Sales Enablement Resources

Webinar: How to Take Your Sales Academy Remote

See transcript below

Watch the webinar now to learn how Paul Bleier, Director of Sales Enablement at Telus, took the entire Telus Sales Academy digital and had a measurable impact on the bottom line. 

In this half hour webinar, you’ll learn: 

  • How Paul’s digital Sales Academy enables sellers all over the country remotely
  • The outcomes you need to track in your remote sales enablement programs
  • The impact you can have by taking your training remote

Downloadable files:

Webinar Transcript


Spencer Grover (SG): All right, team. Let's get started now. Obviously, we're super excited about the webinar we have coming up. We want this to be as interactive as possible so if you have questions as we go, please let us know.

SG: If something comes up that you want to ask Paul, let us know. Cause this is, this is going to be really fun.  It’s 10:03. We have half an hour so I want to get right to it.  Just a couple of housekeeping things to cover here. First off,  if you can't hear anything right now, please let us know in the  chat or in the questions function cause you should be able to hear my voice.

SG: Secondly, we will definitely send the  slides and the recording after. And  lastly,  if you have any questions, ask them. Paul is a nice guy. He'll probably answer them. I'm  useless. But Paul, super nice. He's definitely someone who can help you out, and we'll get to as many as we can at the end. I make no promises.  we had a bunch of questions ahead of time,  which we're super keen to get to, so, so yeah, I guess let's just  crack on.

Paul Bleier, Director of Sales Enablement, TELUS

SG: Paul's our guest today, he's the Director of Sales Enablement at TELUS. For the last 15 years he's been, counted on by, I don't know, by everybody – customers, colleagues, partners – to transform and really to find ways to get the most out of people. 

SG: He's built tons of professional and educational experiences. He's worked across a litany of human capital projects, including, let me see if I can get them all, mobile and blended learning,  leadership and competency development, coaching, mentoring, game design, certification strategy, inventive partnerships. And I mean, the reason, the reason we're  all here now,  sales enablement.

SG: Before that's just, I mean, that's just like what he's been doing for ages now. So he's a true expert. He's a phenomenal human being.  And actually before he joined TELUS Business, he actually founded the TELUS Transformation Office to support enterprise customers. He's helped them manage areas of change in leadership, digital readiness, connected learning. He's helped manage change around career and talent, flexible work styles – pertinent today I think. And of course onboarding.  He's also a member of the sales performance culture at TELUS and he has been since 2016

SG: He's helped transform TELUS’s approach to sales and onboarding and continuous learning.  And I think the reason we were all here today is really to learn about the TELUS Sales Academy. Him and his team have led the design and delivery of the TELUS Academy,  which is a multi year certified learning and career path strategy,  that establishes the best and the most customer focused sales force across the business segments like onboarding and learning and continuous development. He's worked with all kinds of national sales leaders. He's worked with all kinds of key stakeholders,  to develop this agile approach to learning that's super cool. And he's figured out how to make sure TELUS professionals are empowered,  to be differentiated,  to drive productivity and to maybe make, TELUS has the best sales force,  compared to their competition.

SG: So Paul knows what he's about and I'm really excited to hear from him. So, Paul, first of all, welcome,  thanks for doing this.  I'm really glad to have you here,  this is going to be super fun. But can you tell me just a little bit more about TELUS? Like what's,  what's TELUS doing?

Who is TELUS?

Paul Bleier (PB): Absolutely.  Spencer, thanks. Thanks so much for the great introduction.

PB: Before I get into TELUS, I just want to say to everyone on the line, it feels good to actually shave.  I haven't shaved in the last three weeks.  I put on a nice shirt today for all of you. And no matter if you're in your pajamas or not,  I hope you find some value out of today's presentation, so it's really good to be back in front of the webcam again. 

PB: Thanks so much for that great introduction again, Spencer. So a bit about TELUS. For those of you that don't know,  TELUS as a Canadian telecommunications company and information tech company, we've got about 50,000 employees globally.  we do about $15 billion in annual revenue and currently we have about 15 million customer connections across such core services like wireless and data, IP, voice, television and entertainment, videos, security.

PB: And that's just our core business. Then we've got two of our fastest growing business lines, which is TELUS health, which is Canada's largest healthcare IT provider, and TELUS international, which also delivers  innovative business process solutions to some of our world's most established brands, together across all of these businesses. One of the things we do best at TELUS is we like to leverage our technology to drive human outcomes using that technology.

