Motorola - SPIN® project overview

The Huthwaite approach

The Huthwaite approach comprises four stages: Content Diagnosis, Process Diagnosis, Intervention and Integration.

Content Diagnosis – Finding what works best

Using Behaviour Analysis techniques that Huthwaite had developed, Motorola managers watched their people selling and picked out the behaviours that were working in successful calls.

 Process Diagnosis – Deciding how to implement

Huthwaite developed a wholly field-based project plan that avoided classroom training and instead capitalised on the strong sales management culture within Motorola.

Intervention – Training in coaching skills

Managers were trained in coaching skills to help them monitor and develop the key skills identified by Content Diagnosis.

Integration 1 – Developing successful behaviours through coaching

The coaching was designed as a three-month project. Managers met monthly with Huthwaite consultants to plan strategies for getting the maximum skill improvement from the Motorola people. During the project, managers gave their people special training materials that Huthwaite had designed to help develop those selling behaviours that worked best in a recession.

As a matter of policy, coaching effort was concentrated in the area of obtaining new business rather than developing existing clients, and this bias is reflected in the results shown in the report.

Integration 2 – Measuring productivity

The final, and most important step was to assess the effect of the project in terms of increased sales productivity, and it was here that Martha Silliman was called in to plan and supervise the evaluation process.


The report produced by Ms Silliman is now reproduced in full, with the exception of the technical appendices.

SPIN® Project Productivity Analysis

This report is a productivity analysis of the SPIN® Field Coaching Programme that was conducted in the Communications Division of Motorola for sales managers to improve the skills of sales reps by means of on-the-job coaching.

A previous analysis of the project data confirmed that key SPIN® selling behaviours were more frequent in successful, as opposed to unsuccessful, Motorola sales success. Moreover, that work also indicated that implementation of the field coaching project increased the use of key SPIN® Behaviours. However, that analysis did not address the third major question:

What is the impact of the achieved selling behaviour change on productivity?

This question is systematically investigated in the following analysis:

  • Background information
    This analysis was conducted to measure the links between training and sales productivity. In any such analysis, it is critically important that productivity information be obtained not only for the group receiving training, but also for comparable groups who did not receive training. For this analysis, two such comparison groups were established.
  • SPIN® group
    This group consisted of sales reps who participated in the SPIN® Field Coaching Programme (N=42).
  • Control group with SPIN® managers
    The group consisted of sales reps who did not participate in the Field Coaching Programme, but who did report to SPIN® trained managers (N=42).
  • Control group with non SPIN® trained managers
    This group consisted of sales reps who did not participate in the Field Coaching Programme who reported to non-SPIN® trained managers (N=20). Productivity data was obtained for each of these three groups during three time periods:
  • Pre-SPIN®
    The three months before SPIN® training.
  • During SPIN®
    The three months in which the SPIN® training occurred. 
  • Post-SPIN®
    The three months immediately following SPIN® training.

Productivity results

In order to maximise the usefulness of the results for decision making, four major productivity analyses were conducted:

One    Total orders

Two    Orders from existing accounts

Three  from new accounts

Four    Dollar value of sales

Table one depicts the total productivity of the three groups before, during and after the SPIN® programme. The results displayed in the subsequent tables are the average number of sales orders for each three-month period.

Motorola -table1

While the total orders declined in both control groups, order productivity in the SPIN® group increased 17%. With reference to the overall effectiveness of the SPIN® Field Coaching Programme, these results were indeed encouraging. However, for decision making purposes, it is important to further examine the results.

Tables two and three show the productivity comparisons for orders from existing and new accounts.

Motorola -table2

For existing accounts, both control groups showed a decline in sales productivity. The decline was particularly sharp for the control group with non-SPIN® managers. However, as opposed to the results obtained when total orders were examined, the SPIN® group showed only a slight increase in productivity.

Motorola -table3

When the results for new accounts are examined a highly different pattern emerges. While both control groups again showed a decline in productivity, and again the sales reps with non-SPIN® managers showed a markedly greater productivity decline, the SPIN® group achieved a substantial increase in new orders, for new accounts, the order productivity for the SPIN® group increased 63%. This finding holds particular importance from a sales marketing perspective. In additional, it is relevant in regard to the overall validation of the SPIN® model, since it confirms that the SPIN® approach is particularly effective in those situations where new customer needs must be developed. The final step in the analysis was to investigate changes in the dollar value sold for each group.

Training of an organisation’s sales force has limited value unless that training produces positive business results. For that reason, the effectiveness of Motorola’s SPIN® Field Coaching Programme was examined in terms of its effect on sales productivity. For the three month period before, during, and after training, information was obtained on the following sales productivity criteria: total orders from new customers, and dollar value of products sold.

Systematic analysis of that productivity data established a strong case for the following conclusions:

Pre-post change in dollar value

When the change in the dollar value of products sold was examined as an indication of productivity, the same general pattern of results was obtained. Again, both control groups showed a decline in productivity, and again the SPIN® group showed an increase in productivity when the before and after SPIN® training periods were compared (+5.3%).

  • increased use of key SPIN® behaviours is linked to increased order productivity
  • increased use of key SPIN® behaviours is particularly effective for improving sales productivity with new accounts
  • increased use of key SPIN® behaviours is linked to increased dollar value sold.

Motorola -image1