Many a time, different teams such as marketing, sales, and customer service bring in their own ideas to product training programs. The product training manager needs to “reconcile” the views of all these teams to develop a good training program. Today, we will look at a few very useful tips needed to take the various teams along.
Tip 1: See that you have a good knowledge of the learning needs of your people and customers
Product training managers, who gain the trust of stakeholders, usually find it easy to have their way. But, how do you gain the trust of the learners? Well, you need to know the learning needs of your staff and the requirements of your customers in and out. For instance, the product training manager of a mobile device manufacturer needs to know what his sales people require to convince the customer to buy his firm’s latest smartphone – buyer persona, the ways in which customers use the product, potential objections from customers, features and “weaknesses” of competitors’ products. People value the point you make when they realize that you are highly knowledgeable, and this goes a long way in convincing them.
Tip 2: Spend time to know what they think works best and why
Once you gain the trust of your people, spend time with them to know their ideas. Try to know why and how they would work. Be open, and don’t hesitate to ask questions whenever you are in doubt. Stakeholders, who understand that you are making a sincere attempt to incorporate their views, are likely to be more receptive. Staying on with the example of the mobile device manufacturer, the product manager needs to give a patient hearing to customer service personnel when they list the problems faced using earlier products of the company. This would help him ensure that the issues can be avoided in the latest smartphone.
Tip 3: See that you meet the teams before formulating the product training plan
See that you hold discussions with the stakeholders prior to the creation of the product training plan. This gives them an impression that you are trying to take their views into consideration. This is very useful to secure their co-operation. For example, a product training manger of an automobile company meets people from the sales department before the creation of the product training plan for his organization’s new SUV. This will send the right signals as the sales teams will be satisfied that their concerns have been accommodated in the training program.
Tip 4: Let the discussion be driven by statistics and facts than personal opinions
Do not let your personal opinions and biases cloud the discussion with stakeholders. Always make it a point to support your argument with relevant facts and figures. Most stakeholders are willing to accept well-reasoned explanations. After all, everyone is trying to further the interests of the company. Isn’t it? For instance, the product training manager of a life insurance company wants to provide geo-location enabled smart phones to sales persons to provide just-in-time (JIT) support. He can present a report released by an eminent research firm which reveals how buyers are convinced better when they know that their neighbors have bought the same product.
Tip 5: Try to build a collaborative relationship with stakeholders
Keep stakeholders in the loop and ask them what they think about your new ideas. It’s a good idea to meet the stakeholders individually to know their thoughts. People tend to be more open and accepting in one-on-one discussions, and these discussions help you build better rapport with them.
Thus, you can deal with the stakeholders of product training effectively. Hope you find this post useful. Do share your views.