PB: We're all about putting our customers first and it drives everything in our business. We also have a very deep social purpose that TELUS that I wanted to remark on this morning. We love to give where we live and the Canadian communities that we serve. And we do have that social purpose to connect all Canadians for good. Since about 2000,  our company has contributed about $700 million to local communities and we've donated about 1.3 million days of service making. TELUS one of the most giving companies in the world. I've been with TELUS for about nine years. It's a fantastic organization, a very innovative organization. And what we're going to talk about today was some of that innovation, Spencer,  that I and my team were allowed to do in the field of sales enablement.

The Origins of TELUS Sales Academy

SG: So that's a perfect tee up. I mean, obviously sales enablement goes by a lot of different names but it sounds like you guys focus it around the TELUS Sales Academy, which I alluded to briefly in the introduction. But can you tell me a little bit more about the TELUS Sales Academy? What is it? What does it do?

PB: Absolutely. Yeah. I was brought on  about four years ago  because there was a significant gap in our B2B  national sales business. A lot of frustration from sales executives and sales leaders that we didn't have a nationally consistent program starting from onboarding all the way through your career progression, whether that was to become a sales manager, a director, or maybe even a sales VP one day.

PB: And so,  it actually started at one of our sales kickoffs back in 2016, about three months before I started, where in February of 2016 at a sales kickoff,  our CEO,  asked the entire room of sales professionals: ‘if we can make you more successful, what could be that one thing that can help you?’

And one by one people would stand up and say:

‘we need better onboarding. We need better training programs. We need better product training. We need things that can make us more agile in the face of our customer solutions and problems that we're trying to solve.’

PB: And so from that sales kickoff, a steering committee was formed by our CEO as our executive sponsor.  That included HR, sales, product marketing, compensation. And we formed a bit of a SWAT team in the spring of 2016 to diagnose the problem. It wasn't just a training problem. We had an attrition problem, we had an employee engagement problem. We had all of these different problems that were contributing to lack of sales productivity. And we were looking, Spencer, to TELUS Sales Academy to be that driver of getting people excited again about a career in sales, getting people excited again about developing their career within one organization. And that's how TELUS Sales Academy came to be back in 2016.

SG: And correct me if I'm wrong here, but when you first built it, it was a very non-digital, analog approach to training and then you transitioned into a digital format. What was the impetus for that? If it ain't broke...?

PB: Yeah. So when my team and I inherited the problem, and we looked at what we were doing. It wasn't like we weren't doing any training, we were doing a lot of classroom-based training. We were doing some e-learning over here. We had multiple vendors and partners that weren't talking to each other. We didn't really have that unifying strategy, Spencer.

PB: And one of the first things I did when I started in my role back in 2016 was I kinda did a listening tour. I went and met with sales directors, I met with sales VPs, I met with product, I met with marketing. And one of the key themes that came out of sales time and time again was the sales leaders and the leadership team wanted our sellers to be in the field, on the phone talking to our customers as much as possible.

PB: They didn't want to have to always go to a two hour WebEx to get the new product updates. They didn't want to have to sit in a classroom for five days or three days to learn a new sales process or methodology. And so with that very key piece of feedback, I started thinking to myself, okay, what  technology can we leverage that can really drive enablement and innovate the enablement function? 

PB: And back in 2016 it really wasn't called sales enablement. Sales enablement just started to  flourish over the past. I'd say two years back then it was sales training. But what I quickly realized was that if we were going to keep people in the field, we needed to deliver learning experiences and training experiences at the speed of need. We needed to make sure that reps and leaders had access to best in class content and messaging and training that they could quickly consume and then go and talk to a customer literally like an hour later, two hours later. And so with that in mind, that  drove my team and I to think about how to innovate and start moving a lot of traditional sales training into the cloud to make it more accessible for our national sales organization.

SG: So that was what originally drove the concept of: ‘we need to make this, we need to make those a digital experience.’ That was the crux?

PB: Exactly. Yes.

