We are delighted to announce that Flame Learning has received a Bronze award in the ‘Best Program for Sales Training & Performance’ category, at the recent HCM Excellence Awards.

We are honored to receive this much coveted award from leading independent research and analyst firm Brandon Hall Group, and are thrilled to be recognized for this collaborative effort with our client Elavon (a subsidiary of U.S. Bank).

Among hundreds of contenders worldwide, it is truly a privilege to be recognized by such a prestigious association. We find ourselves sitting alongside an impressive alumni across our industry that we greatly admire and respect.

How were entries evaluated?

The category’s judging process was based on the following criteria: 

Fit to the NeedsThis sales training and performance program aligned to the business/organization needs and situation.
Design of the ProgramThis design of the sales training and performance program effectively and efficiently supports the business objectives.
Delivery of the ProgramThis delivery of the sales training and performance program is in a manner that positively influenced the business/organizational goals and learning results.
Measurable BenefitsThis sales training and performance program produces measurable benefits and outcomes.
OverallOverall, this sales training and performance program demonstrates a positive impact on the organization.

What is the Altitude Program?

Altitude is Elavon’s new flagship Sales Methodology program, a 6-month digital learning experience developed for Elavon’s North America sales community. To date, over 1,000 participants have participated in the program. The Altitude program has transformed Elavon’s sales organization and has produced measurable and sustainable business results.

What was special about Altitude?

Altitude is a comprehensive digital sales methodology program. Covering the key fundamentals of selling, it incorporated a blended learning journey that could be completed at a participant’s own pace, via a digital platform.


Participation was mandatory at all levels within Elavon’s North American sales community, with different versions of the program accessible depending on the role in the sales community. Coaching was a critical component, with Managers, Leaders and Executives receiving additional support to enable them to better support their teams through the process and more specifically conduct formal checkpoints with direct reports.

Key principles and approaches were imparted on a self-paced basis, and followed up with completion of relevant tools specific for real-life customers or partners. Participants were also required to collaborate either as a team or with their line managers via a number of different activities, in order to demonstrate understanding and application.

Digital Experience

The digital experience was a critical component of Altitude. Not only did it guide participants through program activities in a timely manner, but it was instrumental in establishing a truly digital community. Platform functionality also encouraged accountability, allowing line managers to view individual progress of their direct reports. Reporting was also generated that fed into dashboards and leaderboards which added to the accountability of program participants.


A key driver of the success of the Altitude is the engagement at all levels of Elavon’s North America Sales organization.

Elavon adopted a unique engagement strategy as part of its program design, launching Altitude with a visual identity to ensure it wasn’t seen as “just another Sales Training.” To generate excitement ahead of the launch, Elavon shipped out marketing kits, including Altitude Adventure Guides, giving participants a sneak peek of the Program and Summit Charts with badging stickers to track and share progress remotely through inspirational posters, among other items.   Early on, creating curiosity and excitement around the program was critical to the program’s success.  

To maximize a sense of community, connectivity, and engagement, and to further support a collaborative focus, the Program also included:

  • All participants attending virtual Kick-off and Wrap Up sessions at the start and end of each module, hosted by Flame Learning.
  • Individuals identified across the organization to act as champions of the Altitude Program throughout their respective teams/channel.
  • Buddies set up within teams to provide peer-to-peer support and mentoring.
  • Video recorded interviews – to promote the Altitude Program internally, showcasing best practices, peak performers, and key accomplishments across the sales organization.
  • Bi-weekly best practice clinics on specific Altitude topics.
  • Gamification Challenges – to encourage teams to work together and be the first to complete certification for a specific Peak.

The program culminated in a live virtual Oscars-style ceremony that celebrated participation at every level and channel within the organization.


Fostering recognition was also a key component of the program. Elavon identified Peak Performers – participants who demonstrated exceptional business results using the Altitude principles. These Peak Performers were regularly recognized as part of Executive Global Town Hall Meetings by the President of North America as well as Elavon’s CEO.

