Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2014 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
Best Methods for Product-Based Training
When it comes to launching a new product, the learning function should do more than develop training. It should be involved in strategic planning from the very beginning.
As soon as the salesperson initiates conversation with a potential customer, the clock starts ticking. The representative has seconds to capture the customer’s attention and interest. In a competitive environment such as this, salespeople try to distinguish their products in a world of choices, while working within the constraints of time.
To make a successful sale, the rep not only needs to have excellent selling skills, but also needs to know the product inside and out. One of the most effective ways to obtain that depth of knowledge is through training. But how do you train a sales force that is field based, geographically dispersed and time starved? The best way is through a blended learning initiative that reaches a sales force in the field, but also takes the time to bring the employees in for interactive, face-to-face training.
Sophisticated Training for Sophisticated Products
With complicated products, the training becomes more complex — not only because sales representatives have to understand the intricate nature of the product, but also because they need to understand how that product fits into the marketplace.
At Steelcase, an international office furniture manufacturer, a sale can take as long as 12 to 18 months. The company’s 2,300 North American sales reps and distributors have to understand where the customer is in the buying process, how that aligns with the com-pany’s sales methodology and, eventually, the best product fit for that customer.
“Part of our process is understanding how the client is working,” said Ken Dutkiewicz, director of global learning and development for Steelcase University. “For instance, in a legal firm, you might have a situation where you have a lot of partners who are working in their own private offices. On the other hand, you go into a marketing firm, and you’re probably looking at people who are working together. Putting them into private spaces would actually be counterproductive to the way they work. So we have to understand what’s going on in the company, and our line has to be broad enough to be able to meet those various needs.”
5 Learning Strategy Essentials for 2014
April 22nd 2:00pm - 3:00pm ET
2014 CLO Breakfast Club, Philadelphia
May 1st - 1st, 2014Hyatt at The Bellevue
Fall 2014 CLO Symposium
October 6th - 8th, 2014Park Hyatt Aviara
From the Network
Twitter UpdatesTweets by @CLOmedia