Digitizing and expanding a national onboarding experience

SG: Obviously Paul, you and I didn’t just rock up to this webinar and see what happened. We did a little bit of pre-planning.  and when you started telling me about the Sales Academy, telling me all the amazing work that you've done over the last couple of years. There's so much that we could talk about. I mean, we could, I honestly think we could probably talk for one of those full two hour WebEx as you were alluding to earlier, but I think that's probably not in everyone's best interest. When we came up with this idea and were riffing a bit, we came up with these three core, essential things that need to be done. These must-haves, if anyone is thinking about taking their classroom based training online or into a more digital realm. So Paul, can you take us through those three things?

PB: Absolutely, yes.  so let me just go to the first slide. So as Spencer said, we're going to spend the rest of the presentation talking about three key themes,  which I think all of you listening today can really gravitate to if you're thinking about transforming your enablement and learning strategy for your organization. And I think the most natural place to start is to look at your onboarding program and your new hire acceleration program. How can you leverage technology today to move away from classrooms, have the processes, have a facilitation to something that's much more agile. And that's the place that we really started. In the spring of 2016 that was one of the very first asks from our sales leadership team: ‘We need a national onboarding program from coast to coast. It needs to be consistent for someone in Halifax and someone in Victoria.’

PB: And so that's what we focused on first, Spencer. We realized that it was expensive and unproductive to always have all of our new hires sitting in a classroom for five days at a time, going through processes and checklists. And we'd much rather than be integrated more fully into their team shadowing and coaching with their leader. And so when we first started in the fall of 2016 when our onboarding program first launched,  we were using SharePoint, actually we are using Microsoft SharePoint and there's a screenshot there on the left, on the, on the left hand side there. And we were just doing pre recording webEx’s. So we would have the subject matter experts come for an hour and present something for an hour. We would record it, we package it up, we'd host it on SharePoint.  and then if that subject matter expert wasn't available for the next cohort of new hires, we would default back to the SharePoint site.

PB: And we did this for probably about six months,  just to get something out the door. It wasn't sexy, it wasn't pretty, but it actually fulfilled that asynchronous learning modality where someone could self-serve the learning at the time that they need it as part of their onboarding. Fast forward to spring of 2017 when I met you guys and you guys were just launching and getting started. And I was exposed to something called program builder, which essentially is an instructional designer in a box. As I've told you before, Spencer, where you can actually serve up self directed learning programs right inside of your CRM, in this case, to actually guide a new hire through a learning structure from day one to day 90 and keep track of what they're doing. Are they doing the learning? Are they doing the activities, are they completing the quizzes?

PB:  and not only can you track it as an enablement team, but every time the salesperson complete something of value or completes a milestone, the sales leader gets notified that: ‘Hey, you may want to check in with Sally, you may want to check in with Jim because there's a coaching opportunity to be had here.’

PB: And so I think that's the future of onboarding today for sales organizations is more of this self directed learning and figuring out how you're going to measure the impact of that learning.  Is it going to drive things like time to first deal? Is it going to drive average deal size? Is it going to drive things like quota attainment? Only you as a sales enablement professional or practitioner can decide what those milestones are. But we have to, as an organization as a whole start moving to more of this agile approach to learning.

SG: It's interesting that you guys started with onboarding cause I think, I think this is a pain that we see a lot of.  but the more interesting piece is how you came up with that. You didn't just say:

‘okay enablement needs to do onboarding now.’

You actually went out and asked: ‘what is the number one thing that our sales leaders need? What is the pain you're experiencing?’ And [onboarding] was the lowest hanging fruit, right?

PB: Yeah. All organizations are hiring constantly in sales.For the last three years, we've been onboarding at least 120 to 150 different, new sales executives across TELUS. That's a tremendous amount of volume, and you need to be able to scale your best practices and your thought leadership in a consistent manner to actually drive that consistency of learning, and make sure that your sales leaders feel like they're supported and also make sure that they have an awareness of what their reps are doing in week one, week two, week three, week four from a learning and development program. And, and I think it's important for the listeners to note that we haven't abandoned classroom training all together.

PB: We very much have a blended learning solution. So they’re maybe working in a self directed fashion for the first 30 days. But at the end of that first month, we'll actually bring people together into a classroom environment to reinforce some of the learnings with some facilitators and give them a chance to do some live role plays, to ask questions and to really meet each other across the company and build relationships. Because those relationships are so important to a new hire as they get going in their new sales role regardless of what organization you're working in today.

