Mastering product knowledge training is pivotal for every organisation, regardless of size or industry. Equipping your team with an in-depth understanding of the products you offer doesn’t just accelerate the sales process it enhances customer interactions, encouraging brand trust and loyalty.
Yet, the question remains: how can this essential training be delivered effectively and efficiently? Traditional methods, although familiar, may fall short in engagement and consistency and often lead to subpar information retention.
This is where eLearning enters the scene, offering an interactive, flexible and engaging solution for product knowledge training.
In this blog post, we explore how you can harness the transformative power of eLearning to ensure your team has a comprehensive understanding of your products.
Why Shift from Traditional to eLearning Methods?
Traditional training methods, while they have their merits and place, are increasingly being recognised as not enough. This has resulted in a massive shift towards more modern, technology-driven approaches, with eLearning leading the charge.
Traditional training methods vs eLearning – What’s the difference?
Traditional methods, including in-person seminars or lectures, often demand substantial time and logistical efforts, causing inconvenience, especially for remote teams. A lack of personalisation and interactivity can also lead to reduced information retention.
Conversely, eLearning offers flexibility with any-time, anywhere access, making it ideal for diverse teams. It provides personalised, customisable content to cater to individual learning styles and incorporates interactive elements to enhance engagement and improve learning outcomes.
The role of technology in modern training methods
Technology plays a pivotal role in enabling this shift towards eLearning. Advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and data analytics allow Learning Management Systems to offer personalised learning experiences, adapt to individual learning paces and provide real-time feedback.
In terms of engagement, multimedia elements like video, audio, infographics and interactive content can be easily integrated into eLearning, making the learning process more immersive.
Advanced tracking and reporting features can monitor learners’ progress and performance, providing valuable insights that can be used to continuously improve the training content and methodology.
Challenges in Product Knowledge Training
While training, in general, may have its problems, product training has a unique set of challenges.
Here are the major ones that require significant attention:
1. Training without context
While it is crucial to ingrain the facts about products, this can’t be the sole focus of the training process. Consumers don’t just want a product’s features regurgitated, especially when they may have done their research online already. Many customers expect the salesperson to anticipate and understand their problems and create a specific solution that matches their needs.
2. Training only for the short-term
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the goal of product knowledge training is only to teach the fundamental features of a product. After this, salespeople are often left to learn on the job. However, this increases the chances of making mistakes while dealing with customers who ask more than basic questions and also reduces the salesperson’s ability to connect product benefits to customer pain points.
3. Training is too standardised
From the marketing department and the sales team to the customer support staff, everybody in the company should have a baseline knowledge of the product they are selling. The problem with this approach is that all the lessons are taught to everyone, which reduces training effectiveness. Some of it may even be irrelevant to the specific roles of each department.
4. Training isn’t collaborative
Traditional product training methods typically don’t allow trainees much input or interaction, if at all, in the learning process. Product knowledge training has to be more collaborative, especially now in the social media age, where people are more inclined to share their opinions and learn from each other.
9 Tips for Effective Product Knowledge Training Via eLearning
Instead of adhering to ineffectual ways of product training, your organisation can pivot to the modern learning and development process of eLearning.
Ensure its effectiveness in imparting product knowledge with the help of these nine tips:
1. Selecting the right platform for effective delivery
Choosing an LMS that aligns with your organisational needs and learning objectives is crucial. An LMS not only hosts and delivers your eLearning content, but also tracks progress, assesses performance, facilitates communication and ultimately shapes the learner’s experience.
Understanding your requirements
Before you dive into the sea of available LMS platforms, you need a clear understanding of your needs and objectives. Consider the size and scale of your learning audience, their technological proficiency, the complexity of the product knowledge you need to impart and your desired learning outcomes. You also need to consider the geographical dispersion of your team, as a globally dispersed team may require a system with more robust language support and timezone flexibility.
Key features to look for
- User-friendly Interface
- A complex, difficult-to-navigate LMS can deter users, impairing the learning process. An intuitive, user-friendly interface encourages engagement and ensures learners spend more time learning and less time figuring out the platform.
- Your LMS should be able to grow with your organisation. As your team expands or your product range grows, the system should be capable of handling more users and accommodating more courses without compromising performance.
- The ability to personalise content to meet individual learning styles and needs is essential for effective eLearning. Look for an LMS that allows for easy customisation of courses, learning paths and assessments. Customisation should also stretch the platform itself so it utilises your branding and works as part of your website.
