It was 13:50 on a particularly sunny day in Napsbury Lane – an ordinarily calm industrial estate in St. Albans. An oil spill had created heavy delays on the surrounding roads, yet that could not detract from the growing excitement within Unit 7 of North Orbital Commercial Park.
After endless hours of talking, planning and finally building upon a long-term vision, Everest was about to open the doors to its first Training Academy and the significance of the occasion could not be ignored.
In attendance were a number of Everest’s most prominent figures, members of the press and representatives from some of Everest’s much-valued partners – including Barclays, Thomas Sanderson and Armour Home. On top of this, Everest’s importance to the British home improvement sector was confirmed with the arrival of Mayor Councillor, Geoff Harrison, who was genuinely excited by the event.
“I too came from sales and it gives me great pleasure in opening this training academy. Very well done!” said the Mayor – a huge advocate of both nurturing talent and encouraging teamwork – before finally cutting the ribbon and declaring the Academy officially open.
The moment was preceded by Everest CEO Roy Saunders, who took the floor to talk about what exactly the Everest Training Academy represented. In a heartfelt speech, he highlighted the moment that Better Capital acquired the company as the point that the new Everest was born.
“In 2012 we decided to step away from the ‘hard sell’ in favour of setting values,” he proclaimed, believing that by providing genuine experts for the public to talk to, the company would only ever move in a positive direction. Roy admitted that the change in mindset immediately shook things up, with many members of the sales team choosing to leave the company rather than raise their own standards, and so began something of a revolution.
With more care being taken in the recruitment process, Everest now only hires staff who undergo a 3-month induction period, as opposed to the 1-week training program they used to run. This helps to ensure that the personnel they send out all over the UK are a good fit with Everest’s core brand values.
Indeed, the new friendlier image that Roy projected was further emphasised when he thanked HR Director, Marcus Lamont, with a beautiful bottle of Champagne for all of the hard work he’d put into launching the Academy. Marcus said of the project: “This is very much a centre that allows us to bring training home. We have built a garden along with several other rooms you would find in a house, which is very fitting because now, in terms of training, this is our home.”
After the speeches, all guests were invited on a group tour to be shown what each workspace would be used for during the training process. Rather impressively, the building has been used to recreate many key parts of a customer’s home, including gardens and conservatories, to give training sales reps the perfect platform to become fully educated on Everest’s products before joining the workforce. And it doesn’t just look good. It sounds good, too.
“Everest wanted atmosphere within the home environment and, from this, we realised there was an opportunity to create an inbuilt entertainment system within conservatories,” said Chris Janes, Sales Manager at Armour Home.
The sound systems Chris spoke of certainly did become a talking point with people during the tours, highlighting Everest’s desire to embrace collaborative ideas that come through modern relationships and trends
In fact, it was by embracing new opportunities that Everest first started working with Barclays bank – a working partnership that Barclays Partner Finance Sales Manager, Jeremy Ellis, fully supports: “As market leaders, we found the two companies were a good fit. We share the same ethos in that we both do what’s right for the customer. This Academy offers a superb reflection of that.”
When speaking to Managing Director of Thomas Sanderson, Nigel Campkin, it was clear that Marcus’ Lamont’s message was carrying through “I think this is an absolutely fantastic facility; a great way to bring training home and give people a very real entry level experience.”
Thomas Sanderson agreed to fit a vast array of their window dressings at the Academy on account of the strong relationship they have built with Everest over the past fifteen years, and their products complemented the conservatories as well as the double and triple glazed windows on display perfectly.
So with the launch a complete success and the company’s emphasis being on improving the consumers’ journey, the future looks incredibly bright for Everest and its customers.