Imperial Tobacco

Company Background

Imperial Tobacco is the world’s fourth largest international tobacco company and manufactures, markets and sells a comprehensive range of cigarettes, tobaccos, rolling papers and cigars.

In Australia, Imperial Tobacco’s Saleslink call centre has been in existence for four years and manages the day-to-day relationship with its retailers. Saleslink manages approximately 11,500 retail customers and generates revenue in excess of $4bn per year.

The Challenge

In a heavily legislated environment, the biggest challenge facing Saleslink was gaining customer intimacy by getting closer to it retailers. A key objective it set itself was to influence the brand choices made by retailers by better understanding customers’ buying patterns. To achieve this is wanted to develop the capability of its call centre staff to move from a purely reactive ‘catch and despatch’ role to one of creating a strong relationship with retailers.

Saleslink wanted to improve the performance by focusing on specific objectives: an increased understanding of the retailer’s business, appropriate introduction of brands to the retailer (resulting into increased profit) & gathering useful market feedback.

The major difficulty Saleslink faced in developing its people was time away from the workplace. In an environment of high call traffic, critical order deadlines and optimised staffing levels, taking call centre representatives away from the “frontline” was not feasible.

The Solution

Prosell proposed its Licence to Coach solution to develop the team leaders’ ability to coach and develop their team’s skills in the workplace. Its coaches worked with Imperial Tobacco’s team leaders over an initial 3 month period.

A key element of the solution was Prosell’s Conversational Selling ModelTM, a researched process that allows salespeople to engage in clients through intelligent interaction, rather than simple product promotion.

The Outcome

Wayne Jones, National Business Manager, said

“results from the program have meant that we’ve been able to sustain the improvement we made. Within the first two weeks we observed physical changes in behaviour and our people are now more in tune with the business. In my experience in the business I’ve never had the kind of support Prosell gave us. It’s the only training I’ve done where we get to a measurable finish. Prosell has made a difference to our business, an absolute difference

The Customer Experience

Wayne Jones, Imperial Tobacco Australia’s National Business Manager said,

”Prosell offered us an option that nobody else did - ongoing coaching that actually got the competency levels of our people up. Teaching our managers how to coach properly to get the best out of their people in the workplace rather than off on a course”.

Kelly Raymond, a Team Leader, said

“We’ve seen retailers stocking brands they weren’t stocking before because our representatives now have the ability to influence them, we’re gaining a better insight to their business by communciating more effectively”.