- Mobile Compatibility
- With the rise of remote work and the growing popularity of mobile learning, it’s crucial to select an LMS that’s mobile-friendly. This allows learners to access content anytime, anywhere, thereby increasing flexibility and convenience.
- Analytics and Reporting
- An effective LMS should provide comprehensive analytics and reporting tools. This will allow you to track individual and overall progress, assess the effectiveness of the training and make necessary adjustments.
- An LMS that offers robust support and training for its administrators can save time and frustration. This is particularly important when first implementing the system or when problems arise.
2. Modify courses for microlearning
Avoid inundating your learners with information in one or two product knowledge training courses. Segment the contents of your eLearning modules into smaller chunks focused on particular products, customer profiles and sales practices. It will be much easier for learners to retain the knowledge they absorb and prevent any confusion regarding product features and the target audience.
3. Optimise for mobile devices
Considering all the obstacles to be overcome with product training, you want to make the learning process as easy as possible. One big way to do this is by letting learners access your courses through their smartphones or tablets. This synergises well with the microlearning methodology, as learners can check their mobile devices in between short breaks to take on a course or two.
Having these informational resources available is useful for directly interfacing with customers. Learners can easily refer to the bite-sized courses on their mobile devices for help instead of leaving customers unsatisfied without solutions.
4. Simulate scenarios
The flexibility of eLearning extends to interactivity. You can include course simulations depicting real-life scenarios in virtual reality (VR) where your learners can practise and demonstrate their product knowledge.
This training delivery style can work as both a training program where learners can make mistakes without consequence and as an assessment tool to gauge how much knowledge they have internalised.
5. Include case studies
Go one step further than scenarios and use historical data from your company’s successes as part of your online product training. Results that have been proven achievable in the real world are much more convincing to learners, as they can see the practicality and relevance of the courses they are taking.
Case studies also allow your learners to see from the perspective of your company’s target audience. Then, along with their fundamental understanding of your products, learners can develop better ways of selling products knowing what customers need.
6. Integrate multimedia
One of the biggest detriments to learning and development is creating unengaging courses. While text will probably still be the primary way of communicating facts and skills to learners, solely relying on it for your eLearning courses can lead to boring material. Include videos, infographics and podcasts in your product training modules to make learning more engaging.
- To convey how to properly use a product, explainer videos are perfect and they can be useful in both in-house and customer training.
- Infographics distil complex ideas into a digestible and visually interesting form.
- A short 5 to 10-minute podcast supplementing a course can act as a good refresher that employees can listen to before doing a product demo.
7. Curate supplementary online resources
There will be learners inclined to learn as much as they can, completing training courses much faster and more easily than others. Nurture this natural tendency for learning with additional educational materials. Make a list of related eLearning courses, as well as external information such as articles, slide presentations and YouTube videos. Carefully curate these to ensure they are relevant to the specific course.
Having supplementary resources that are easily accessible online supports high-performers, leading to even greater results. Even learners having trouble with training can benefit, as the extra information can provide more context.
8. Drive competition through gamification
Inspiring friendly competition between learners can result in improved performance as it gives them the impetus to be better at what they are doing. Gamifying your eLearning modules is the best way to foster a competitive nature.
A robust LMS can allow for easy gamification integration. You can award points and badges for completing courses and scoring well on assessments. Set up a leaderboard where people can see how they compare to one another’s performance.
For product training-specific gamification, look toward testing their knowledge of product branding, features and uses.
9. Continual Learning
Product knowledge training is not a one-off activity. Courses should be continually updated, refreshed and built on to ensure learners remain up-to-date with the latest product changes, enhancements and common customer questions.
While updated product specifications and responding to customer inquiries may be learned through on-the-job training, a more effective method is conducting ongoing and follow-up training to instil this knowledge through tracking, managing and rewarding.
Enhancing Product Training With eLearning
Effective product training isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It often has to be updated from a one-size-fits-all approach with no long-term support to better fit the evolving attitudes of employees and the technologies they use. eLearning is the principal channel for imparting product knowledge, as it can facilitate multiple methods that are both modern and malleable. eLearning can also make it possible to reach international markets and train global audiences.
Wahoo Learning’s training delivery services allow you to completely outsource the time and cost-heavy elements of running a successful online training program. Learn more about our services here.