Talent to thrive: inspiring cultural change

13th February 2023 |   Journal Of Sales Transformation

Nick Rose: Setting up a sales academy.
Nick Rose: Setting up a sales academy.
Simon Wheeler: How to reduce attrition?
Simon Wheeler: How to reduce attrition?

How can sales leaders inspire cultural change so sales talent can thrive? Participants and speakers from leading organisations such as BT, SAP, Sharp, UCAS and Vodafone came together at the London Stock Exchange on 1 December 2022 for Consalia’s 17th annual Global Sales Transformation event to discuss professional development for sales teams and individuals, as well as the wider sales profession.  

With a subtext of how to attract, engage and retain young sales talent, the agenda included:

  • Louise Sutton, Consalia Academy Director and Patrick Joiner, Managing Director of the Institute of Sales Professionals, reviewing “The state of sales apprenticeships”.
  • Katie Bell, Chief Marketing Officer at UCAS, discussing “Sales as a career” with a focus on student sentiment.
  • Nick Rose, Regional Sales Director at Sharp UK, explaining “How to embed a sales academy at an organisation”. 
  • Jo Hillman, Senior Sales Director at CWT, presenting a session on how to engage a salesforce through times of unprecedented change. 
  • A session discussing attracting, engaging and retaining sales talent through apprenticeships with a panel comprising Jason Holt, Co-Founder of Metaverse Learning; Sherry Nematalla, Global Accounts Manager at Vodafone; Kevin Kelly, Managing Director at PACE; and Pete Milsom, Partnerships Manager – Apprenticeships at UCAS.

Embedding a sales ​academy

Rose, a graduate of Consalia’s Master’s programme is currently embedding a sales academy within Sharp and shared findings from his research that led to the development of the academy. Following a survey, he took a number of recommendations to senior leadership: 

  • Plan and communicate in advance and deliver on expectations of a global brand. 
  • Onboard cohorts instead of new hires individually – this would be more efficient and harnesses the power of a team. 
  • Separate “generic induction” from the sales onboarding process – promote sales content and keep it “front and centre”. 
  • Involving the learning and development manager in all sales onboarding UK-wide to ensure consistency, whilst also enabling autonomy across regions. 
  • Overhaul content – write a programme that will speed up time to competency by focusing on the areas that matter the most while embedding understanding around the business’s values. 
  • Embedding a mentor/buddy system to harness the power of peer-to-peer learning.


Rose was followed by Simon Wheeler, Account Executive for Transport at Salesforce, discussing whether vision and coaching could be used to reduce attrition in the context of the “Great Resignation”.

A shift in thinking on the part of employees means they are demanding more from their current and potential employers. Via a series of research interviews Wheeler discovered that many young workers no longer wish to work for companies just to make money; they want to work for a brand or people they believe in; they want to feel as though their efforts are making a difference.

His research also found that retention tops the list of priorities for firms, while a majority of workers who quit their jobs in 2021 cited low pay, no opportunities for growth and feeling disrespected. At the same time, a toxic culture is driving the Great Resignation.

Wheeler added that, to attract people to a career in sales, it is vital for companies to pay close attention to what their employees need. This includes proper recognition for their work, a path to professional growth, and a healthy work-life balance. 

He also introduced his V2GROW – A Conceptual Coaching Method, a modification of Sir John Whitmore’s Grow Method. V2GROW aims to create deep engagement with salespeople while also addressing concerns, such as lack of development and growth opportunity by introducing forward thinking and extending the coaching perspective.

Click for all the presentations from the 17th GST event. See also the news story.