Sales training 2.0: Merging analogue and digital tools
Appropriate replacement for face-to-face trainings
In sales, employees with different levels of experience and knowledge often work together in teams. Reaching them with a digital learning platform in a way that meets their needs and, above all, their competencies, requires high standards of practicable e-learning projects.
The distribution company TTI, Inc. has now taken this path with the online training program addedVALUE from the Konica Minolta Academy.
Together with its research and development partner Konica Minolta Business Solutions Deutschland GmbH, TTI, Inc. relies on a clever mix of short videos, documents and self-checks that always focus on the top premise of a successful sales department: providing addedVALUE to the customer.
TTI, Inc. with its more than 1,400 employees at more than 40 locations in Europe represents a great challenge for the development of a diversified e-learning tool.
Due to the different ages, experiences and languages of the decentralized TTI sales staff, the implementation of a cross-regional basic sales training has been a great challenge so far. The need for a value-based learning concept, which would provide harmonised content across cultures and regions, was the decisive factor for the cooperation with the Konica Minolta Academy. In the development of addedVALUE, existing sales trainings were analyzed on a regional level and then the interfaces to the basic requirement were determined centrally. Through addedVALUE, the combination of the value-based TTI sales philosophy with consideration of regional requirements has been successful.
For the rollout of the blended learning program, which was originally intended as an internal training for Konica Minolta Business Solutions, all sales employees were given access to the web-based training. Participation in the program, including the online coaching sessions, was made optional for the work teams. The program was communicated via the news function of the Learning Management System (LMS) and the company’s internal social network.
In addition to subject matter experts, management and in-house sales trainers from Konica Minolta Business Solutions, TTI Europe stakeholders were also involved in the development process. In this way, TTI Europe became a reference customer in the area of the innovative blended learning concept.
After the training program had been completed by several hundred employees of Konica Minolta Business Solutions and at TTI, it was also decided to make the program available to other external customers.
The addedVALUE training process, which lasts several weeks, is structured in consistently coordinated steps that are oriented to the sales process. The employees, i.e. the sales teams, always start with a seven-part series of web-based trainings (WBT). As an audiovisual component of the WBTs, employees can expect a short video series to convey the content. The short videos (approx. 10-15 min.) are each linked with a recommendation for action to support the sales employee in implementing the content in their daily work.
The intermediate learning quizzes are both effective and clever, providing the learner with a motivating tool for immediate self-testing of the previous learning content. A number of downloads are also available for implementing the new knowledge in everyday work, such as sales documents presented in the videos and written summaries of the WBT content. The self-directed learning process is enhanced by eight online coaching sessions, in which learners discuss the training content and the implementation of the respective recommendations for action in their sales teams. The online coaching sessions always refer directly to the previous web-based training.
In contrast to the use of addedVALUE by new hires, a different model has proven to be most successful for managers as participants: this includes experienced coaches from the Konica Minolta Academy who pass on directly applicable know-how. The online training is supported by a “learning diary” that accompanies and reflects on the learning process and ultimately documents the implementation of the recommendations for action as a central factor of addedVALUE.
Since the training program addedVALUE is used internally in the Konica Minolta Business Solutions Deutschland GmbH and is also available to the partner company TTI as a reference customer, the project result was already be evaluated twice. Positive voices predominate. In an initial monitoring report, for example, TTI emphasizes the flexibility of addedVALUE: “In summary, TTI recognizes many positive results of this program. We now have harmonized sales methodologies at the European level that we can refer to, regardless of the country in which we do business,” says Adrienne Sedlacek, Training Manager at TTI, summarizing the benefits of addedVALUE. The jury was convinced by the approach of leaving it up to the sales teams to decide whether to organize further face-to-face training or to use equally effective online sessions and thus, in view of the restrictions imposed by COVID, to elegantly transfer the character of blended learning into the digital age. Thus, addedVALUE was awarded the eLearning AWARD 2021 in the category “Blended Learning”.
Specifications and Characteristics:
For TTI: Managers should have at least 2-3 weeks head start on their sales team during the program. The entire program can be completed in advance in order to be able to use the content as effectively as possible with the team.
At Konica Minolta: Communication via LMS, internal company network or face-to-face meetings. Participation in addedVALUE for sales employees is voluntary.
addedVALUE was created through synergetic cooperation between the developing company and its reference customer. Close cooperation and very large number of participants allowed constant evaluation and broad data base for practicable and scalable functionality of the program.
TTI, Inc. – Europe
Konica Minolta Deutschland
Head of Academy