Effective product training to its salesforce is crucial for any organization’s success and brand value, and this holds true especially for product manufacturing firms. How well a salesforce can deliver the message to existing and prospective customers can make a big difference to its sales figures. But it’s not an easy task, especially when you are constantly innovating and have an extensive range of products, parts and accessories.
A lot of training managers at manufacturing companies typically cite product training as one of their key challenge areas. And this is why:
- Most of the organizations release new products or product updates frequently. Sales representatives keep going on and off the board constantly. It thus becomes a challenge to ensure that they have standardized and up-to-date knowledge on all products at all times.
- A lot of times, salesforce is spread across geographically. Also considering that they are often travelling on sales calls, it is a huge task to gather them in one place to attend trainings. It costs in terms of logistics, time invested in travelling and interruption to their work schedule.
- Considering the number of trainers involved across multiple locations, maintaining consistent and accurate training content becomes difficult.
- Considering multiple product releases and in-turn, their sales collateral, sometimes there is ambiguity on the latest version of such collateral received by the salesforce.
All of this could directly impact a company’s bottom line. In the absence of comprehensive, current and easily accessible product knowledge, the sales person could struggle to deliver a smooth pitch about the product, handle customer questions proficiently, recommend right products, gain customer’s trust and essentially get business.
A training manager had once asked me, “Then how do we train our salesforce effectively?” My answer to her was “Mobile Learning.” This is the best solution for today’s tech-savvy and mobile salesforce. The various benefits for mobile learning are:
- On-the-go learning via smartphone or tablet, convenient with their schedule and pace
- Real-time access to current and relevant product knowledge just before or even during customer meetings –leading to ‘Performance Support through Just in Time Learning Solutions’
- Ability to continuously review completed courses, podcasts and documents
- Complex product specifications, engineering drawings, installation and servicing information made easy through compelling multimedia content
For product manufacturer
- Better trained, successful and motivated salesforce which can even lead to higher retention
- Complete control on the training content across multiple locations
- Boost in training attendance
- Reduced logistics cost such as hotel or travel expenses
- Ability to track training attendance, completion and performance
- Opportunities for increased sales due to strong product knowledge at the point-of-sale
While there will always be a place for instructor-led training for some part of it, mobile learning can greatly impact sales through a well-trained sales force, which will always be on top of their game.
It would be wonderful to know your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments section below.