Digitize and expand your onboarding experience: key takeaways

PB: Before we move on to pillar number two for today, we want it to provide value to all of you guys listening today. So if I look back at the last four years of our onboarding, digitization, and evolution, these are some of the key takeaways for me in what made us successful in launching this and getting support. 

And support is the key word there.

PB: You have to make sure that you've got the executive sponsorship. That's number one. If you're going to start moving things into more digital formats and abandon full classroom based training, you need to make sure that you've positioned the expected improvements that you're looking to see. You're going to save some investment dollars, you're going to save some time. You're going to look for productivity improvements.

PB: And what's important is every sales organization is structured differently. I mean, I've got enterprise sales teams, I've got mid-market sales teams, I've got mid-market small, I've got small business with one to 15 employees. We've got so many different types of sales teams, the onboarding experience in terms of the milestones and the productivity metrics are going to be different. You have to have the sponsorship from the sales VP and the sales directors on what are the levers they're trying to pull before you go out and start redesigning anything. That was so crucial and it just so happened that the CEO of TELUS was our executive sponsor on this, which made it way easier to get the buy-in and the adoption to start moving the change curve, and start transforming the entire approach to learning.

The Content Scavenger Hunt

PB: One other quick area before we move on I wanted to touch on is the scavenger hunt theme. One of the things  that I realized when we were starting to digitize things for onboarding was, man, there was a lot of content everywhere. Some was sitting here and there, or in this platform, and that intranet, and this SharePoint site, or this subject matter expert was great about talking about this.

PB: So you have to go on a scavenger hunt. You have to start talking to people early and often if you're thinking about digitizing things and moving things into a more digital format. That will help you immensely regardless of what digital platform or tool you use to take your onboarding digital. It will allow you to quickly package up things and get them out the door. It doesn't have to be polished and perfect. It just has to be factually accurate for the time period that you're, that you're going to be onboarding to. So,  yeah, those are the two things I wanted to share about onboarding.

Evolving classroom frameworks for digital enablement

PB: So the other area in thinking about this presentation that all sales organizations moving their enablement practices to more of a digital format can think about  would be your sales messaging and your sales positioning frameworks,  whatever they may be. So one of the key drivers of change for TELUS back in 2016 / 2017 was starting to think about how do we get our sales team members to stop pitching product and price and start thinking about how they have business conversations with our customers, and being a telecommunications company that's driving change in cloud storage and unified communications and all this great technology, which by the way is helping all of our customers today with COVID-19.  I mean, messaging is a fantastic place to start because you can do a lot of training and practice and reinforcement.

PB: And so one of the huge initiatives we did in 2017 and half of 2018 was this whiteboard business transformation / digital transformation training workshop. It was a two day workshop. We flew everyone into regional locations. We're talking almost a thousand people – very expensive. It was a great session, and don't get me wrong – we, we got a lot of value out of it. 

PB: But it wasn't sustainable with the onboarding of new hires on a go forward basis. And so what we did using LevelJump was we broke down the two day training program into a 45 day on-demand program, where we had the two day program broken up into different modules on different topics like: 

  • How do you give a two minute story
  • How do you connect to the buyer personas
  • How do you align to vertical strategy?

PB: And then what we did was for each module, we integrated practice activities. We introduced  practice pitches, we had quizzes, we had leaders providing feedback to their team members as they went through the on-demand program. We had peer-to-peer learning – and this was all done right inside of The screenshot [above] is actually one of our sales managers in our internet of things room practicing his two-minute story on workplace transformation. So again, you can start to drive peer-to-peer interactions of learning. And what's great about setting up these private rooms is that others can see your pitch and get ideas. So they're not only contributing their own user generated content, but you can learn from others. And so this program is really starting to pick up steam,  in the last year  when we stopped the classroom training altogether and moved fully into this digital  practice.

SG: So if I want to move my live training online,  how should I be doing that?

PB: I, I think you really have to look at your learning objectives for each enablement program that you have. I think that's a first step and figure out, okay, in this crazy world that we're living in right now, how do I translate learning objectives that were probably structured for more, synchronous learning? Meaning, you need a live facilitator, whether in a classroom or on a WebEx or a GoToMeeting or a Zoom or whatever you're using. How do I move that into an asynchronous fashion? How do I give a bit of learning? Ask them to do a bit of practice, figure out what the reinforcement activity is going to look like, and then what's the feedback mechanism that you're going to put in to wrap the whole thing up. So the seller feels: ‘okay, I'm, I'm actually moving forward, I'm getting feedback before I'd go and try it out with a customer for the first time.’ This idea of learn, practice, apply feedback can be applied to any sort of enablement program out there, regardless of what you're training to.

