By the way, what is Halifax’s CSR value proposition?
Carrefour and Bel have just announced the conclusion of a 1er commercial agreement integrating societal (support for the industry, accessibility, plants) and environmental (carbon footprint) clauses. Cécile Beliot-Zind, CEO of the Bel group, said that this was “a real creation of value, beyond financial utility value”.
Recently, we were discussing this topic of sustainable business performance at a team meeting, and a colleague asked, “By the way, what is the Halifax CSR value proposition?
Of course, for a firm that created a 100% e-learning Sales Academy more than 10 years ago (today with nearly 150 modules available in 14 different languages) and that more recently was able to support all its clients in the space of one month between March 2020 and April 2020, it is important to note that the company has been able The answer to the question of how to move from face-to-face to distance learning, while preserving or even improving the impact and significantly reducing the carbon footprint by more than 90% (in particular by eliminating travel), seems obvious.
But a value proposition must also accentuate the difference, the added value and answer some “pains”.
For example, yes, distance learning is interesting but it doesn’t encourage interaction and team building.
This is a response that is widely shared today, after several years in which the “forced control” of direct contacts between colleagues, clients, colleagues and partners has been severely felt in human terms, and in which the need for a breath of fresh air through live exchanges has been experienced as a liberating valve.
But does the debate consist in caricaturing distance learning as a relevant technological tool but devoid of any humanity, or of creating human links? And to quickly evacuate the cost issues linked to face-to-face training (often the major part of the global cost) but especially the societal responsibility, to come back to the carbon footprint issue.
First of all, let’s remember that even today, few people really know how to communicate and manage well with the help of remote tools, and that in terms of training, the pedagogical approach and the animation must be totally rethought, in order to precisely seek commitment, real participation and interaction.
For example, in 3 years at Halifax, we have trained more than 3000 sales people worldwide, in all sectors of activity, on remote sales, both in its technical dimension and in the animation of a remote sales meeting. There is no longer any debate today, as numerous reports have been produced on this subject (McKinsey, Salesforce, LinkedIn) demonstrating that a successful salesperson must be as agile at a distance as in person.
But it also means systematically associating individualization with a distance learning course, to accentuate commitment and, above all, to ensure that the learning objectives are properly understood and acquired. It is even better if this individualization is based on the learner’s real environment, for example, sales or negotiation scenarios based on a real customer case, with extremely personalized and customized feedback.
We at Halifax have the “humble claim” to know these topics and the associated key success factors.
In addition, there have been many examples of distance learning activities that have created a real bond within the teams, and even a lasting memory. For example, one of the Halifax consultants used to end his remote animations with a small exercise that is now “famous” in our community: the Mont Ventoux. Without going into details (depending on the wording, contact me directly to find out more 😊), this little exercise ends with a real Haka, sitting or better standing in front of the screen, which has left an emotional mark on very many groups, I could testify to this widely.
And so Halifax’s CSR value proposition is already based on these 2 major pillars:
- Undisputed expertise in distance learning for over 10 years through our digital tools and solutions
- proven expertise in pedagogical engineering and distance learning, which creates impact but also links
But I believe Halifax’s CSR value proposition goes beyond that.
I would like to talk about inclusion, and in particular about the business performance of seniors. This is a very topical issue, at a time when the question of long working hours is becoming more and more important (I am deliberately not using the word retirement).
Within Halifax, our 80 consultants worldwide have an average age of 52. So we are proud to be one of the employers who consider the so-called senior population as an added value, index or not 😊
So the reasons are obvious, we accompany companies on their commercial performance issues, which supposes, in order to be credible and legitimate, a background, an undeniable track record in the field (no Halifax consultant – discover them here – is a trainer by trade, we all had a consistent career in commercial management before).
But that’s not all, a Halifax consultant must also demonstrate teaching skills, because all Halifax consultants have this double mission: train, animate, evaluate, coach their learners AND develop the business (both in prospecting and in farming). We do not believe in separating roles (training to sell and not selling, or the opposite) and on the contrary, we believe that this is one of the foundations of the very strong loyalty of our clients.
Isn’t this a complementary element of our CSR value proposition that could be of interest to our clients?
show that a senior manager can be both commercially successful and also in the transmission of knowledge, with a permanent concern for the growth of his learners, his colleagues, his peers, without any power issues?
Moreover, this entire team of consultants works on a daily basis and in a transversal manner, without any hierarchical link, with much more junior profiles, which is also a current theme within companies: intergenerational skills as a vector for value creation.
We could draw some lessons and feedback that could enrich our CSR value proposition.
Finally, to conclude on the pedagogy at the heart of our business, I would like to address the CSR angle of our contributions.
Because in the end, one could ask the question:
- What would a CSR sale or negotiation look like?
- how do we make all our salespeople CSR salespeople?
I believe that these questions cannot be ignored, at a time when collective commitment to social and environmental responsibility must take precedence and is often based on the logic of the “small step”, the “small gesture” that each person commits to making on a daily basis.
So a CSR sale or negotiation is first of all accepting to evaluate it in one’s commercial proposal, for oneself and for one’s client’s customers.
Dear client, I have taken the liberty of measuring the carbon footprint of my proposal, to specify its societal dimension not only in its deployment with you, but also in all of Halifax’s activities in support of that deployment.
Dear client, I have also tried to integrate into all the stages of sales and negotiation training, the elements that your sales representatives need to understand from their own customers in order to ask themselves the applicable CSR questions and find answers that add value.
For example, in the discovery phase, prepare a series of questions relating to CSR to be addressed to the client (vision, commitments, value chain, business model, constraints and specificities of the environment, prospects, client expectations, etc.). The same applies, of course, to the argumentation or defense of the proposal. And think about the counterparts that can integrate environmental issues, inclusion, diversity, gender equality. Obviously, by demonstrating through experience that commercial performance and CSR can be combined in a sustainable way.
By extension, management must support this change in attitude. First of all, by being exemplary in taking into account CSR issues on a daily basis (travel, team leadership, support, meetings, etc.), but also by promoting CSR over time through group themes, challenges, personalized objectives and by supporting the development of skills in this global CSR approach.
At Halifax, we see this trend of real change management on sustainable business performance issues, taking into account a robust CSR value proposition, as a strong focus for sales team development in the years to come. Following the example of the initiative taken by Carrefour and Bel, which “shows the way”.
And that ultimately, Halifax’s own CSR value proposition can help. Sustainably. So thank you dear colleague for asking the question 😊.
And by the way, as far as your company is concerned, what would be the CSR value proposition?
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