Training Top 125 Best Practice: Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.’s Customer Connections CRM Customer Service Training

The blended training approach includes instructor-led training (ILT), video, Web-based, virtual, and self-paced delivery methods taking place over a 12-week timeframe.

In 2016, Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., a wholesale distributor of plumbing supplies and heating and cooling equipment, launched a new sales and solutions call center model to better service the vast array of customers requesting service. To meet the business requirements, Ferguson also introduced new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.

By aligning and collaborating across IT, sales, operations, and executive leadership, Ferguson’s Learning and Development group built the Customer Connections CRM Training Program focused on people, processes, and technologies.

Program Details

The blended training approach includes instructor-led training (ILT), video, Web-based, virtual, and self-paced delivery methods taking place over a 12-week timeframe. A quizzing component ensures that knowledge transfer is taking place.

Phase I of the program begins with a two-and-a-half-day ILT classroom session targeted to key sales and operational management roles. This session focuses on leading change, coaching skills, corporate expectations, and hands-on systems training on the new phone technology and CRM platform. Managers are armed with systems knowledge and tools to help them prepare for the deployment and lead the change management transition with their teams.

The second phase of the program consists of eight weeks of virtual, Web-based, and self-paced training for each new licensed user of the CRM and phone technology. Each week targets specific areas of focus such as customer service and phone skills, CRM system navigation, phone routing technology, and capturing activities and contacts. Associates must complete each week’s training and pass a quiz before progressing to the next week of training.

The final phase of the program consists of an on-site ILT class focused on leveraging the system and tools to provide world-class service for Ferguson customers. Associates are coached on how to apply the tools to their respective sales roles.


In fiscal year 2016, Ferguson trained 2,208 CRM users, accounting for 3,420 hours of Web-based delivery and 4,338 hours of ILT delivery.

Sales associates have captured more than 79,000 customer contacts; 28,000 prospective customer leads; and 700,000 recorded customer interactions using the new system. With a projected $3 billion growth in revenue year over year for the new sales and solutions centers, the Customer Connections CRM Training Program stands as a cornerstone for Ferguson’s Learning and Development group.

Training Top 125

2017 Training Top 125 winners demonstrated a strong focus on effective training and employee development tied to corporate strategic goals and business impact.

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While editing one of the articles, “Lessons for New L&D Leaders,” for this issue, I read something that struck a chord: “When meeting with peers and up-line colleagues, ask: ‘How can I help you

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