A global safety science company with more than 100 years in business continues to grow through acquisitions. Recent growth had been so rapid that it was difficult for the sales organization to keep track of all the new services the company now offers. As a result, the desired synergy from all the acquisitions was not maximized. During sales calls “money was being left on the table” simply because the sales teams didn’t realize the many safety solutions that they could now offer their clients.
The need was identified and approved to create training assets that provide its global sales organization with an awareness of all the services and products now being offered.
Getting from Proof of Concept to Servicing 130 eLearning Modules
The original assignment was to focus on three lines of business and create prototypes of different modalities of learning: podcasts, webinars, eLearning modules, and job aids to determine the most effective modalities for the sales reps.
The assumption was that a variety of modalities would have the greatest chance of reaching the largest audience. It was not known if there were some modalities that were more effective with this audience than others and if some modalities simply wouldn’t resonate with a large enough audience to justify their development.
The problem: While no one disagreed that completing a proof of concept was prudent and probably most cost-effective in the long term, there was enormous business pressure to get the sales organization up to speed as fast as humanly possible. The timeline for the project shrunk to 6 months. TrainSmart was directed to skip the proof of concept phase and go directly to the implementation phase.
TrainSmart has worked with the client for over ten years. The core members of the TrainSmart team are very familiar with the various lines of business, their culture, and their challenges. Since 2005, TrainSmart has worked on special initiatives and developed and delivered leadership workshops for the company. Because of this deep company knowledge, the client was confident that TrainSmart could deliver.
The Challenge: Originally, assigned to work with three lines of business, once word got out about the project, a total of 130 lines of business requested that they be included.
TrainSmart’s business model is based on scalability and strong project management. At one time during the project, over 40 different consultants were working on various aspects of the assignment. The project management team knew the status of every moving part on any given day.
TrainSmart’s strategy was to create a lot of processes and templates. Even the interview questions were based on a template. By asking every SME the exact same questions, TrainSmart was able to look across the service lines and help the client understand where they could take a more integrated approach.
The Complication: Time was not on anyone’s side. While 127 additional business lines were added to the project, the completion date remained the same. The Subject Matter Experts were tasked with providing TrainSmart with the information to create the training. Sometimes this meant that TrainSmart received PowerPoint decks with 100 pages of information. But many of the SMEs were overstretched and over-scheduled and didn’t have time to create the necessary background information.
To alleviate some of the pressure on the SMEs, TrainSmart decided the best way to obtain the necessary information was to interview and record those conversations, at the SMEs’ convenience. That meant some interviews were conducted while the SME was traveling on a train, riding in a car, or returning to a hotel room after a business dinner. And, when the SME was located on a different continent, the TrainSmart team always worked in their time zone, often getting up in the middle of the night to conduct these background interviews.
Given that the sales reps had a limited amount of time to absorb the new information, the learning strategy was to take a micro-learning approach of DO, KNOW, SAY. The learning solutions were short, quick, and easy. eLearning was 15 minutes or less. Podcasts were limited to five minutes. Instead of training the sales reps on how to sell the new products, this training was designed to help them identify if an existing client might benefit from one of the client’s acquired service offerings. In other words, this training focused on teaching the sales reps what to listen for in order to suggest that a colleague talks to them about the opportunity.
“The TrainSmart team created hundreds of learning assets. They talked to hundreds of SMEs and they reviewed a massive number of PowerPoint decks – many were as many as 300 slides. The project worked because the TrainSmart team took a modern approach to learn, offering a blended learning solution that was useful to our organization. They had the ability to review massive PowerPoint decks and laser focus on the key points that would help our sales organization understand a new product line and how they could deliver additional solutions to existing customers. For one of the new product lines, it was reported that sales increased over 2000% after the training was launched.” Director, Health Sciences and Safety