’47’s success stems from never forgetting its roots. In 1947, twin brothers and Italian immigrants Arthur and Henry D’Angelo founded Twins Enterprises, now ’47. The D’Angelos were entrepreneurial pioneers who were quick to see the future of sports licensing, selling pennants and other sports memorabilia on the streets around Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Through a combination of hard work, sound instincts, and incredible passion, the brothers grew their business from a single street cart to a premier sports lifestyle brand that uniquely melds sport and style. Over the decades, ‘47 has continued to produce a unique selection of headwear and apparel while maintaining an unparalleled attention to detail. The company is a proud licensed partner of the four key professional American sports leagues—the MLB, NFL, NBA, and NHL—as well as more than 650 colleges. It also operates a flagship store in the heart of Boston’s major shopping district.
As the second generation of employees moves ’47 forward, management has been faced with overcoming new challenges while keeping the company rooted in family values. To keep up with demand and growth, and to meet the challenges that come with them, ’47 needed to rethink its sales team structure. The sales team was primarily comprised of independent contractors, but management sought to transition to an in-house team—which meant hiring the right people and training them to be successful would be critical.
’47 turned to PI Certified Senior Partner Laura Caton of The Cornerstone Group, which has helped organizations improve performance by aligning people and strategy since 1997. Equipped with data, tools, and technology, The Cornerstone Group has helped hundreds of companies and thousands of leaders to acquire, manage, and develop talent to drive performance.
The first orders of business were to assess the contracted sales representatives throughout the U.S. and hire more high performers to keep up with increased growth and demand. Caton recommended The Predictive Index® Hire solution as a starting point—one that would empower ‘47 to quickly identify candidates suited for the job role and understand whether they would be good fits.
“PI’s Hire solution platform and Behavioral Assessment™ are fantastic,” says Kevin Crean, Human Resources Manager at ’47. “We’re also using the PI Job Assessment, which has been enormously helpful by allowing us to determine what behaviors a person should have in order to be successful in a particular role.”
The PI Job Assessment allows organizations to define their ideal behavioral and cognitive requirements for specific roles ahead of the hiring process. Using the Job Assessment in combination with internal group analytics of successful salespeople, ’47 identified key behavioral factors that would drive sales success both within its Key Accounts division and out in the field.
“Our hiring decisions had previously been made through gut feeling, and that doesn’t always get you so far,” said National Sales Manager Dan Larner. “We looked around and thought, ‘How can we improve this? How can we make hiring more efficient?’ The PI Behavioral Assessment has been pivotal there.”
As ’47 rapidly grew and expanded its sales team, leadership knew it needed a process to provide consistent sales training for new hires. Caton introduced the team to Levi Smith, The Cornerstone Group’s lead sales trainer and ambassador of PI’s Customer-Focused Selling™ (CFS), a customizable sales training program that covers the core competencies of consultative selling. Using a highly interactive instructor-led workshop format, CFS provided ’47’s salesforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve success and reach its goals.
“The CFS training we received from The Cornerstone Group has been phenomenal,” said Larner. “They’re good at teaching but even more importantly, they really get us and our business. They do a great job working with us and understanding our unique business and sales challenges. The training has given me much better insight into each of my team members, as well as which team members are struggling and need more support. The training has shown me areas where I need to work one-on-one with an individual, and that’s been very helpful.”
“At the end of the day, it comes down to this: ‘How do I effectively get my reps to do their jobs as successfully as possible? How do I best communicate in a way that’s going to get them to understand me, my objectives and goals, and then go out and execute?’” said Larner. “I’m able to use the data from the PI Behavioral Assessment to understand exactly how to work with each of my reps, and that’s extremely useful.”
Not only does ‘47’s leadership team now have better insights into their employees behavioral drives and needs—they are also hiring, onboarding, and training more precisely than ever before.
“The PI Behavioral Assessment has been hugely beneficial to our hiring process and has allowed us to make better hiring decisions, making sure we put the right people in the right jobs. We are also better able to manage, train, and motivate our sales representatives resulting in increased sales and more business,” said Crean. “The PI Behavioral Assessment has definitely been helpful and has absolutely made me and other managers better educated on hiring and managing.”
Larner sums up the positive effect talent optimization has had on ‘47 by reflecting on the business objectives it’s now better equipped to meet. “Working with both Laura and Levi to implement the Behavioral Assessment and the CFS training has had a hugely positive impact on ’47 and our continued success and growth.”
I’m able to use the data from the PI Behavioral Assessment to understand exactly how to work with each of my reps, and that’s extremely useful.