MultiChoice: Empowering Direct Sales Representatives for Business Growth

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MultiChoice is Africa’s leading entertainment company, with its platforms – DStv, GOtv, Showmax and DStv Now – acting as an entertainment hub for millions of people across 50 countries. In 2020, MultiChoice had a total subscriber base of approximately 20.1 million viewers throughout Africa. MultiChoice is one of the fastest-growing pay-TV operators in the world.

MultiChoice maintains deep roots in the countries where its customers live, creating thousands of jobs and investing heavily in Africa’s film and TV industry, as well as contributing to the economies of the countries where it operates. MultiChoice not only invests in its customers, but in its employees’ capabilities. One of the group’s strategic pillars focuses on employee development; building the skills necessary to sustain operational excellence.

The situation

Ahead of the 2022 World Cup, MultiChoice looked to its direct sales representatives (DSRs) to amplify sales of satellite decoders across its African markets. DSRs walk the streets in urban centres and engage directly with customers, making sales on the spot. In some regions, up to 60% of sales are made by DSRs.

MultiChoice wanted to provide training to the DSRs in its direct sales force (DSF) to:

  • Improve their customer contact skills.

  • Increase MultiChoice product knowledge.

  • Increase product sales.

  • Retain DSRs by offering career growth and opportunities within the DSF and MultiChoice.

A unique solution was needed that did not rely heavily on technology as DSRs did not, in many cases, have access to smartphones.

The solution was to be rolled out in Uganda, Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Botswana.

The solution

MultiChoice partnered with TTRO to deliver learning outcomes to the DSRs. It was decided that a facilitated learning solution was needed to overcome the technology barrier. Thus, the DSF Sales Academy Learning Programme was established; this encompassed all salespeople who interact with customers, namely direct sales representatives and direct sales force team leaders.

A key focus area of the programme is to provide micro-reinforcement learning opportunities to improve the quality of sales through the application of customer-centric sales skills and behaviours. Since learning could not take place through technology, manuals were used to convey all the necessary information.

TTRO designed assets and materials to be delivered in ready-to-print format for in-country printing. The language of the materials was designed to be easy to understand and contain limited jargon. The tone was to be professional, but not overly formal. Posters were designed to reinforce learning. Materials were translated into Setswana for Botswana, Amharic for Ethiopia, and Portuguese for Mozambique and Angola.

The Sales Academy took shape as a series of in-person workshops for the DSRs. The DSRs spent time in camps on-site so that workshops could take place every day.

The academy kicked off with a once-off induction classroom training held by regional sales managers, followed by daily micro-reinforcement sessions at camp facilitated by DSR team leaders with regional sales manager oversight. On-the-job observation also took place to assess the competence and behavioural changes of the DSRs. DSR team leaders themselves took part in a half-day classroom training to prepare for their leadership roles.

The curriculum covered by the learning materials and in-person training covered a wide range of topics, including an introduction to MultiChoice and the career paths available within the organisation, ways to stay motivated on the job (as rejection occurs often in sales), and a complete overview of the sales process from types of customers to managing customer relationships.

The impact

In the months leading up to the World Cup, there was a big push to increase the number of DSRs being trained, with the result that around 5,000 direct sales representatives went through the programme in the countries where it was rolled out. Each of those DSRs now has the potential to work towards becoming a full-time MultiChoice employee by achieving the status of territory sales supervisor or a regional sales manager, showing that the project has an aspirational aspect for its graduates.

The DSF Sales Academy Learning Programme has now become business as usual in the countries where it was launched. Training new DSRs has become a living and breathing process, and although the World Cup may be over, the hope is that thousands more will graduate from the programme in the next financial year. While each of the countries originally had its own way of training new DSRs, now the process has become standardised across borders, leading to a uniform quality of training in the workshops and through the training manuals.

Chris Brownbill, senior specialist: learning and development at MultiChoice Africa Holdings (MAH), said of working with TTRO on the project: “The time frame for the DSF Sales Academy Learning Programme was incredibly tight, and it wouldn’t have been possible to meet the deadlines without TTRO and the team that works there. More than the speed with which they were able to roll out the programme was the quality of the products – the training manuals, the workshop posters, etc. I’m always impressed by how TTRO rises to the occasion and meets any challenge.”

He added: “The solution was practical and very effective on the ground. I talked to the people on the ground. So going back to the use of flashcards, which sounds very old school, but for the audience, it was perfect. It was exactly what was needed. Micro-reinforcement in small bite-sized learning pieces works very well because the DSRs only have a short space of time available each day. But then to the bigger picture of having full workshops for induction; it was extremely practical to have handouts and use charts on the wall. Everything TTRO delivered was fit for purpose and ticked the boxes perfectly.”




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