BMF Training Zone: the virtual route to improved branch performance

BMF Training Zone: the virtual route to improved branch performance

More and more merchants are recognising the advantages of bespoke in-house training, particularly if they have several employees with similar training needs. But if they work in different branches, it is not always straightforward to get them together in one place. However, the BMF’s latest bespoke programme — which can be run virtually — provides the perfect solution.

‘Excellence in Branch Management’ is an ISM (Institute of Sales Management) accredited course created for BMF members by Sue Reed. Sue, a Learning Development Governor within the Institute of Builders Merchants as well as a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Management, is one of the BMF’s most popular trainers, with a passion for developing individuals and helping them discover skills and abilities they never knew they had.

While the course can be delivered in person, Haldane Fisher, for instance, opted for virtual delivery using a dedicated GiraffePad Learning Management System (LMS). The programme forms part of the company’s overall People Development Strategy, with content tailored for eight branch managers following a scoping meeting between Sue, Haldane Group HR Director Andrew Laird and Richard Jones, BMF Regional Manager, to strategically outline the key deliverables required. The content of each session was then aligned to Haldane Fisher values.

Using GiraffePad was both efficient and productive; it enabled those taking part to meet Sue and fellow learners before events as well as giving on-demand access to all resources. Learners also received support and coaching via the LMS system’s private chat facility, providing a true, one-on-one learning experience.

In advance of the programme all learners undertook a Clarity4D profile to give both themselves and Sue, the trainer, a better understanding of where they were now and what they hoped to achieve. As one participant said: “It pointed out where I was strong and where I had to improve. This also opened my thinking as to how I improve myself. Sue steered me in the direction I needed to go.”

Sue uses a variety of learning techniques to help participants develop their own hidden potential and improve the performance of their teams. A key focus is on customer and supplier relationships and translating success here into increased sales performance.

In fact, a clear focus was one of the main takeaways for several of the branch managers on the programme. One said: “The course has helped me to focus on the things that matter. We can get focused on things that don’t matter and before you know it, you’re off track.”

Other delegates highlighted a new self-confidence the course had given them, as well as its immediate relevance to their daily job and life.

The final phase was a Business Improvement Project, putting the techniques learned into action, with each branch manager presenting the results to the senior management team. Every one of them exceeded expectations, as Group HR Director, Andrew Laird explained: “The programme exceeded my expectations in terms of delivery, output and on-going development of our branch managers to enable them to realise their potential to be the best they can be.

“The business improvement project set within the programme resulted in not only applied learning such as S.W.O.T., FISHBONE, Colour Preferences and SMARTer Leadership of each branch team but an overall increased sales of £60K.

“The final Business Improvement Project demonstrated to the Senior Management Team continued applied learning and that our managers are now strategically forward planning in a very challenging climate to deliver Excellence in Branch Management.”

Haldane Fisher is now planning for Phase 2 of the programme and enrolment of another cohort to embed the Excellence in Branch Management philosophy within their culture and way of working.

If your company would like more information about the Excellence in Branch Management programme or any element of BMF’s training offer, please contact Paige Godsell at or call 02476 854980.

A version of this article appeared in PBM’s December edition. Click here to read the full digital issue.

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