Evolving classroom frameworks for digital enablement: takeaways

PB: So in terms of the takeaways for sales messaging frameworks and sales positioning,  I'll leave you with two thoughts. I would say the first one is: be bold. You would be surprised in terms of what you can convert from instructor led training into more of a distributed and on demand model. I mean, I took a two-day whiteboard training program and put it into Salesforce, and people looked at me like I was crazy. At first and they're like: ‘you're doing what?’ But now, given that our whole global business ecosystem is work from home right now, we are uniquely positioned today at TELUS to keep our sales enablement programs moving forward because we had the courage to innovate.

PB: Yes, we failed in some programs. It wasn't all hunky dory, but we were bold. And so that's what I would say to all of our listeners today: be bold. Try to innovate. The other thing that I would say to you guys listening is if you're gonna think about transforming, you've got a lot of great content sitting somewhere, right? You need to look for ways to centralize that. And tell the success stories of it if you're thinking about moving programs into more of a cloud and digital format. 

SG: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that's something that we see a lot every day. I mean, whenever we’re onboarding a new customer,  the first thing we usually ask is, okay, well where's your content? And more often than not, it's all there.  it's very rare that the answer comes back to us from a sales enabler saying, ‘hey, we really need to go out and build a bunch of stuff before we can deploy this.’ It's often much more of a collection rather than a construction project.

Taking product training remote

PB: So the third area, which is really starting to pick up steam now, that I'm very excited about is this. We all support sales organizations that have revenue goals. We are all selling solutions and services and products at the end of the day. And it's our job as enablement teams to put in place the right sales process foundation. [We need to] put in place the right product training to help someone go to market and do this effectively. And before we got involved with LevelJump, we were doing this exclusively using WebEx and virtual instructor-led training. It was like 90 minutes one and done. There was very limited follow up, very limited follow through.

PB: And since then, we've moved to more of a contextual  format, leveraging artificial intelligence where you can actually serve up the right video and the right resource and the right knowledge nugget at the right time based on what the sales executive is working on in the CRM.

PB: If they're selling product X, let's serve up product X content and messaging and objection handling and everything right there for the rep. The minute that they linked their opportunity to that product, LevelJump allows us to do, through the contextual just in time banner, which is that first  row on the right hand side that you see there. We also are able to bring resources from other parts of the organization all into one single place. We can:

  • Link to internal documentation on our one source.
  • Link to external websites.
  • Bring in thought leadership from McKinsey, from BBC, from wherever your thought leadership resides.
  • Validate the messaging and the videos that we're giving to sales with other resources.

PB: We can do things now at TELUS like practice pitch rooms, that you can see there Brianne Ford did when she did her wireless certification five months ago, where she was practicing selling wireless to a customer for the very first time.

PB: As part of our onboarding program, we can deliver scorecards so that product managers or sales leaders or subject matter experts can watch that video in real time and say:

‘Yeah, your body language looked great. Your tone of voice was great. But you missed a bit of the TELUS value proposition here and there. Here is some feedback to try this pitch again before you go and talk to customer X.’

PB: And then, finally, one of the most important things about today's enablement  ecosystem when it comes to Outcome-Based Enablement is that whatever training we do, whatever investments we put in place, we have to link it back to true business metrics.

PB: And one of the things we can do with LevelJump today is build live funnel reports. And what I mean by that is we can actually say, after you've learned this product or after you've practiced something, go and tell us an opportunity that you're going to go and try this with, who's the prospect, who's the account, and document it right then and there in the LevelJump program.

PB: What that then does is create a funnel that we can then take back to product and we can take it back to sales and we can say: ‘look, we just generated $6 million worth of potential business as a result of this product training program.’

PB: That's the value. Those are the results that any sales team across any organization is going to want to be looking for today.

SG: To me this is something that every organization needs to be looking at right now, in particular around product training. Because this is so often the piece of sales enablement which is left to in-person, which is very, very difficult right now. It's often the piece that is difficult to find subject matter experts to come in and help you, or to actually book that time with, let's say a new hire or an ongoing hire or even a new product launch like these cases.

