Traditionally, sales organizations launched new products at massive sales events. Expensive, onsite events. Lots of travel, time out of the field and lots of easily forgettable brouhaha about new products. This format, while exciting at the time, left many holes in training effectiveness: products change rapidly, new products are formed more than once a year, a single training event does not produce long-term effects. Fortunately, multimodal learning has replaced the single event. While many companies may still have a large annual sales event, the actual learning may be delivered in many ways, continuously over time. All good changes that contribute to better retention, faster time to market and true just-in-time access.
We had a client in the Medical Device manufacturing industry who had a complex set of challenges. Their sales teams were distributors, not company employees. They asked them to attend product classroom sessions conducted by product subject matter experts. Sometimes, they had great attendance, other times, not so much. And, the training varied between facilitators in spite of best efforts otherwise. But the biggest challenge was the lag between the introduction of new products and getting a fully trained sales force.
Now, we all knew that adding an online multimodal learning program would alleviate most of these concerns. But, the client was concerned about creating custom eLearning that was as effective as the classroom option. They had several hands-on exercises that helped explain the product and they were uncertain that experience could be accomplished in a multimodal learning format. Well, not only did KMI Learning create simulations of these exercises but added additional features to enhance the learning and retention. We also offered a gamification option where sales reps could compete for higher scores and awards. Now, sales reps could take the training whenever it was convenient or necessary for them. The client could see how the learners performed through testing and assessments and could roll-out new product training much more quickly.
So, that covered the product training but what the skills needed to sell the product? Sure, understanding the product is a necessary first step in selling that product, but it is not enough. How does that product stand up against competing products, what are your prospects’ pain points, how does your product address those pain points? Obviously, sales skills training is essential to arm your sales teams with the appropriate knowledge to answer these questions.
So in collaboration with our client, we created an entire series of courses to align sales positioning skills with each product. These skills modules shared competitive information, common client objections, and solutions to these objections. Multimodal learning provided a unique opportunity for sales reps to “practice” best behaviors without damaging any relationships. Simulations of real-life situations were safely and realistically demonstrated and the sales rep employed the skills learned within these simulations. Practice truly makes perfect.
Let KMI Learning help your sales teams become perfect, too.