Sales Awards Blog

Top Tips on Sales Training, From Stevie® Awards Winner, MarketBridge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Oct 04, 2012 @ 02:11 PM

MarketBridge of Bethesda, Maryland, USA, received the Gold Stevie® Award for Best Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (The early-bird deadline for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service is October 10. If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here.) Here we look at what made their training program outstanding.MarketBridge Award-Winning Team

MarketBridge, in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue and MasterCard Worldwide, won a Gold Stevie Award for its multifaceted and interactive training program for Saks Fifth Avenue Stores. This training focused on SAKSFIRST, Saks Fifth Avenue's exclusive loyalty program, and the Saks Fifth Avenue World Elite MasterCard® card, a premier co-branded credit card offering tied in with Saks Fifth Avenue's loyalty program.

"We are honored to receive this award and celebrate our success with Saks Fifth Avenue and MasterCard, two preeminent brands in their industries and valued partners," stated Rebecca Johns, Vice President at MarketBridge when she and the team were in Las Vegas in February 2012 to collect the trophy.

Background Story
In 2006, MasterCard partnered with Saks Fifth Avenue to launch the Saks Fifth Avenue World Elite MasterCard, with features and benefits designed for the more affluent consumer, in all Saks Fifth Avenue Stores nationwide.

MarketBridge was engaged to build a sales training and coaching program for this co-brand card which would primarily help drive new cardmember acquisitions, but also solve key issues that arose during initial product roll-

Flexible Approach
This training program was delivered to all Saks Fifth Avenue stores through a variety of coverage approaches, including in-store classroom trainings, on-the-job simulations, and long distance support. This flexible training and coaching model allowed for modified versions of the program to fit the unique needs of individual stores, departments, and store associates. 

1. Territory Support:
The first coverage model type, “Territory Support,” included regularly scheduled visits from an Account Executive to train, coach, and incent the store management and employees.

2. Accelerator Support:
Next, “Accelerator Support” involved a 1-2 day credit event that included training, strategic credit planning, one-on-one sales coaching, and incentives
for top performers.

3. Air Cover Support:
Finally, the third coverage model was “Air Cover Support”, which did not feature any regular Account Executive visits, but rather on-going support through distance learning, mailed materials, and interactive online tools.

Making Training Fun
Through its in-store visits, MarketBridge conducted fun and interactive training classes, during which the store associates were taught about credit, helped to achieve objectives, and encouraged to promote the co-brand to their customers.

Changing Behavior
Post-training—regardless of module used, additional training tools and reinforcement materials such as takeaways, quick tips, fun facts, and games— helped to ensure that the learning process was effective, that the information was retained, and, above all, that behavior changed.

Positive Results
In the first three fiscal months of 2011 MarketBridge was able to improve credit performance year-over-year, while reenergizing Associates and increasing program participation.

In an industry clouded by the current economic downturn, these results were substantial. Furthermore, from a qualitative perspective, overall program feedback from store associates and management alike was highly positive.

About the MarketBridge Team

Becky Johns, Vice President, Marketing Services Practice
Becky Johns works with clients to improve marketing and sales productivity by developing and executing integrated data-driven marketing and sales strategies. At MarketBridge her experience centers primarily on building brand loyalty through customer acquisition, engagement, and retention programs and developing online and social media communities. In addition, she has expertise in enabling sales teams through innovative training and sales readiness and enablement programs. In her 7 years with MarketBridge, she has managed accounts and initiatives across the healthcare, retail, financial services and high tech industries. Most recently, Becky led her teams to win a Gold Stevie Award for 2012 Sales Training Program of the Year, and the 2011 Marketing Innovation Award for Customer Retention and Loyalty held by Merkle and the CMO Council.

Prior to MarketBridge, Becky’s background in marketing and advertising included client and agency positions working in both B2B and B2C engagements.

Courtney Milliken, Program Manager
Courtney is a Program Manager with MarketBridge. Most prominently, she is responsible for leading the deployment and measurement of sales enablement and digital customer relationship programs for clients.

About MarketBridge:
MarketBridge is a leading global provider of technology-enabled sales and marketing solutions for Fortune 1000 and emerging-growth companies. The firm offers three core methodologies: MarketBlueprint™ for go-to-market strategy and resource planning, RevenueEngines™ for demand generation and sales enablement and DemandAnalytics™ for sales and marketing reporting and analytics.  For over 20 years and 1,000 client engagements, MarketBridge has helped CEOs and senior Marketing and Sales leadership create scalable revenue growth.  Find us on the web at on Twitter at

Tags: sales excellence, Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, sales awards, best sales practices, sales award, MarketBridge