The inside track on the Access Point Sales Academy

Posted By: Caron Heron - Tuesday, 17 May 2016  |  Comments: 0

The inside track on the Access Point Sales Academy

 Caron Heron Access Point

The second Access Point Sales Academy is drawing to a close and graduation day is fast approaching. In previous blogs we’ve spoken about the trainees, about the course and even about the games of rounders at lunch! But to date, we’ve not heard from the Access Point staff who interview, assess and coach our trainees on their way to becoming fully fledged Account Managers.


Caron Heron, Account Manager for Homebase spoke to us about her involvement with the academy. Caron has been with Access Point for five years and is one of the company’s leading Account Managers. She also has previous experience in interviewing and training staff, having been awarded Team Leader of the year for Barclays Bank in a former job role. This made her a natural choice to take the lead with the new recruits.


So you’ve been part of both academies now, what are the main differences you’ve seen between them?


This academy is a lot more mixed than the last one, there’s a wider range of ages, meaning that a lot of the trainees have different experiences to draw on.


How do you think that’s changed the dynamics of the group?


I think it’s been great, it’s enabled them to learn a lot more from each other than they would have if they’d all come from similar backgrounds. It’s also meant that they’ve all been used to speaking and interacting with a variety of different personalities. That experience will be vital when they’re on the sales floor and could be speaking to a takeaway owner in Glasgow one minute and a PR guru in London the next!


How do you see your role in the academy?


I’m involved in the academy from start to finish, I’m part of the group that does telephone interviews with the candidates to start with and then I’m there on their assessment day too. It’s great being able to put a face to a name after interviewing them on the phone.


It’s when it comes to the in house segment that I get the most one on one time with the group. I listen to their calls, offer advice and feedback. A large part of it is to be there as a friendly face, interacting with them in the classroom and outside of it too.


How do the trainees change over the course of the academy?


There’s a huge change as they progress and become more confident. On the first day everyone’s excited and eager to start. By the end of the first week they’re scared! Once they complete their first call though you can see the visible relief in them. By the end of the second week they were a totally different group of people, to the point that I heard one of them give an effective fifteen minute pitch with a potential client!


How did the last academy look when they were graduating?


By the end of the training they were a really positive group of people ready to deliver on the sales floor. Unfortunately I wasn’t here for the graduation ceremony last time, so I’m really looking forward to seeing that this time around.


Finally what have you taken from the academy?


I’ve really enjoyed the whole process, especially seeing it from start to finish and watching how people change and grow in the environment. It’s also been great to have the chance to train other people to support the academy. I’ve helped to train my friend Carole (the other half of Betty and Wilma) who’s also a really experienced and successful Account Manager to conduct telephone interviews and she’s enjoying the process too.


What advice will you give to graduates as they leave the academy?


Stay positive and treat every call like it’s your first of the day!


Related Articles:

Access Point Sales Academy - Meet the team

Responsible Business Week - Employment and Enterprise



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