Finding an eLearning vendor who can take care of your product training needs is a task in itself, because when you begin to explore the eLearning market, you will find dozens who will claim to know just what you need, but just a handful really know what you need and how to deliver it. In this scenario, how can you identify genuine, experienced learning partners?
First, let’s identify what I mean by Product Sales Training. It is training your existing sales force and new inductees to become experts on every facet of every product you now sell, and future products. In essence, Product Sales Training is the transfer of existing product knowledge to your sales team. It is not Sales Training, and can be termed Product Knowledge Training.
A Product Sales Training program may be standalone, or part of a bigger system in your organization, but the aim of this module must be to:
- Improve efficiencies
- Reduce costs
- Increase flexibility
- Aid better information retention
- Provide training and full product information anytime, anywhere
If you already have an eLearning vendor for product sales training, does his training provide all of the above? Rethink your vendor if the above needs are not met.
When looking for prospective vendors, the first information you glean is very important – and while information about what they do and how they do it fills their brochures and websites, here is what you must really look for:
- Background in learning
- Presence of Subject Matter Experts in various domains
- Advantages over competition
- Weaknesses and counter arguments
- Delivery lead times
In selecting a vendor, there are common questions to be asked about their track record in selling product sales training modules. In fact, these questions must be asked when buying any module, let alone a product sales training module:
- Are they an experienced company with a proven track record in imparting successful training programs?
- Do they have the resources to cope with the job?
- Do they regularly work with organizations of your size?
- Have they always delivered on time?
Additional questions in relation to Product Sales Training would be:
Have they worked for your industry before? This is vitally important, as you do not want to be the guinea pig they will learn on.
What are they proposing? It is a bad sign if they are solely going to convert existing information and manuals. They should propose contemporary learning solutions backed by sound instructional design strategies based on the subject matter and audience. Have they experts who know your industry? This is a must, and you must not take their word for it. Ask their people who will deal with you, to spend some time talking to your people to know for sure.
Is there an empathy between your personnel and theirs? Your vendor’s personnel will spend quite a lot of time with your team discussing, developing, and testing, so it is vital that there is a good working relationship and a willingness to work through problems.
Stay clear about your product training needs, and you will stay focused and won’t get carried away by freebie offers and frills that won’t add value. Sift through the false promises, the uncalled for over enthusiasm, and the unproven track records; and soon you will be left with just the vendors who mean business and who will be able to satisfy your product sales training needs.