Even though you have an outstanding sales force and extraordinary marketing team, without effectively training your sales team, your new product launch may not be successful. So, for a successful launch, especially for B2B organizations, product training should be initiated long before the launch stage of the product. Organizations should involve the sales team from the beginning of the product development life cycle; give them hands-on experience, and conduct classroom training sessions with self-paced online learning modules during the launch phase of the product.
This could help set a perfect platform for the successful launch. But all said and done, if the new product knowledge is not reinforced after formal training, your efforts may go in vain.
How to Reinforce?
Research says about 80% of learning is lost within 30 days of formal training programs. Thus periodic reinforcement is necessary.
But taking time out of the busy schedules of your sales reps to reinforce new product knowledge is challenging. Concentrating on the existing products and simultaneously remembering new product knowledge is difficult for them. So product training managers can follow some smart performance support techniques to overcome these challenges. They include:
1. Product Training Mobile Apps
Develop mobile apps that provide key information about the product. These apps should be designed to support the reinforcement of classroom training or eLearning, rather than creating a learning experience. They should facilitate quick feedback and collaboration among peers. Make them available offline so that your sales employees can get access to product knowledge content even in areas with no network connectivity.
2. Interactive Q&A Online Assessments
Create various sales scenario-based assessments. The answers should highlight the key features and benefits of the product. Provide a collaborative platform where learners can interact and post their answers. Training managers can guide and facilitate such discussions. Validate this user-generated content and refine your assessment strategy. Also, reward the learners or use leaderboards in the LMS to encourage active participation in discussions and excellent, answers backed by experience to the scenario-based questions.
3. Short Product Videos
To reinforce the working processes or operational knowledge of the product, you can use augmented reality videos supported with animated line drawings. Augmented reality videos can show the live working or the operational process of the product with a guide or an instructor explaining the process. These videos, ably supported by simple line drawings, can help your learners understand the product working process easily. The videos should not be more than 90 seconds.
4. Microlearning Modules
Another effective way to reinforce product training is through microlearning modules. Develop short, self-paced online learning courses that are compatible with mobile devices with an average duration of 4 minutes. Identify the key content from the training curriculum, set one performance objective for each module, assess the learning, and give relevant feedback. Deliver it using the LMS and track the learning.
5. Real Time Performance Analysis
Train sales managers on how to coach sales reps on-the-job about the new product. After the launch, request real time performance data of the sales reps from the sales managers. Identify the situations where the sales reps found it difficult to answer the questions posed by customers on the new products. Use technology to collect data from different departments and territories and analyse it with help of the product development team. Refine your training material accordingly to reinforce training effectively.
After the launch, include the success stories of sales people who were successful in selling the new product effectively and swiftly in your training reinforcement strategy. Encourage, motivate and celebrate the success of the sales people regularly.
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