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Embedding Change at O2 Using 70:20:10

by | Jun 14, 2016 | Case Studies | 0 comments


This case study explores the story of O2 Business to business selling teams adopting the 70:20:10 learning model to change the way their people sold, built confidence and support, and finally embedded these changes into the new way things were done.

O2 is the commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited and is a leading digital communications company with the highest customer satisfaction for any mobile provider according to Ofcom. With over 24 million customers, O2 runs 2G, 3G and 4G networks across the UK, as well as operating O2 Wifi and owning half of Tesco Mobile. O2 Business accounts for approximately a quarter of O2’s total revenue of £5.3 billion.

The Challenge

Their mid-sized Business-to-Business sales team were seeing revenue from traditional mobile sales irreversibly decline. Each Account Manager was faced with a massive challenge: handling a huge number of accounts, coupled with the fact that they didn’t have sufficient time to have conversations about their non-mobile portfolio, despite this being the new revenue stream that the business was banking on, to offset declining mobile revenues.

The decision was made to give time back to the Account Managers to have deeper more strategic conversations by halving the number of accounts they were responsible for, whilst setting targets higher than the previous 150 accounts level. To enable this to happen, the team was restructured and the capability of the Account Mangers reassessed. The Field Based team was converted to the desk based and called Digital Advisors.

A number of challenges stood in the way:

  • Current working practices. Previously most of their salespeople had been successful selling in a particular way, they knew they had to change their approach but how could management get them to see that, without experiencing months of below target numbers?
  • The managers were only slightly ahead of their people in terms of their knowledge and skills in this new way of selling, so how could the company develop them as experts, so they could support the change required without exposing them in front of their team?
  • Despite the team all working out of one location, there was little collaboration, meaning the team were failing to leverage the knowledge and experience of their 100-plus team mates.

The solution

In short their Digital Advisors had to understand their customers business far more, and significantly increase both the number of people they were speaking to in each business, and provide value in those conversations. They needed to understand their KPIs, Challenges and Wider goals. The question was: how could O2 support them in achieving these?

  • They had to harness the incredible experience and knowledge across the team to benefit all
  • They needed to accelerate the learning around the new way of selling, and to sustain long term they needed to get the teams to believe in this new approach.
  • To embed this change they needed to make sure that the solution was owned and driven by the sales team

L&D’s role was to build a sustainable program that changed the way their people sold, and to build the confidence and support available to our people so that they could effect this change.

To do this they took two huge wall spaces, got pictures of everyone and let the team stick up pictures of people around the particular sector or product they knew lots about. For the team to understood each other better and how best to approach different people they also ran a mass Tetramap (sorts people into four types of personality preference) for the whole team.

They also used Yammer (business social networking tool) extensively to report on the key sales stories, and pull out the successes people were having in this new way of selling. They did this to underline the success in selling in this way, and highlight the trailblazers to talk to for tips and tricks.

Finally, every two months they summarised and shortlisted their best sales story finalists, got the team to vote for their winner and then videoed and shared their stories so people can see how they did it and again know who to go to for advice.

Importantly, at the heart of the approach to bring about transformation was 70:20:10 framework: that learning occurs through a range of approaches, being roughly 70% from real-life and on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving, 20% from feedback and from observing and working with others, 10% from formal training.

The Results

Despite being early days, in their first quarter they moved from 50% of salespeople being at or above target to over 70%: 20 more people hitting targets in the first quarter alone. Such a shift is highly significant. They are now in their second quarter and it looks like just over 80% of staff will hit or exceed target.

For a long term focus, all this content also maps into their Manager and Salesperson Competency Framework and even though they are only midway through this program, their people as an entire team have moved from underperforming in this capability to over performing.

Download the full case study below, which includes bringing learning closer to the heart of business – lessons learned.

Case Study written by Dan Eleftheriou, Learning Partner for O2 Small and Medium Business. Learning assets created by Marco Sagona, O2’s Business Learning Consultant.

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