Francisco Pelzing: The Learning Experience Must Be Effective, Engaging And Insightful
Today I’m talking to Paco Pelzing – also known as Francisco Pelzing. With over 25 years of experience in Sales and Global Account Management, Paco has also made the step over to managing Learning and Development on a global scale. Blending this experience together, he has recently started working for Hemsley Fraser who are a worldwide training provider who have incredibly colourful offices and state-of-the art training facilities. Paco, welcome to my campfire chat!
Goodbye Lonely Wolf
Paco’s career has criss-crossed between sales and marketing roles, so as someone that’s had a foot in both camps he’s seen how the need to align sales and marketing has grown massively in the past few years.
Paco believes that sales people can no longer adopt a lonely wolf character and be protective of their customer base because that’s certainly not working anymore. Instead, there needs to be transparency, where market signals and trends are shared early with marketing so that they can be really at the pulse of things and to be able to help the sales function.
There are so many opportunities to help, but alignment is key here, and it needs to be from both sides. If this isn’t done well then you will probably lose the game.
It’s also important to align your company’s sales process to those of potential clients. As Paco put it, “My pace is not always their pace”. Patience is key, even if it’s not that easy.
Learning’s About Attitude. Stay Curious.
What I’ve always loved about Paco is how excited he was to show me new ways to create innovative learning experiences for employees, so where does all that curiosity and passion come from?
Paco shares that he’s been learning all his life, so it’s become intrinsic. He moved to Paris at 19 and studied tourism, then worked for Air France Lufthansa before deciding he wanted to study again. That took him to Germany, where he did further studies in international business and international marketing.
As he explained, he’s adopted the same approach throughout his life – whether that’s with languages, sports, people, methods or even tools. He doesn’t believe that age should determine whether he wants to learn something new or not. Instead, it’s about attitude.
“By the way, little anecdote here, if you allocate to each of the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet, A to one, B to two and so on, so forth, and you add up, you do that with the word attitude, you come up to 100. That's an interesting anecdote.”
Later on, the conversation comes back to his learning approach.
As Paco said, “Again stay curious. There’s so many things to learn.”
He started in sales training but widened his scope to cover more roles and now he’s at Hemsley Fraser, which offers almost everything you can imagine in a learning environment, and that really fascinates him.
The L&D Challenge And 70/20/10 Rule
Paco shares that it can be difficult to get business stakeholders onboard with new initiatives - even if the learning function has an enormous role to play in the midst of large business digital transformation.
You still need to get acceptance. You need to understand the minds of the business stakeholders. And then balance staying up-to-speed with all the different learning methodologies, tools and digital options versus the relevant business strategies.
But as Paco admits, being allowed in on those conversations is a big challenge.
Paco feels that measuring the return on training “is the holy grail”. But if stakeholders start with that question then they probably don't have the right mindset and haven't understood growth and people, learning and motivation.
Paco instead thinks that it's a “no-brainer” to support employees in their growth path with the relevant learning methodologies. And for him, that lies in a 70/20/10 approach.
10% is classroom training but if you don’t reinforce that with 20% social learning (i.e. peer learning and coaching) 87% will be lost after 30 days. The 70% is when you apply what you learn, reinforce it, try it out, fail and try again.
As Paco says, “if you don’t offer performance support in the moment of need, if you’re not able to do that as a company, then it will be really difficult for the learning function to stay relevant”.
The Future Of Business Learning
Paco believes that the future of learning - in a time of less travel and time being a precious resource - needs the right blend of learning. We need to find effective, engaging and insightful ways to bring the right learning experience into an organisation.
That blend should include bite-sized digital tools with coaching along with virtual 90 minute sessions where you can share insights, and then follow it up again with further coaching to reinforce what you’ve learned.
Paco believes that we’re moving towards “learning as a service”, where global companies require more and more. The future lies in offering hundreds of different topics and more and more lifestyle topics such as resilience, storytelling, well-being or how to feel comfortable in what you're doing.
By offering all of these, in the right combination and at the right moment, you provide a really valuable offering to any employee.
Social Selling: A Lightbulb Moment
I’ve saved the final question for another topic Paco’s very passionate about - social selling. (Although, by now I don’t think there’s anything he’s not passionate about!)
Paco recalls his first introduction to the very first version of Sales Navigator while with Mercury International some five or six years ago as a light bulb moment. He remembers then introducing Sales Navigator and social selling to an American friend that he described as a a guru in key account management.
His friend said, "Paco, no way. Key account management, that is face to face. That is about relationships."
I said to him, "So what? I mean, it's just the start of the sales conversation. I know that you will never sell - at least a complex solution - over LinkedIn, but it's initiating a relationship. When you're starting this online, of course you will go offline into the real world at some point."
We know that there are still some sceptics out there that are driven by the numbers, believing that the more calls they make, the more meetings they’ll get.
So what’s Paco’s advice to them? He says they should give it a chance and make it a habit, even if it’s only ten minutes. He also believes you have to have the right mindset and the right environment to formulate an engaging request for contact, which should always be customised where possible.
I agree with Paco - at Tribal we always say that it's about conversations, and conversations lead to connections, connections into referrals, relationships, maybe opportunities.
Paco fully agrees and adds a final piece of advice, “And it might be counter intuitive, but also on LinkedIn, it's all about trust.”
Well, Paco, I think you’re the epitome of somebody who’s just learning and adapting, with an agile and resilient approach to career shifts. People talk about portfolio careers but you were doing it way before the millennial generation were doing it!
[00:30] Meet Paco
[02:12] Goodbye Lonely Wolf
[06:12] and [14:32] Learning’s About Attitude. Stay Curious.
[08:10] The L&D Challenge and 70/20/10 Rule
[12:00] The Future of Business Learning
[15:10] Social Selling: A Lightbulb Moment