|History of Sales Training International and SalesHelp|
1986: Robert DeGroot, after very successful careers in education, psychology, and sales, writes the business plan for Sales Training America, but launches the company as DeGroot Communications in Houston Texas to take advantage of name recognition and reputation.
1988: Psychology for Successful Selling, written by Robert DeGroot, is published as a hardback book by Branden Publishing Co., Boston, MA., and begins to influence sales in a very positive way. The company relocates to The Woodlands, Texas.
1989: The Company wins the South Montgomery County Chamber award representing a "Successful New Business Start-Up." Sales Management and Customer Service courses are added to the curriculum. A national advertising campaign expands the client base beyond Houston and the company changes its name to Sales Training America.
1993: Robert DeGroot, along with Shell Products Training and ROI Evaluation Services, present the results of the customer service training provided using STI's content developed by DeGroot that achieved a 501% in net benefits to Shell Dispatch. 1993 ASTD National Conference, Atlanta, GA. “Measuring Results - Here Is Your Planning Grid” presenting how to measure and quantify the effectiveness of customer service soft skills training.
1994: Sales Training America receives the "Organization of the Year" award from the Houston Chapter of American Society for Training and Development for the third time. DeGroot presents at the 1994 ASTD International Conference, Anaheim, CA. “Criteria Driven Value Selling.”
1995: As the client base expands into Canada, Europe and Latin America, the company officially makes the transition to Sales Training International (STI). DeGroot presents at the 1995 ASTD International Conference, Dallas, TX. where he conducted a face validity study with over 100 sales trainers at the conference of the soon to be released “Sales Diagnostic Questionnaire (SDQ)."
1996: The first www.SalesHelp.com Internet website goes live and the company's international client base expands. New world-class program design, page layout, packaging and trainer materials provide the foundation for the company's efforts to establish a "brand" identity. Sales Training International and Value Selling Strategies P.R.O.S.P.E.C.T. Model (VSS), with their distinctive designs, become registered trademarks "®". Sales Training America ® becomes the brand for the company's self-study products. VSS and other courses translated to Spanish.
1997: Sales Training International doubles office and training space and triples staff to address the increasing needs of clients in such diverse markets as oil and gas, software, construction, manufacturing, health care, transportation, public utilities, wholesale trade, services, and finance. Authorized Value Added Resellers begin reselling STI's products.
1999: STI's Internet department spins off to become DeGrootWeb. The Major Account Call Center (MACC) is developed for Shell Fleet Services to make direct sales to their growing list of products to fleets and to support outside sales forces where available. Sales made in the MACC ranged from $2,500 to $3.7 million. The company achieves seven figures in sales which it will continue to do for several years until the "virtual business" model is fully implemented.
2000: STI adopts new strategic vision to become the number one Web-based sales, sales management and customer service training company in the world. www.SalesHelp.com retains its first page ranking organically on the top 10 search engines. STI develops the Web-enabled version Sales Diagnostic Questionnaire and launches its first Web-based Training program.
2001: www.LearnSellingOnline.com is launched with 15 courses, including two major research modules.
2002: www.LearnCustomerServiceOnline.com is launched with five courses. The Customer Service Diagnostic Questionnaire is Web-enabled. STI is selected as 1 of 45 companies to be included in the Courseware Knowledge Base publication by industry research company Brandon-Hall. "Excellent off-the-shelf courses are available to teach almost any subject imaginable."
2003: www.LearnSalesManagementOnline.com is launched (decommissioned 2022). All online courses meet the American Society for Training and Development certification standards for instructional design, interactive components, student engagement, navigation, etc. and awards STI as one of seven with Library Certification. STI customizes content and developed a quick learning strategy that supports ARAMARK winning the Service STAR award from ASTD.
2004: Company creates a new strategic vision that includes adopting the "virtual-company" business model. Staff are quickly hired into new positions with our suppliers, clients and other companies. In-house ILT discontinued as we continued to outsource most functions of the company.
