Diploma in High Performance Sales & Business Development

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School


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Who should attend

  • Senior executives currently responsible for leading the sales and business development function of their organisation;
  • Managers who want to successfully integrate their business development strategy into the corporate strategy of the organisation;
  • Senior executives who want to optimise their sales structure and performance;
  • Managers who want to use coaching and performance management techniques to create a motivated and high performance team;
  • Individual contributors who are tasked with planning the sales strategy and implement sales force decisions;
  • Leader/managers who would like to challenge their thinking with the latest research and learning from Fortune 1000 sales organisations and leading academics.

About the course

Designed to equip senior executives with an in-depth understanding of how to achieve increased profits, double growth and create a robust growth strategy for the next stage of an organisation’s development, this diploma will help participants develop their own thinking and address key sales and business development challenges with clarity, innovation, focus and confidence.

The diploma will provide participants with leading-edge sales management models, concepts, tools and action learning that will make a significant difference to their business efficiency and performance levels. It will enhance participants’ ability to create and lead a high-performance sales and business development team, unit and organisation.

Key Benefits

Upon completion of this programme, participants will have a deep understanding of sales strategy decisions that most impact revenue and profit growth, and that precede tactical decisions related to sales force management and operations.

Specifically, the programme will:

  • Equip the participant with the tools to assess and address the strategic sales and business development strategy decisions that impact upon revenue;
  • Provide deep insight into some of today’s most challenging issues in sales force design, deployment, talent management and effectiveness;
  • Provide learning strategies for improving the participant’s ability to communicate performance expectations and manage performance gains and gaps;
  • Help participants develop a coaching mind-set to support increased performance and development

Programme Structure

This programme is delivered over a series of 6 two-day workshops within a 10–month period. Workshops are held on Fridays and Saturdays to minimise interference with work schedules. The programme structure is designed in order to facilitate busy work/lifestyles and to assist participants integrating study into their working lives while enhancing their contribution as a member of the management team.

Assessments and Workload

Participants are assessed on a module-by-module basis through a variety of practical assignments. There are no examinations. Assessment workload is spread across the duration of the programme to enable you to combine learning with work and life demands. The emphasis throughout the programme is on the practical application of knowledge to benefit the participant, their team and their organisation.

In order to accelerate learning, between modules participants are expected to complete assigned reading from texts, cases and articles. All continuous assessment is completed by participants either individually or in groups and this is set out in the study guide for each module. Some modules require pre-coursework in addition to the post-coursework which is set for each taught module.

Course Content

Module 1: Strategy for Breakthrough Sales Performance

  • Examine what holds organisations back from delivering the results they really need to drive growth in their business
  • Examine strong baseline information including financial performance, market and competitor dynamics, customer needs and organisational assessments
  • Analyse the changing strategic demands on the sales and business development function in order to devise appropriate growth strategies
  • Evaluate performance and benchmark versus latest global perspectives

Module 2: Leading and Coaching for Breakthrough Performance

The aim of this module is to help you develop a more sophisticated understanding of leadership, its associated challenges, and an appreciation for a range of tangible leadership practices which you can use in your own work and personal contexts. The focus will be on understanding leadership as a ‘craft’ activity, emphasising the importance of experience, engagement, intuition, and emotional awareness. Moreover, you will be introduced to a range of practical coaching skills that form a crucial part of a good leader’s armoury, and which can be helpful and effective in your own work environments.

Module 3: Creating, Winning and Developing Customers & Clients

This module investigates how firms must develop differentiated products and services, based on sound customer insights and enhance their capability to effectively implement their strategy. It presents a compelling approach that allows suppliers to demonstrate and document superior value compared to the next best alternative from the customer’s perspective.

Module 4: Negotiations – Changing the Game

  • Examine the differences between selling approaches and understanding proactive customer and client development
  • Consider buyer seller relationships in terms of how to identify win-win solutions with potential and existing clients
  • Understand what areas of development are necessary to improve deal movement and selling skills
  • Acquire value-creating negotiation strategies and practice their application

Module 5: Executing High Performance Business Development Operations

This module is aimed at creating an effective organisation that is focused, flexible and operates at pace. Critical to its success are appropriate processes, systems, and, perhaps even more importantly a culture of delivery. In this module, participants will learn to diagnose root causes driving the lack of performance in achieving business goals. It will also position the sales/business development function within the organisation’s overall sales and marketing strategy whilst addressing the components required for designing and managing a highly effective sales/business dev team.

Module 6: Driving Revenue & Profitable Growth through High Performance Talent

  • Develop a robust understanding of why talent development is a key driver of profitable growth
  • Utilise targeted development and succession planning techniques
  • Learn the necessary skills to manage high-potential sales leaders, capitalising on high performance to achieve crucial business goals


Stephen Boyle

Stephen is an experienced trainer and consultant specialising in the field of negotiation, influence, persuasion and communication skills and has fifteen years’ experience in management consulting, corporate communications, strategic planning and change management. Stephen lectures on MBA and MSc...

Andrew Keating

Dr Andrew Keating is an Associate Professor in marketing at the UCD Smurfit School of Business. Andrew earned his PhD in 2008 from UCD and also holds an MBS in Marketing, a DBS in Business, and a BA. His research interests at present are in the areas of the intersection between entrepreneurship (...

John O'Gorman

John works with sales teams, sales managers, account managers and professionals that sell to accelerate sales performance. John's passion is helping sales teams and professionals identify and exploit their hidden sales potential. He is currently working with teams across Europe to raise awarenes...

Yvonne Fagan

Yvonne is an executive coach with over ten years’ experience of coaching in business. Yvonne has extensive experience in developing sales performance, behavioural change and leadership in dynamic environments. Her coaching experience is built on strong commercial experience coupled with a psychol...

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Diploma in High Performance Sales & Business Development at The UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School

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