing what they have always done’ would not change the future to achieve the desired results and utilising external expertise would be of paramount importance to achieve rapid growth.

By partnering with Discovery, RS implemented a multi-stage programme of assessment, training and development that utilises the unique expertise of Discovery to achieve a successful turnaround in less than 18 months.

RS Components, a trading brand of Electrocomponents founded in 1937, is a high-service distributor of electronic and industrial products, serving over 1 million customers in over 80 countries world-wide.

With operations in 32 countries, RS offer around 500,000 products through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters to over one million customers, shipping more than 44,000 parcels a day.

The Process

Discovery identified that RS sales staff were generally lacking the commercial skills to sell on value rather than transactionally – an essential element in creating the successful future sales team that RS required. A 24-month series of blended learning, consisting of off-site and online training and experiential workshops was developed, with the sales team and managers attending. RS employees significantly improved their self-awareness and commercial thinking and there were even some surprising outcomes such as the Northern Europe sales team now scoring the highest engagement score across the whole company.

 

Benchmarking

A key part of the process was creating a benchmark, consisting of the most desirable traits and behaviours for the different sales roles in RS Components. Discovery worked with RS’ key stakeholders to identify ’what good looks like’ for each role and then, based on the company values, relative pace of the organisation and benchmarks, the key competencies to measure against were established. This meant that delegates’ current skills and behaviours could be objectively and consistently measured against the benchmark of what RS perceived as a ‘world class perfect person’ for that role.

“We really wanted to understand how we could do something new and different, something that hadn’t been tried before in our organisation, and arguably within our industry.

We’ve gone from a business which was tracking below-par and we’re now in double-digit growth, and this programme really underpins that. It’s helping our people to understand the value of being part of RS components and it’s creating a greater sense of employee brand value.

We’re really proud that we’ve been able to invest in our people and we’re seeing positive results, both individually and for the business.”

Mike England, President of EMEA, RS Components

 

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Talent Labs

Talent Labs are an engaging five-stage process of self-awareness and positive learning designed to help organisations establish a common agreement on development areas. To achieve the best outcomes for workforce improvement, all diagnostic activity is objective and without bias. Unlike other diagnostic tools, Talent Labs don’t generalise competencies across an organisation, instead they measure capabilities of set roles.

 

RS Components Talent Lab journey

Discovery recognised that in order to facilitate maximum levels of development, RS required different competencies and benchmarks to be created for the different roles. Alongside mutual competencies, such as commercial acumen, the sales managers needed emphasis on managerial skills and techniques, whilst the sales team required greater focus on self-awareness. RS delegates participated in multiple interventions, such as time-restricted role plays and presentations, in order to be measured against the competencies. To guarantee optimum understanding throughout the Talent Lab journey, Discovery provided delegates with in-depth, expert feedback, in both a 1-2-1 and group environment, on ‘what good looked like’ for each assessment activity.

RS Components’ high-potential talent

Discovery’s Talent Labs helped RS to identify high-potential talent, which resulted in:

Internal promotions being made

Identification of the individuals who wouldn’t need to participate in the training

Training programmes

The Talent Labs uncovered commonalities of development areas amongst RS’ sales team, providing further clarity of the changes required for future success in sales. Based on this, the sales team created personal development plans, which were incorporated into the 357 hours of bespoke training that were designed and delivered by Discovery.

Feedback from the delegates highlights their engagement and the huge difference the training is making:

“By some margin this has been the most useful course I have attended. It has provided critical insight and detail that will help my personal development”.

Management Development Programme Delegate

“This is certainly the best training I have been on and trust me throughout my working life I have been on many! It was not easy, but the end result was huge”.

Building Commercial Acumen Delegate

Talent Labs and training helped RS Components to:

Engage and inspire their sales people towards the achievement of “Best in Class” sales benchmarks

 

Achieve double-digit growth

Achieve the highest employee engagement scores for any sales training at RS

Parallax

Parallax, a neurobiological behavioural profiling tool that looks at the brain in 3D and emulates the ‘patternation’ of the brain, doesn’t stereotype people based on norm groups – it takes into account that people are individuals and that environment has an impact on behaviour.

 

The power of Parallax for RS Components

This unique approach to behavioural profiling has provided unparalleled insights into individuals and how they might work better together, which lead to increased awareness and new behaviours embedding in RS. This is radically improving dynamics and acceptance of diversity, as well as providing RS employees with an understanding of their interpersonal skills and their behavioural impact on others, including colleagues and customers.

The Solution

Over 24 months, 35 managers and 200 sales people went through Discovery’s robust assessment, training and development process. RS Components has experienced double-digit sales growth in the Northern Europe division over this time, with Discovery’s training and development programmes, such as Talent Labs and bespoke training solutions, being cited as a key contributor in the uplift of performance and behaviour.

Alongside the significant commercial success RS experienced, an internal engagement survey at RS has shown that the sales team’s engagement is now the highest score across the whole company.