Process Alignment

To capitalize on the success of the Altitude Program, Elavon updated its entire deal review process to reflect key Altitude concepts. In addition, they developed a new and improved strategic framework template featuring tools from the Program, to be completed for all large/strategic opportunities presented to senior leaders for approval across the organization. The new framework is now a mandatory process and further training & guidance was provided to all relevant stakeholders across the business, including the CEO. There are also plans to refresh other processes to align with the Altitude tools, concepts, and approaches.


While the individual components of the program contribute significantly to the program’s success, we firmly believe that the magic formula was further compounded by our unique collaboration with Elavon.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with collaborative clients like Elavon who walked the talk around investing in their sales community’s development”
– Dan Kleinman, Managing Director, Flame Learning

Early on in the process, we spent time digging deep and wide, to clearly understand Elavon’s wider business goals and desired outcomes to ensure our solution hit the mark. Through engaging with their senior executives, we were able to better understand specific channel needs. Then as we built the program, we sought to gather specific inputs on roles and teams by working with a number of subject matter experts (SMEs) from across the business.

Senior executives were involved at regular intervals in the design process, making it far easy for them to communicate and champion when it came to launching the program across their specific channels. Similarly,  SMEs who had been involved throughout the design process and were well placed to champion the program went on to play a fundamental role in the rollout of the program by becoming champions.

We worked closely with Elavon’s Education & Engagement team throughout to design, develop and rollout a program that not only met Elavon’s business needs but also fostered a true community across their salesforce. We hosted weekly operational meetings with the wider team where all bases were covered – from planning to program content,  digital platform requirements, reporting, program branding and communications planning and more. We also ran regular working sessions with the Senior Director of Digital Learning to provide the necessary (and extensive) inputs required for the digital platform and supported the program build every step of the way.

Then, once the program was fully launched, we facilitated the development of internal case studies to showcase internally the impact that the program was having on some of their most prominent accounts.

“Partnering with Flame Learning has been phenomenal! Our organization has achieved tremendous success since our partnership and collaborative effort on our award-winning flagship sales methodology program, “Altitude”.

The collaboration, co-operation and coordination with Flame Learning yielded tremendous revenue results and great success for our teams. We really want to thank Flame Learning for all your assistance in relation to learning and education which actually made our work even easier for us.

We would like to express our gratitude to you for all the support that you and also your colleagues gave us. Thanks a lot for being such an amazing business partner and we look forward to working together on future projects.” – Tamisha Cosby (AVP, Senior Director for Digital Learning, Elavon)

Impact of the Altitude Program

The Altitude program has transformed Elavon’s sales organization and has produced measurable and sustainable business results. The program demonstrated the glaring need for continued investment in ongoing skills development, not just in restricted environments, such as COVID. Outcomes of the program included significant ROI and increased employee engagement.  It also demonstrated the importance of leadership participation, engagement, and sponsorship and their contribution to the program’s overall success. Learning, like all other imperative business initiatives, starts from the top.

Altitude has radically transformed the way Elavon North America (NA) goes to market. It was not implemented as a standalone sales training program – it has been fully embedded into the language, culture, processes, and overall DNA of the Elavon North America Sales organization. As a result, Elavon continues to measure the extent of the impact and ROI of its flagship sales program.

Altitude has been built into Elavon NA’s onboarding processes and will be mandatory for all new hires following induction. Following its success, Elavon is exploring rolling Altitude out across other territories and within its partner organizations.

How does it feel to win this award?

Winning a Brandon Hall Group award has been fulfilling in many ways. We are so proud of our Altitude program, and the success it continues to generate within Elavon’s NA Sales organization. They have been a fantastic client and co-collaborator. Not only were they great to work with, but they gave us the ultimate praise by submitting the application for this award. To deliver the program, we worked relentlessly over a 12 month period, through the backdrop of covid, multiple lockdowns (and even homeschooling). The application alone was such fantastic recognition and made all the hard work so very worthwhile.

To then receive the news that our program had successfully received the Bronze HCM Excellence Award for ‘Best Program for Sales Training and Performance’ has been the proverbial icing on the cake. And since receiving this award, we have received an overwhelming outpouring of love and support from our networks far and wide, new and old.

We thank you for your kind words and good wishes.

If you would like to understand more about the Altitude program, get in touch!