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Volvo Cars – Global Sales Manager Programme

Background and Challenge

It is a well known fact in the automotive industry that the role of a Sales Manager has the biggest influence over the performance of a dealership.

Top performing sales consultants are often promoted into this role without adequate training or preparation. The result is that the dealership loses an effective member of the sales team, and is left with an ill-equipped Sales Manager. This leads to poor performance of the dealership.

A market-wide need was identified for a global training programme – however the team recognised that generic management training would not be the answer. Instead the Sales Manager, and those members of staff that might aspire to move into that role in the future, would need a highly targeted training programme which was completely specific to their role and environment. The training would need to enable the Sales Manager to run an efficient, effective and profitable business. It needed to work at a global level across different cultures and be appropriate for both established and new markets. In addition the training also needed to professionalise the role of the Sales Manager and provide them with a recognised qualification.

The solution

LEO Learning designed an innovative Learning Architecture which comprised a completely realistic online business simulation which puts the manager into a rich simulated environment, depicting a fictitious but highly authentic, Volvo dealership.

Building on the Sales Managers’ existing knowledge, they are given a realistic set of data around the dealership’s key performance indicators (KPIs), then asked to identify the critical business challenges it faces and analyse the root cause of its poor performance. The Sales Managers’ challenge is to put together an improvement plan for the dealership. They are given feedback as they go through the programme to see how each of their actions affects the KPIs and the overall performance of the business.

The simulation is supported by a resource bank which includes videos of real people in real dealerships from around the globe. It is linked to a variety of online activities as well as work-based assessments which the managers complete and are subsequently submitted and marked. The activities are linked to a Training Guide and can be supported locally by face-to-face training and coaching sessions.


The Volvo Sales Manager programme is being translated into 14 languages and is being rolled out via ‘champions’ globally. Whilst it is developed and translated centrally, it has the ability to be delivered locally with face-to-face support as is required by each market. The training has been accredited by the IHM Business School.

The programme has received positive comments from Network Managers and Dealer Representatives:

  • “Really, really top notch….Wow!”
  • “This is almost too good to be true. Really doing quality, quantity and profitability.”
  • “A super good thing. THIS is how to get the dealer principles engaged.”

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