The Case Study:
After helping our client to improve their competitiveness in the enterprise storage space, a new challenge emerged. The new, more complex campaigns required the sales force to engage in new and different conversations with different kinds of value propositions delivered to more senior people within the customers. This created a huge burden on the efficient delivery of new kinds of product training.
The existing product training at the time was focused on product features and functionality and was not supportive of the new go-to-market strategy. The urgent demands for new behavior from the field sales team made the additional time required to be away from the field to attend product training increasingly burdensome to management.
Having multiple departments involved in developing and implementing product training added to the complexity – redundancy of content and unnecessary training sessions. The content also did not represent the language of the enterprise storage customer.
Historically, all product and solutions training programs were conducted with multiple series of “roadshows” – multi-day sessions where teams of product marketing experts toured the planet presenting these highly technical products to the sales force, leaving behind collections of Powerpoint slides and sales guides. Different teams produced and conducted different roadshows for the direct sales force and the reseller channels, and yet another team delivered the more technical training for the systems engineers.
Early in the process, we assisted the client in developing a full realization of the actual costs of such a training process – opportunity and content development costs, as well as the direct costs associated with this training strategy. The result of the analysis stunned everyone who saw the report.
At JBK, we created a clear framework that allowed the sales force to access product training from anywhere in the world. The framework is a How to Sell Solutions Framework – encompassing core technologies, product and service offerings, customer problems, and the different application environments into which the sales force needs to sell the offering.
Working with the client’s “Subject Matter Experts”, our team built a world-class set of e-learning “how to sell” product training modules that represented the language of the enterprise storage customer. To ensure the sales force received the best-in-breed training, we sorted through all of the product content that was currently being delivered in multiple training sessions. We combined the product and customer value applications piece, redesigned the content in the language of the enterprise storage customer, and delivered it via Web-based training to the sales team.
We also recognized that there were certain aspects of training that still needed to be delivered via the classroom by solution experts – customer solutions integration. The complexity of the challenge integrating multiple product and service solutions in a variety of customer application environments exceeded the current capabilities of the e-learning environment. To address this, we developed a series of instructor-led, case-study based programs that integrated well with the framework of the e-learning training modules, and fully leverage the time and expertise of the marketing subject matter experts that deliver these sessions.
Where e-learning compliance is a common obstacle, our client’s district management team developed creative methods in which they ensured the sales team’s completion and mastery of the training content. Today, compliance and completion rates for the e-learning are approaching that of the old classroom-only model, and the web-based learning modules have been enthusiastically received by the field.
We removed the complexity out of product training by developing content in the language of the customer and a world-class set of e-learning “how to sell” product training modules that resulted in significant improvements in learning and time taken away from the field.
Cost avoidance is a major motivator for a transition to e-learning product training. Today, rather than send multiple teams to deliver training to multiple audiences, the client is able to develop the core content for a product or solution, and then re-purpose the core content for the direct sales force, the reseller sales teams, inclusion as pre-work for new hire programs, and for the front-end of training for the systems engineers. The cost savings associated with this process of re-purposing content alone is impressive.