Mentor Group

Innovating with Virtual Classroom Learning for true blended learning brings huge ROI

A demonstrably successful coaching and training provider, Mentor Group's business thrives on transforming clients' operational success through the training and development of their staff. Mentor's training solutions focus around people development, improving sales capability and customer relationship management.


Over the past year, Mentor have grown their business by a third as they are quick to evolve with the changing economic and technological landscape to ensure their solutions remain relevant. They have reshaped their offerings to meet changing demand that has been driven by economic pressures. They have strategically focused on designing bespoke training and coaching solutions for clients, rather than offering public classroom based events.

Mentor's solutions deliver true blended learning. While interactive face to face training is still very much part of the requirement, virtual training has enabled them to expand their global reach with clients. their passion for tranforming learning through innovation continues with new technological applications for virtual classroom learning, online assessment, e-tools and WiFi content delivery.

“We need to deliver solutions that are accessible by all their staff across all their locations yet also to reduce overheads.”

Phil Hollyhead, finance director, explains their strategy, "To grow our business in these competitive times, we need to show our customers that we can help them grow their business. A blended learning solution is the only answer and this has to be supported by a stable and comprehensive training administration system!"

The Client

Mentor Group has been helping organisations improve their business development for over 15 years, and now works with over 60 active, high profile clients including: The British Museum, Dell, Honda, HP, Met Office, Nestle, PWC and Vodafone.

An accredited centre for the Chartered Management Institute and the Institute of Leadership and Management, Mentor's philosophy is underpinned by customer relationship management.

Core Training Areas

  • People Development Programmes: including externally recognised certification for Management & Leadership programmes
  • Sales Capability: including sales transformation; adoption; and call centre training

The company was an early adopter of customer relationship technology, so they are well placed to deliver sales capability training. Clients reap the benefits of an efficient technological system, utilised by the dedicated Mentor teams of consultants, account managers and support staff.

The Business Requirement

Personal interaction between instructors and delegates remains vitally important to the success of Mentor's programmes, but they needed to find a way to expand the reach of their training for their clients whilst optimising the training budget and reducing the cost of instructor led training.

Mentor have a well developed e-learning offering, but an element of dialogue is required that e-learning alone wouldn't provide, So the company has been developing their virtual offerings over the last couple of years to better serve customers and respond to changing demand for training.

WebEx is the tool of choice, which has powerful capabilities in delivering live and recorded sessions to large and recorded sessions to large and dispersed audiences. What it lacks is the ability to truly integrate with the broader training programmes in terms of planning, resourcing, admin, communications, measurement and reporting. All events and calls have to be manually entered into the training administration system causing duplicate effort. Mentor had a requirement to integrate WebEx with their training administration system.

The Solution

Mentor have been using ES TAS since 2004 to manage their classroom events and more recently e-learning events. They share our culture of innovation and have been early adopters of many of our new products along the way, including the new Virtual Classroom Learning module.

The new ES Virtual Classroom Learning module will enable Mentor to develop, deliver and manage all aspects of a virtual classroom based event, within their existing ES TAS platform. Using the familiar WebEx platform, they are able to incorporate virtual training events into the blended learning solutions they deliver to clients, ensuring consistent and accurate planning and reporting. Mentor's work within a leading global IT firm illustrates the success of managing virtual classroom events as part of a blended programme.

Mentor run development centres for one of the top global IT firms. The programme is highly successful in the UK but has been difficult to replicate in other geographies because of the time required out of the office for delegates. Requiring overseas delegates to travel to the UK for 2-3 days training is expensive. Mentor's virtual classroom solution takes the training to the delegates, rather than bringing the delegates to the training. They can sit at their desk for a day and have content delivered online, then follow up with an hour or two hour long webinar sessions. The client is now rolling the programme out globally.

Mentor deliver virtual classroom learning via WebEx to some very high profile clients. We're very excited about the VCL module as it will enable us to manage WebEx events through the ES TAS system, giving us a 360 degree view of all our training."
Phil Hollyhead, Finance Director

This is a $2.5 million project but payback will be just two years. Every new hire will be consistently and successfully onboarded without having to leave the office for several days and incur huge expenses. The Virtual Classroom Learning module will ensure that all virtual classroom sessions can be administered and managed with the same accuracy as our classroom and e-learning events.

The Results

At the hear of Mentor's success is their ability to pass on ROI to customers. They are, after all, in the business of teaching corporate teams how to improve their sales techniques and customer relationship management programmes to grow their business.

"Our revenue increased by 30% in the last financial year, due to these initiatives and our investment in the ES system. It's great to show real financial return!"

Hollyhead explains, "We can also demonstrate real ROI to our customers. We are so confident that our sales performance coaching delivers directly measurable results, we offer clients the choice of a profit share arrangement if Mentor can demonstrate ROI."

"Quite often the client chooses to pay our fee rather than profit sharing as the profits forecast are so high! ES is a cornerstone to this success as the system gives us that level of customer knowledge, and enables efficient delivery of our training."