Almost every organization, which has a product to sell, understands the need for product training. You may have user manuals, technical documents and data sheets, which describe the products in detail. However, these are not sufficient for sales people, in order to sell the products. Knowing the product and being able to describe its benefits and value to customers, is a critical capability for any sales force. Without a firm grasp of your product, your salespeople will not be able to guide or influence, the buying decisions of your customers. Therefore, they need a well-developed, comprehensive product training, which helps them do their job better.
Why eLearning to deliver product training?
Due to increasing number of products and reduced product cycles, sales people need to keep themselves informed about their products, on a continual basis. Traditional product training programs, in a classroom environment, may not always be feasible. Therefore, an increasing number of organizations are using eLearning to train their sales people on products.
So, what do sales people expect from online product training? Sales people are target oriented people and would appreciate training that supports them in their goals. When product training is delivered online, the content can be made more current and relevant to sales people, based on changing market environment. The key is to share regular information, in small bite-sized modules, which can be accessed through multiple-devices such as PCs, laptops or mobile devices.
To be more precise, here’s what they expect from the training:
Get a general knowledge of products and their features, with particular emphasis on their USPs.
Sales people should be able to pin point the correct product, from among the product line, based on the customer’s requirement i.e. the product that best meets the customer’s requirement. With good visualization and graphics, sales people can be given an orientation, on the company’s product line and the profiles of their prospects.
Receive comprehensive, consistent and professional training, which includes product installation, configuration or operation.
Sales people need to be able to address customer queries confidently. Initial queries are usually about product installation, configuration and general operation; therefore, sales personnel need to get a thorough understanding of the same. Online demos, videos or animations can be effectively used to address these issues.
Obtain a conceptual background and understand the overall place of the product in the enterprise-wide process.
Customers today are savvy and well-informed about the available products in the market. They would have already done their homework online about products, prices and various offers available at their disposal. Therefore, sales people need to be constantly updated about changing market dynamics – new product launches, competition information etc. Product training for sales people therefore, cannot be a single event, but an ongoing process.
Have current and accurate market information.
What is the product that the competition has launched, to counter your model? What is the price structure of the competition, how does your price structure vary from theirs and why? These are some of the questions that customers are bound to ask sales people. It is important to understand the on-field realities and incorporate them into training, only then will the training be effective. This also ensures sales people avoid blunders due to ignorance, or by communicating wrong information.
Be able to sell solutions to customers rather than product features.
One of the main goals of product training for sales people should be to train salespeople, on how to translate product features into benefits for customers. This is the difference between training your sales people to sell products, as opposed to training them to sell solutions.
If you are a sales person, what do you expect from an online product training program? Do you agree with the points made above? Do share your thoughts on how online product training be made beneficial to sales people?