Kantola Training Solutions, located in Mill Valley, California, set the wheels in motion to reinvent itself in 2015. Founded in 1985 by Ph.D. psychologist, Steve Kantola, the company has a reputation for creating award winning business training videos. Though the team at Kantola has a history of success, and a customer list any company would envy, he decided to put the company on a new trajectory by bringing in CEO, Allen Noren in September 2015. Allen’s 25+ years as an executive and innovator at O’Reilly Media positioned him as the ideal person for the job.
One of the key areas Steve and Allen wanted to evolve was the sales team. With thousands of customers to support, and growth on the horizon, it was time to build a scalable and predictable sales team. Committed to driving real change, they connected with us at the beginning of the journey.
Reinventing a company with a history of success can be a daunting task because disrupting things that work, and not knowing the outcome, becomes a critical decision for both your customers and your employees.
After spending time with the team, and reviewing the existing tools, workflows and processes, we identified a number of opportunities to help create a new sales culture. Here’s a list of the top issues we identified:
The customer database was lacking functionality and visibility that today’s sales professional requires to be efficient.
Hiring in Northern California was extremely competitive and costly, so adding staff was always challenging.
Forecasting was difficult and limited to a short term view.
The sales team required training in sales process methodology and how to become consultative sales experts.
Very little use of social selling tools to help connect and collaborate with new and existing customers.
The first project we launched was a full implementation of Salesforce.com as their new CRM platform. We customized the interface to support the new sales process, and handled a very complex data migration project.
In parallel, we also introduced tools like data.com, LinkedIn, #Slack and video conferencing platforms. Each of the tools we selected and implemented equipped the team to work more effectively.
We also helped address the recruiting challenges by hiring team members in Arizona, and established roles and areas of focus so the two locations are able to collaborate in real time.
Nine months into the engagement, we now have the team trained, aligned and working together to meet the needs of existing customers more predictably, but also have the capacity to drive growth with new customers.
With several new video training courses currently launching, the team is prepared to handle the increased volume, and using a consultative sales approach, the team is uncovering larger opportunity. We are also improving the forecasting ability which helps the production team plan future course development with confidence.
Now that Kantola has cloud based technology supporting the team, and two locations to leverage for recruiting, we have many more options to support remote workers, and even provide flexibility for team members to work from home offices when required.
The collaborative culture and determination of the sales team members is pretty amazing. Kantola is committed to the long term growth and retention of its employees, and made the decision to invest in training and development to ensure each person would thrive in the new environment.
Kantola is now prepared to scale, and has the tools and process in place to support rapid growth. As a leader in the video training market, they are well positioned to add courses, expand offerings and attract new customers. All of this was achieved in a matter of months, and during all of this change, the team remained focused and didn’t suffer setbacks normally associated with major change.