Product knowledge training requires developers to make a careful analysis of the learning objectives that they need to achieve with training. Courses will have to be based on the skills that learners need to develop to attain those objectives. Here are simple do’s that developers of product knowledge training for sales people need to keep in mind to make their training successful.
Identify and understand your learner’s needs: It is important to understand the purpose of training. Is it to give a quick overview of a new product launched or is it to help sales people improve their productivity by increasing sales and develop content based on the learning objective. It also depends on who the learner is – Is he a front line sales person directly dealing with customers or is he a sales manager leading a team of front line sales persons? Learning requirements would depend on the profile of learners.
Involve all stakeholders while developing the content: It is good practice to involve all the stakeholders directly involved with the learning program. It could be a sales manager, product manager or training manager. All of them need to provide key inputs that go into learning modules from their individual perspectives. Ultimately, sales people should get a clear picture of the key benefits they are going to get from the training program.
Focus on application of knowledge: Identify the sales situations in which product knowledge is beneficial and use the scenarios in the learning program. This makes learning interesting and engaging to learners. Since it is easy for them to identify with real-life scenarios, they understand the concept better and learning becomes more effective.
Design short learning modules: Sales people are busy chasing deadlines. So, create eLearning courses by dividing them into short modules so that sales people can access them independently. If there are several products in a product line that need to be covered, cover each product in a separate module. Similarly, if there are several features to be explained in a particular product, create a separate module for each feature. This will enable sales people to access the courses when they have some free time between client meets or while waiting to board a flight.
Ensure product information can be updated easily: Information about products could change periodically. New features might be added or there may be changes in the prices. Make it easy to update product information without having to redesign the entire course.
A course in product training will be effective if it is successful in guiding learners to obtain the knowledge and skills essential to attain their job goals. In the next part of this series, we will see what developers should avoid when developing product-training modules for sales people. Meanwhile, please feel free to share your ideas and views on the topic with me.