How can you ensure the active participation of your people in product sales training programs? What does it take to deliver product knowledge to your sales staff in a very effective manner? Well, you need to apply action learning principles.
But, what are action learning principles?
According to Irwin L Goldstein and J Kevin Ford, action learning principles ensure that people reflect, experiment, and learn from experiences which have implications on team performance. Marquardt (1999) identified six action learning principles. They are:
- Focusing on an important challenge that a team needs to overcome
- Forming a group of experts to tackle the problem from multiple perspectives
- Ensuring that the team adopts a problem-solving approach to identify the root cause of the problem
- Empowering the team to implement the solution to the problem
- Making sure that the team is committed to learning throughout the process of problem-solving
- Appointing a facilitator to help the team balance the tasks of problem-solving and learning.
OK. How can these principles be applied to product sales training?
Identify a problem faced by your people in selling your product
It is well-known that salespersons need to explain how their products would benefit the customer. In other words, they need to convey the value of the product. You need to identify the problem faced by your sales staff members in convincing the customer that the product is useful.
Create a core group of product training stakeholders
After identifying the issue, you need to form a group of product training stakeholders. The stakeholders need to represent various departments such as sales, marketing, product design, and customer service. Each of these team members brings in their thoughts about providing the best value to the customer, and this helps analyze the problem from various perspectives.
See that the team follows a data-driven approach
Proper utilization of data goes a long way in formulating an effective problem-solving approach. Therefore, make sure that the team utilizes the available sales data to “dig into” the problem and identify its root cause.
Provide the team the authority to take corrective action
Mere formation of the core group would not lead to resolution of the problem. You need to see that the team is vested with the authority to initiate corrective action and implement the solution to the problem, based on its findings.
Ensure that the team does not get “lost” in finding a solution
There is a danger of your core team focusing only on finding ways to improve the sales of your product and ignoring the learning dimension. Therefore, you need to see that the team reflects on its experiences and documents the lessons learned.
Utilize the services of an experienced person to “coordinate” the learning and problem solving efforts
Appoint a facilitator to assist the core group reflect on how its members exchange ideas and information with each other. The facilitator also helps the group analyze how the process is following its plan. Marquardt also believes that the facilitator can help the members understand how their assumptions
about the problem are affecting the action plans to overcome it. This helps ensure that the plans are moving in the right direction.
Thus, you can apply action learning principles to product sales training and provide result-oriented product sales training. Hope you liked the post. Do share your views.