One of the training programs that Sales people need to take is “Product Training”. There is usually plenty of knowledge to pass on, but all that information may not necessarily be useful to a sales person. So how does one figure out what is relevant and what isn’t, to a sales person while preparing a product training course? How should irrelevant data be weeded out and useful data be presented as crisp content to a sales person? The answer lies in Content Analysis.
Content analysis is the key to the development of any effective training program and product training is no exception. Thus, if you need to create a crisp product training content for your sales force, you first need to do a thorough content analysis. This involves three important steps.
1. Create a content inventory
Before you start creating a training program, you need to take stock of all the available content relevant to the course. For example, for a training program that is meant to inform sales people about a product, first collate all the information that is relevant to the product – information about all the models, versions and different types that your organization manufactures. The information is available in user manuals, product manuals or in detailed references from the product development department. This content inventory will help you get started with creating the content.
Apart from text, visuals in the form of tables, charts, pie diagrams, videos or animations are useful for knowledge retention. These elements help to make the content engaging and interactive for learners. Including these elements helps to enrich your course and should be part of the content inventory.
2. Evaluate the content
Next, evaluate the content keeping in mind the scope and nature of the training. In an article titled, “Toward content quality”, Colleen Jones, Founder and Principal at Content Science gives a few checklists useful for content analysis. She suggests that content be analyzed based on:
- Usefulness and relevance – Is the content relevant and useful for the sales people in selling?
- Clarity and accuracy – Does it have information that a sales person can understand easily? Is the information correct and up to date?
- Completeness & usability – Does it cover all the relevant information that a sales person requires to do his job?
For instance if you are planning to train your sales staff on a particular product, include content that shows its key features, benefits and applications. This will help them showcase the product convincingly, to their prospects. The objective of a product training course for sales force is to help them understand the product well, so that they can sell convincingly to their customers. Therefore, analyze the content keeping this objective in mind.
3. Segregate the content
The final step of content analysis is content segregation and prioritization. Segregate the content based on “need to know” and “nice to know” content. “Need to know” content is something that is absolutely essential to know, while “nice to know” is additional information. This can be learnt at a later stage, once the learner is comfortable with the basic knowledge. Dumping the whole information in one go, on to the learners, will result in ‘cognitive overload’ and may not have the desired impact. For example, if the product that you are talking about is pH meters, it may be very vital for your sales staff to learn about different types of pH meters you offer your customers. However, it may not really be essential for your sales staff to know when the first commercial pH meters were built and by whom. This information can be categorized a ‘nice to know’ and be made available for the more eager learners.
Content analysis is a technique that helps in analyzing the correctness, effectiveness and completeness of a training course. It also helps in filtering out irrelevant content, thereby helping the learner have a good learning experience and enhanced knowledge retention.