Symantec - Sales Training or Education Leader of the Year



Gold Stevie Award Winner 2017, Click to Enter The 2018 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer Service

Company: Symantec Ltd, Dublin, Ireland
Company Description: Symantec is a global leader in providing security, information management solutions to help our customers – from consumers and small businesses to the largest global organizations – secure and manage their information against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently than any other company.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Training or Education Leader of the Year

Nomination Title: Darren Doheny, Learning Consultant

Tell the story about what this nominee achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Darren Doheny, Learning Consultant at Symantec, designed a training intervention for the Norton Internal Retentions team that delivered a return of investment of a 20% increase in annual revenue.

Darren joined the Symantec Learning team in April 2016 as a learning consultant with sales expertise. Darren specializes in behavioral-based training, adapting psychological theory into experiential training to allow delegates to experience how different inputs influences their own behavior: “when delegates experience an emotion, or they see that I can predict their behavior, it sticks with them and makes them eager to apply the theory in their own environments”. Darren undertook training needs analysis of Symantec’s internal retentions team, the “Norton Renewals Center” (RC team).

The Renewals Center operates from a Symantec site in Oregon, USA. The team (30 agents) has a long average tenure, and performance has been stable for months through other training interventions.

They are measured on two sales metrics:
• Customer retention: selling Norton services to customers who call to cancel their subscription
• Automatic Renewal (AR) Enrollment: registering customers for Norton to automatically renew their service every year

Initially, Darren was not convinced big results changes could be achieved: “there is some consensus in the industry that mature teams with stable performance have low potential for large returns: when practices have evolved over time to maximize their performance; training can often be futile”. His first impression was as expected: “the team was a highly knowledgeable and engaged workforce: they knew all there was to know about the Norton services and the tools to support them”.

Acknowledging that he would never match their level of product expertise, Darren focused his training needs analysis on the behaviors exhibited by agents on the phone and how they affected customer psychology. The TNA identified two significant behaviors in most agents:

• Educating a customer in conflict situations
• Creating a need for deliberate action for the customer when enrolling in Automatic Renewal

These behaviors were not obviously incorrect to the RC team and management; some even considered them correct courses of action. Darren explains: “Educating a customer when they are incorrect in their beliefs may seem like a logical action, however creating conflicting beliefs increases the likelihood of anxiety and the agent is less likely to secure a sale. For example if a customer thinks that our software is causing their PC to be slow, attempting to change their mind can cause anxiety as it conflicts with what they already believe. Offering our newest software instead allows the customer to hold their belief and also regain trust in our product and brand when the new software does not appear to cause the same performance issues.”

“I also noticed that agents were creating a need for deliberate customer action when it came to enrolling in AR, and people are more likely to not act at all in this case. I used the famous driver’s license example by behavioral economist Dan Ariely: when asked to check a box on a driver’s license application form to become an organ donor, people tend not to check the box. However, Ariely also demonstrated that where people were asked to check a box not to become organ donors, they did not check the box either – this is a small example of adding or removing the need for deliberate action.”

Darren created a two-hour module to correct each behavior, followed by week of coaching by Darren and the team managers after each module to reinforce the behavior. “The team and the managers were fantastic. Changing habits that have existed for years is difficult, however the team was receptive, and the results justify their efforts.”

The impact of the training was immediate. Customer retention increased by 5% points, and AR enrollment rates increased by 20% points. The team’s performance has remained at the post-training level. The return on investment over the financial year will increase expected revenues by 20%.