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Building global commercial excellence through an international sales program


AkzoNobel Performance Coatings is global leader in performance coatings technology and innovation. The company launched a new strategy of differentiated growth – “invest, sustain or cash” with implications for the sales force and especially for the sales managers.

The differences between the roles of sales managers and sales representatives have become more clearly defined. Sales managers are transitioning from a more operational role to a leadership position.

They need to focus more on processes, market segments and managing their sales force, which is a major change in their role descriptions.

At the same time, this change prompted the need to effectively communicate not only within sales, but also with the other functions.

A global training program for sales management was needed to not only communicate the changes taking place, but also to provide sales managers with skills they need for their redefined role.


Some of AkzoNobel’s Performance Coatings businesses already collaborated with Krauthammer and based on this positive experience, Krauthammer was the partner of choice Working together, AkzoNobel and Krauthammer designed a multi-level commercial training program with a staged global roll-out.

The design of the training reflects a combination of Krauthammer’s know-how and AkzoNobel’s business specifics, resulting in an optimal program. The training program encompasses blended learning to develop the right mind-set and skillset for commercial excellence.

Although the most critical need was to prepare sales managers for their new role, AkzoNobel quickly concluded that the focus needed to be extended to the front line, meaning that it was necessary to add training down the hierarchy.

Initially it was assumed that everybody participating in the First Line Sales Manager training would have basic sales skills, however there proved to be a diverse variety of backgrounds and experiences among the sales professionals.

This was resolved by adding basic sales training elements and by creating a standard commercial "language"". Participants appreciated that the trainings reflected their daily reality.


In parallel to the training, commercial processes in the organization have been shared through other internal workshops and other internal activities.

This has created wider recognition and greater inspiration to benefit from the changes than if the messaging had been done through one single channel. People have become more engaged in the changes taking place, feel more heard and are actively applying what they learned.

They report back on what they learned in the training sessions and now have a more solid base to foster Commercial Excellence for AkzoNobel. The global rollout of the training has been a crucial element in the success of this program.

Krauthammer showed flexibility by having both local and international trainers who can deliver all over the world: In the first stage of this multi-year program, training sessions are being delivered by Krauthammer in 30+ countries and in 15+ languages.

"Krauthammer consultants are flexible, the communication is easy and there is a clear responsiveness to our needs"

Marie cécile dekker, Commercial excellence director