2005: The 360 degree "Competency Diagnostic Questionnaire™" (CDQ) software is launched. The company designs and builds out new office space in The Woodlands Mall expansion.
2006: "Virtual Company" Business Model goal is substantially achieved. Everything is outsourced except internal accounting and research and development. Overhead is now minimal, but so is the company's abilities to take on large projects that require significant numbers of staff on site.
2009: All 31 categories of the Sales Diagnostic Questionnaire results can now be directly cross-referenced to online courses allowing personalized curriculums to be developed. The virtual company strategy is to use the online learning to teach the knowledge, skills, and strategies in a diagnostically determined individualized curriculum, then provide coaching to enhance and strengthen the ability to use the skills. Contract trainers continued to provide on site training.
2010: The online customer service courses are replatformed to a SCORM conformant format.
2011: MarinaCustomerServiceTraining.com was launched with 10 online customer service training courses modified for the marina industry.
2012: Sales Training International becomes a multi-book publisher by converting 35 Instructor-Led Training courses to e-books which are now sold by Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com. 25 of them would go on to become Amazon Top 100 Best sellers.
2013: Customer Service Excellence series of courses redeveloped in Articulate Storyline and published on OpenSesame.com. The plan is to outsource the sales and delivery of the Web-Based Training courses and discontinue the online e-commerce elearning sites. Over the next several years the sales and sales management courses would be converted to SCORM so they too could be outsourced to resellers.
2015: Founder and owners Robert and Kemba DeGroot, both avid boaters, semi-retired and moved their home and business to Cape Coral Florida where they can boat year round. The company is now on automatic. Direct sales efforts are discontinued as the focus turns to completing the transition to Florida.
2016: STI published Objection Free Selling: How to Prevent, Preempt, and Respond to Every Sales Objection You Get in both e-book and paperback formats.
2017: Objection Free Selling hits # 10 in the USA and # 5 in the UK on the Amazon Top 100 Best Seller lists. Five other e-books also climbed into the Top 100 Best Seller lists: Value Selling Strategies, Telephone Cold Calling, Features, Advantages, and Benefits, Reseller Strategy, and Telephone Etiquette (USA, UK, Canada, & Australia).
2018: The book Strategic Sales Plan: Why Sales Fail and How Wins are Won is published June 2018 and is destined for the best-seller's list - a status it achieves four months later on October 29, 2018.
2019: Objection Free Selling, now in its 3rd Edition, is over four years on the best-sellers list. All 46 Instructor-Led Training courses and Trainer manuals were updated and redeveloped using minimal formatting for quick customization and rebranding. The ebooks were updated, with 25 of them achieving best-seller status on Amazon. 29 of the 42 Web-based training (WBT) courses are now redeveloped and published in SCORM conformant and Section 508 compliant software. Eight diagnostic questionnaires, surveys, and checklists were updated, and two quick surveys were developed and web-enabled.
2020: COVID 19 influenced the interactions with our clients and prospects alike. Zoom, Web Ex, MS Teams, and other video conferencing sites became the way to communicate. Our "Email Prospecting" strategies (see the ebook and course by the same title) and our new blog effectively maintained contact with our clients and acquired new online business through our online reseller.
2021: Sales Training International (STI), ceases operations on December 31, 2021, but remains as the brand identity for the Web-based Training, Instructor-Led Training, Diagnostic Questionnaires, surveys, checklists, and books and ebooks. SalesHelp becomes the brand for the direct client services provided by bestselling author Dr. Robert P DeGroot. These services include course customization, psychometric research, sales, sales management, customer service diagnostics, coaching online, and books and the SalesHelp best practices blog.
2022: STI Assets are offered for sale including, bestselling books/ebooks, diagnostics, ILT, and WBT courses. Owners are retiring from the training business. Select this link to see the incredible value proposition.
2023: STI Logo updated. Modeling after the SalesHelp.com logo, Sales Training International adopts a new look. This new look is also now on sister sites LearnSellingOnline.com and LearnCustomerServiceOnline.com.