In business, you are not just selling a product, you are also selling an experience that promises a long-term, confident relationship with your customer. And your sales team can make it happen. So, it’s important that they are well acquainted with the features and functionalities of your offerings.
A comprehensive online product knowledge training provides an in-depth understanding of your products to the employees in a much more engaging manner. According to Dillard’s, spending one hour on product training can increase the overall sales of an individual sales associate by 5 percent.
Why should you do your Product Knowledge Training online?
Online product knowledge training is gaining popularity by the day and here’s why:
An intensive training program takes 33.5 hours per employee. This needs a reasonable amount of effort, time and money from your end. Additionally, sometimes existing employees with an already busy to-do list are expected to assume a mentorship role for new hires.
The good thing about conducting a product knowledge training online is that you have documentation of everything your employees need to know. For example, when a new employee joins, they’d immediately receive an email that takes them to the online training. Here, they can learn more about your brand philosophy, business model, products, and performance expectations before. You can now automate your onboarding workflow by repeating this process with any new sales team joinees.
Easy access to information
Based on their skill set, the training program will allow your team members to navigate through the sections in the course they are interested in. They can also learn at their own pace without having to be dependent on another person’s availability.
Lower overhead costs
The State of Industry report of 2016 shows that the average training cost per employee is $1, 252. This training cost can be spent on growing the business instead of investing in training equipment/materials and paying the experts for their time.
With online training, you can save both time and money. While you make your business easy to run you also enjoy a high return on investment.
A new feature in your product that you must inform your team about? Add a quick video explaining the new feature at any point to your existing module and you are through. You create a course once and roll it out to as many employees as you want. It reaches every team member, across countries, and beyond to any time-zone just in one go.
How to create an Online Product Knowledge Training module?
Step 1: Define your Target Audience
Before getting to business, your team needs to know answers to the questions like, who is your product made for? How does it solve the customer’s problem or help them and what are their expectations from the product? Based on the answers to these questions, your sales team will better understand the consumers. They’d then accordingly plan and share a promising customer experience.
You have spent a considerable amount of time and money finishing a fantastic product but that is just the beginning. Find out what makes your product appealing to people, decide on a target audience and familiarize your employees with every possible aspect of your product.
To share your research on your target audience, a simple presentation or even a recorded Zoom conversation from someone from the senior management should suffice. It should highlight who is an ideal customer for the product. Along with that, include key attributes that’ll help any sales team member in identifying the target audience.
Step 2: Outline Customers Pain-Points
Customers buy products for various reasons and it is necessary to realise the requirement for any product before you introduce it to your customers. Highlight the specific customer problems you are trying to solve in your module for your team to know. In a broader sense, here are some common customer pain-points that your sales team should be able to address:
Often customers get convinced to buy a product/service that makes a task convenient for them. Or even help them become effective or productive at something. For example, Nescafe recently launched an app-enabled coffee maker called Nescafe E. It has made making coffee easier and convenient for people and that’s a pain-point the Nescafe team can address while pitching.
Money is another pain-point for your customers. If you have a competitor offering similar features as your product/service to your customers at a higher price, you have a good pain-point to pitch. You can tell your customers that you have a similar product for them which costs less and benefits more. Maybe you can pitch a benefit like the five-star rated air conditioners or fridges offer. Guaranteed less usage of electricity and therefore saving money on electricity bills.
A lot of customers after buying a product don’t find adequate support or enough assistance from the company. For example, a customer bought a new home theatre but does not know how to install it and fails to get help from the company too. This leaves a bad brand reputation.
To have these customer pain points in your module, you can include customer feedback or market research on different pain points through a video or merely using a presentation on that.
Step 3: Market Research
One of the essentials under product knowledge is market research. Market research helps the implementation & framing of marketing strategies. It provides relevant information about the market, product or service and about past, present and potential customers. It helps in creating a product identity or service that makes it unique from those of its competitors.
The results of the research helps you understand the demands of your customers and identify more business opportunities. With your course this information can reach to each and every employee.
To enhance the training experience a compilation of all the research in the form of a PDF will not only be effective but also convenient for anyone and everyone to use.
Step 4: Introduce your Brand Philosophy and Product Purpose
Another main question that your training program is required to answer is your plans for your customers because every customer wants to know your long term vision in solving their pain points & what wonders can your product do to help them.
What does your brand stand for and how did your product come into being is something your employee should know so that the same can be shared with your customers. And for your team to do it efficiently, you can provide a brand book or company’s website link including your brand philosophy, the purpose of the product to reinforce what your organization stands strong for. Your brand guidelines will inspire your existing team and excite your new recruits, as well.
Step 5: Outline in-depth USPs for each Product
Here comes the most important part of your training program. Imagine selling your product to a customer and not being able to answer their questions like, how to use a specific product or what all features it has. The selling point of your product is not just your brand but mainly what your product can do.
In your module, highlight both the basic features & functionalities of your product, along with the unique selling points that your product holds in comparison to your competitors. Also, include the product features that you are planning to introduce in the future.
The information for your team & your customers is likely to differ. A lot of internal product elements are better for your team’s understanding but not necessarily for your customers. The elements need to be included in the selling process since the idea is to make features sound like benefits. So clarity on what information is meant for your team and what’s for your customers should be highlighted
And how can you make this section easy for your sales team to understand? A screencast video is your answer. The video should explain each product and its features by visual navigating through the product itself will help your team retain in-depth USPs for every product. For instance, to explain different features of Trello, a screencast video of using Trello, making a board, a card, and adding different functions to the card should suffice.
Step 6: Provide Opportunities for practice
You can check your team’s progress and test their knowledge retention by quizzes or questionnaires. A quiz on every product after every lesson/chapter, will give your employees an opportunity to judge their progress. And their progress will also give you an understanding on how you can improve your courses.
A role-play based quiz could help create a more active environment for the sales team. For example, if the customer admits to facing an X pain point, what product do you recommend to them? If a customer is already using a product similar to yours, what product features will change their mind?
FAQs about the products can be converted into quizzes to help the team draw a better understanding of the product and know the right answers to customer queries. Using Siminars it is very handy to create quizzes and add questions for your team to answer.
Improving Your Product Knowledge Training
One of the best ways to improve your training program is by gamification of learning and offering some incentives. This will keep your sales team motivated during their training process and benefit your business as a result. For example, organizations like Microsoft and AWS have certifications that developers and engineers can obtain to prove their competence in that software.
Your employees acknowledge your investment in them and feel valued. A reward-based training process can foster long-lasting motivation in your team.
You can include badges at every step of the training to imply how close they are to completing the course. In team meetings, use positive reinforcement by recognizing people who have successfully completed your training program to encourage more people to follow suit.
Product knowledge training online improves sales, encourages your customers to trust your company, amplifies your team’s confidence, and ultimately, drives business growth. We hope the above tips help you formulate a long term strategy for online employee training. Many organizations are adapting to this training process, and with Siminars you can easily create your first training program which aligns perfectly with your business goals. And be assured, all the features, media formats, and gamification options that we talked about are available on Siminars for you to quickly prepare your training module. So, start right away!