Sales is about more than creating a superior product. It also involves capturing the mind share of the distributors and salespeople who present your product to the end user. When properly educated, the members of your sales channel interact confidently with buyers, answering questions and upselling product features. When misinformed or uneducated, these individuals may present the wrong facts to prospective buyers or default to promoting dated products of which they have deeper knowledge.
It’s imperative that you build, distribute and deploy a unified training system within your organization and beyond in order to promote product knowledge education. Trusting your sales channels to initiate their own product training creates a series of problems.
When customers see a new product at a branch, in a store or in a catalog, they want to know more about it. The introduction of a new product typically generates demand and that gives manufacturers and distributors the initial motivation to equip its sales reps with the product knowledge needed to effectively sell.
If your company is unable to provide training, individuals within your channels will attempt to glean what they can from product literature and manufacturers’ representatives. What they find as a result of these efforts is part of the story, but you have more to tell about your products and what sets them apart from competitors.
#2 No Training
Failing to provide any information at all to sales channels is even worse than offering inaccurate or incomplete training. When companies are first starting out or experiencing a decrease in profits, one of the first things they tend to eliminate from their spend is training. Without proper training, companies risk customer attrition, employee turnover and weaker management, and they often end up reinventing the wheel.
It’s unwise to expect members of your channel to engage in research and train themselves on their own. Your channels are far too busy to seek out information about your products. When learners are left responsible for finding and accessing their own training materials, key components of effective product training are lost, including; accountability, consistent knowledge dissemination and tracking and reporting of learners’ knowledge levels. If you assume your sales reps and the other members of your channels will ascribe to self-training, you risk them missing the release of a new product altogether. It’s imperative that these individuals are knowledgeable about your most current products in order to ensure your business is competitive and evolving.
You can rest assure that if you aren’t providing engaging and effective product training to your sales channels, especially your external sales channels, your competitors are.
#3 Limited Availability
For a long time, manufacturers’ representatives were the solution to product training issues. They could go from branch to branch and give live product demonstrations to sales teams and distributors, offering incentives for members of the sales channel to excel at pushing new products. However, with more national and international distribution than ever before, manufacturers don't always have the time or the resources to give in-person training. This is why blended learning, in conjunction with a cohesive training schedule, helps to keep members of your channel up to date on product and company information.
#4 Poor Sales Performance
A lack of product training is bad for manufacturers and distributors. Working capital and warehouse space are tied up by products that never move, eroding companies’ bottom lines and their chance for future success.
Adopting an elearning platform for your business is the solution to sales channel product training. A learning management system helps you supply the members of your entire sales channel with the tools they need to promote and sell your products. By putting your product training on an elearning platform, you ensure learners have access to your training materials wherever they are, which creates flexibility and reduces the hassle of participating in your program.
With online training programs, you transform product education from an expense to an investment that generates tangible results for not only your business, but your distributors as well. Through your customized LMS training program, everyone in the sales channel is a winner.
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