SG: It’s very difficult to get those people to come in and explain why the product is important.

SG: So not only are you competing for limited resources, but you're also competing for limited time. And to your point, without any followup, it's very difficult to know, okay, well is this actually an impactful use of that very expensive experts’ time. Oftentimes you don't know. And then that ends up being a cost that gets harder and harder to justify, particularly if the organization's looking to save a little bit on different initiatives.

Taking product training remote - takeaways

PB: Exactly. Yeah. And I think that's a good segue just to my final slide here on some of the key takeaways for product training, or technology and solution knowledge as we call it at TELUS. 

PB: Video is king today. Videos, podcasts, etc… are such powerful mediums for sales executives in such a distracted world that we're living in today. I mean, the attention span of sales can be very, very minimal. How can we serve up a valuable piece of, of knowledge in three to five minutes and get them on their way? 

PB: I could go back and do things a little bit differently I would have started educating product and marketing two years ago on this new approach to digital learning and digital enablement. That's a big project for us this year is we're starting to really bring product and marketing more into the sales tent. What I mean by that is we really want to teach them our sales process, our sales methods, messaging, our sales methodology so they can look at the buyer's journey that we're training sales on and say to themselves: ‘okay, what content do I have at early stage funnel versus mid stage versus late stage? That's going to help our salesperson close that deal, reduce that time to that deal, through delivery vehicles like LevelJump and syndicating content in the way that we can do this right inside  

PB: The other last piece that I would say would be we have to have blended learning strategies, right? It's not all digital. It has to have a bit of classroom as well. So don't abandon the classroom altogether. You can do something online and digital, but then you can still bring people together and reinforce the learning of what they did online.

PB: And we're still very much doing that with some of our product and solution launches where we'll give them a LevelJump program as pre-work, seven days before they all get together online. And they at least come into that session with a baseline and a benchmark understanding of the product and then that session becomes much more productive because they're not asking questions that they could get by watching a three to five minute video. They're asking more questions linking [the training] back to customer engagement

SG: And that's ultimately what this really comes down to, right, of how do you tie all of this training back to customer engagement and how do you deliver the customer experience that they're looking for. That's where all roads are going to lead. So we are actually,  nine minutes over right now,  which is pretty bad but Paul, you've got a lot of interesting stuff to say and I don't want to cut you off. And most people are still here, so, at least, I hope, everyone's getting as much value out of this as I am.  even on my second run through, I'm still learning a lot, so thank you Paul.


SG:  but in the interest of time and to try and be respectful to the rest of our audiences’ day,  let's,  skip the summary. I was gonna , reiterate what we just talked about, but that's not nearly as fun as taking questions. 

We've had a bunch of interesting questions come in. And we had a bunch of interesting questions at the start. If you have to go, that's totally fine, but  let's try and answer some of them.

How do you improve the experience for sellers and consolidate content onto a single platform so it’s easy to access?

PB: Yeah it's a hard question, not knowing your enablement tech stack and your  current ecosystem. My advice there would be to work with what you've got, right?

PB: If you've only got Microsoft SharePoint like we did, three and four years ago, use that. If you've only got Google sites, use that. I mean, you can get pretty creative. I think today leveraging what you have. I was fortunate that we had some of those tools as a starting place before I started to understand the enablement ecosystem and how important it is today that if you're going to introduce new enablement tools into your organization, you have to try to find the tools that are going to integrate with your CRM because that's where your sales people are working daily. That's where their workflow is. And if you can integrate learning into their daily workflow and curate all of the content into one single place, or at least link out to like the, from that one single place to all the other places, I think you're going to be ahead of the curve at the end of the day.

How large is the TELUS enablement team? Who creates your content?

PB: Yeah, that's a great question.  Our team right now, our core sales performance culture team,  is a team of about seven right now.  We've got some ambassadors that are embedded within the business units that are also helping us, that roll out to different sales VPs as well. So there's another three or four there.  

