SAGE’s Commercial Sales Division Overcomes Successive Years of Decline to Grow 20% YOY

Client: SAGE Publishing
Industry: Publishing
Services: Assessments, Productivity Training


SAGE Publishing is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and library products for academic, educational, and professional markets. Founded in 1965, the company publishes over 1,000 journals and more than 900 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas.

After missing its annual target and on the way to an even bigger miss the following year, SAGE took action.

Upon examining CRM data, SAGE discovered that its sellers were spending too much time with each customer and that sales activity was on the decline.

"We needed to revisit the fundamentals of productivity and learn how to spend time more efficiently," shared Nicole Louderback, Director of Commercial Sales at SAGE.


SAGE engaged RAIN Group to deliver its Extreme Productivity Challenge (XPC) to help sellers and sales managers maximize motivation, take control of their time, and achieve peak performance.

RAIN Group:

    • Analyzed participants using the Extreme Productivity Assessment to pinpoint the best areas for driving increased productivity and results
    • Delivered a 1-day Extreme Productivity Challenge workshop to sellers and sales managers covering productivity habits
    • Introduced participants to a productivity planner outlining exactly how to set goals and action plans, stop bad habits and start good ones, utilize a proven 5-step morning routine, start each day with their greatest impact activity, and more
    • Enrolled participants in Extreme Productivity online training and RAIN MailSM scenario emails to reinforce training content
    • Trained SAGE sales managers in the proprietary XPC coaching process so they could work with participants to ensure behavior change and hold sellers accountable to their plans



Once the training concluded, leadership discovered a significant improvement in how time was managed and an uptick in sales activity. The goals—not missing target, increasing revenues, and learning to be more productive—were met. Metrics included:

  • Tracking at 5% ahead of sales target and 20% ahead of prior year. The two previous years, SAGE averaged a decline of 10% YOY, making 20% ahead a significant achievement.
  • Customer outreach increased by 31%.


"[The Extreme Productivity Challenge] isn’t something that’s sales specific, but it’s important to sales success. XPC was the best sales training we’ve ever had. You can see the team implementing it. You can see the behavior changes. The training was very out of the box. An extra bonus is that this training doesn’t just impact work lives, but also personal lives."

- Nicole Louderback, Director of Commercial Sales, SAGE Publishing

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