PB:In terms of the initial content, our team is really thought of as a subject matter expert / center of excellence for our sales process and sales methodologies and the enablement tech stack. When you think of content on the sales process and sales methodology side, it's our team that's creating the initial content and working with  external consultants and some external  training providers that we've been partnering with for about four years now. But what we're also doing this year that's going to really going to help us is we started to create job aids and different guides / templates that we can then start doing a ‘train the trainer’ model, where we can go to product directors and go to marketing directors and start educating them in the presentation about what good looks like and what does sales actually look for. And they’re slowly but surely starting to, create more and more content for us, which is decreasing the demand on our team.

How many sellers are you supporting?

PB: Across all the different business segments, close to a thousand different sales professionals nationally. So it's pretty robust. And then on top of that, you've got the whole sales support infrastructure from product and marketing and operations, which is probably another 500 to 600 people. So our TELUS business organization is about 1,500 people all in sales or in sales support. So it's, it's pretty vast.

How are topics like coaching in the field, mentoring, sales leadership skills, and sales development skills layered into your enablement?

PB: That's another fantastic question. One of the things we didn't really touch on cause it wasn't part of the first three themes that we covered today is we actually do have another leadership development program we call our Sales Leadership Operating System. 

And our Sales Leadership Operating System is so crucial to TELUS Sales Academy because if you don't have good strong coaching and leadership to reinforce all of the investments you're making for your frontline sales team members, your investments are being squandered. And so from a digitization perspective,  we've got a virtual playbook  for leadership and coaching that is inside We've got, again, programs that will help a new leader or someone that was just recently promoted into a leadership program,  go through a modular program around things like learning how to:

  • Coach to funnel
  • Coach to account strategy
  • Coach to activity management
  • All the core disciplines that sales coaches coach daily, weekly, monthly.

PB: We've actually got on-demand programs set up today for our leaders to either learn a new skill or practice, something that they're struggling with, and then we've wrapped the whole thing up with a certification program where we'll actually do a one-on-one shadow coaching with some of our sales leaders to see how they're applying some of those coaching principles to their team.

PB: So we'll jump on a call, they'll do a 30-minute coaching conversation, they'll drop off the call and we'll actually reinforce them using a scorecard:

  1. Did you use the playbook?
  2. Did you open up the virtual playbook together?
  3. Did you show the rep where they can go and find information on X, Y, and Z?
  4. Did you reinforce the enablement tools that are available to you?

So we do have quite a bit of a leadership development program. It's behind the scenes that we didn't really cover today. But great question.

SG: It sounds like a lot of what you're doing at the sales leadership development level in terms of coaching and training is the same [as enabling reps]. It's different content, different metrics, and you're teaching them different stuff… But the underlying principles of: ‘learn this, practice this, go out and actually do it.’ Those are consistent across a huge chunk of the TELUS programs. That's what's really interesting, I think.

PB: Absolutely. And it's not just TELUS. I think it can be applied to everyone's organizations that are listening today, right? It's not some secret sauce. It's something that's just good learning design today in this very highly digital world that we all find ourselves in today.

How do you create personal relationships, especially with leaders, through the TELUS Sales Academy?

PB: I think what this  boils down to is every enablement program has to have a good change management and communication plan behind it. One of the things that's worked in our favor I mentioned earlier on in the call was we had executive level sponsorship from the top down, like literally from our CEO all the way down. And that gave us some credibility. That gave us some cache to go and get time [with] the sales VPs, on weekly team meetings, monthly team meetings, operational reviews, to actually have learning and development, sales enablement as a standing item on those agendas moving forward. That helped immensely. That really, really helped.

PB: And even to this day, four years later, what we actually do is every month we run a 90-minute sales excellent steer co. We have the sales VPs, the product VPs, the marketing VPs all on the line. And it's an agenda that we control. So we give updates on onboarding programs, we give updates on product training programs, we get updates on sales messaging programs, we give updates on all the things that are going on – the good, the bad, the ugly. And so we've become internal trusted advisors and business partners to our sales leadership teams over the last couple of years. And it helps. It's really, really helped to develop that personal relationship. We've started going on more listening tours as well. I would say I've asked my team to start  shadowing sales reps more closely on a monthly basis. So we see what a day in the life is like for them and how we can adjust our enablement programs and content and platforms. That's how we get personal at TELUS with our leadership.

SG: A follow-up question I have is: that regular meeting your enablement steering committee, you obviously control that agenda and you share updates and things like that. Going back like half a step; when you're choosing what to work on, how do you do that? Because what we see a lot of,  particularly from junior enablers… is that there's [only] so much that enablement can do.  how do you pick the right programs, the right initiative to run to really secure that buy-in so that when you're taking those updates at that regular scheduled meeting that you control, you're updating them on the stuff that the people you're talking to actually care about. How do you do that? How do you prioritize that work?

PB: Yeah, prioritizing is not easy.  I would default back to the flow of the presentation that we just walked through today, which would be to start with onboarding. I think your onboarding structure for the first year of someone's life in a sales role, in any organization in the world is the most important foundational piece to enablement. And what's really interesting is that we've got three pillars of enablement that is core to our onboarding program. And it's actually just right behind me. It's been on my, it's been right on my big screen right behind me. So,  our onboarding program has really got three pillars:

  1. It's got our Sales Executive Operating System, which is all of our sales process and methodology around funnel and  account and opportunity planning and call planning.
  2. Then you've got your sales messaging, a framework for how you're going to differentiate your sellers in today's environment against your competitors.
  3. And then the third area is,  the technology and solution knowledge pillar.

PB: And so those three pillars that are the core of our new hire acceleration program is the roadmap for any sales enablement function in any organization to prioritize, as part of a larger first year initiative when it comes to online.

How do you differentiate the topics of the TELUS Sales Academy based on the user profiles?

PB: So every sales organization is unique, Some have BDRs and SDR functions, like huge BDR and SDR teams. Some organizations don't have that function. They've got primarily a field sales force. And so I think you really have to go back to the productivity milestones that you want to hit. And what I mean by that is: I think an SDR / BDR role is going to have a much different learning profile early on than someone that's selling enterprise solutions. A BDR / SDR is going to try to hit early on in their ramp up would be things like time to first meeting, how quickly through an outreach or an InMail or something like that, or how quickly can they get the customer on the phone to get a meeting.

PB: Versus someone in enterprise solutions, which has to do a lot more customer research, has to dig into the account plan, has to look at the geography, has to look at the company. There are so many different things.

And so I think, again, it goes back to sitting down with the sales leadership for that area and understanding their pain points and their challenges and then looking at your learning programs and your enablement programs, and not completely reconstructing it for the user profile, but making minor tweaks to that program for that user profile.

PB: And that was one of our saving graces. We created a national consistent model for a lot of our different programs. And then we just come in and make small, minor adjustments by cloning the program and putting it in a slightly different introduction, a slightly different clothes. But the core learning element is still the same because it's good business sales practice, no matter if you're selling to a company that is 30 employees or you're selling to a company that's 100,000 employees. If you're setting the right sales process and methodology and messaging, you should be able to quickly adapt to each of the different sales user profiles,  moving forward.

SG: The only question I would have for you, is a little bit of a followup. When you're structuring [your program], every sales function is going to have a different objective and outcome. To your point, BDRs are going to be tasked with booking meetings and an enterprise account executive is tasked with closing one deal a year. They're very different functions. And you're cloning programs again and again and again to tweak and tailor to their specific needs other than changing what you measure the success or failure on to say this is what success looks like. How much are you changing the actual topics and content that they're covering? Are you leaving those essentially the same?

PB: I think it would be more on the product side, because a lot of the segments would sell different things and you would train and teach people different solutions based on the market that they're serving. But we make very, very few changes to our core methodology. It's our core methodology that's going to actually drive career development so that if you learn it as a BDR, you're going to actually help you advance your career. By the time you get to mid-market or enterprise, you've actually started to learn some of those benefits that's best-in-class sales practices that are going to serve you well in that role in the few blocks.

SG: I think, I think we should call it there. Paul, you've been amazing. This has been so much fun. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out at or you can reach out to me directly. You can find me on LinkedIn. I'm Spencer Grover or you can email me at Let us know if you have any questions and look out for the recording and the slides after. Thank you all so much. You've been an amazing audience and Paul, thank you so much for your time.

PB: Thank you very much everyone. Have a great day and stay safe. Bye guys.

About the Presenters


Paul Bleier

Director of Sales Enablement at TELUS

Paul's background includes a mix of advanced adult education through organizational consulting, emphasizing learning technologies and driving global program development for customer facing roles across industries as diverse as telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. This has resulted in Paul championing novel performance enablement and learning strategies which drive business outcomes, enhance employee engagement and produce measurable results across both team and employee performance.