At Lighthouse we have been building eLearning programs and delivering global Learning & Development programs to multinational companies for over 9 years now.
During this time, the common theme that we observed in the various eLearning projects was the need of our clients to train and onboard their sales force via digital learning content built around their own products and services.
This is how the eLearning Sales Academy product was born. Currently, our eLearning programs, are being used around the world to train and onboard sales teams and sales managers.
The end goal of all these eLearning Sales Academy projects is to ensure that all sales teams in the client’s organization know the entire product portfolio of the company so they can better consult their own customers and maximize the chance for offering the right fit product, and thus increase sales.
What are eLearning Sales Academies?
The purpose of an eLearning Sales Academy is to turn your company’s internal learning materials and your experts’ tacit knowledge into engaging digital learning content for sales enablement, sales training, and onboarding.
Top 3 goals of building eLearning Sales Academies
Establish a uniform level of product knowledge among global sales teams
The # 1 goal is to establish a uniform level of product knowledge among new hires (=onboarding) and existing sales teams (=product training). In other words, Heads of Sales, Heads of Marketing and Heads of Business Development want to make sure that their sales team knows their company’s products inside out so they can better consult and sell to their own customers.
Identical training experience around the globe
The second most common goal that Heads of Sales want to achieve is to have their sales teams go through the exact same, standardized training regardless of whether they are in Austria, Germany, the US, China or any other country the company has operations in.
Measure knowledge levels
The third objective we come across very often is to be able to measure the knowledge levels of sales teams through exams and certification programs. In other words, to have a clear learning journey at the end of which the sales professionals are ready and have “the green light” to go out in the field and consult customers.
Top 3 challenges of building eLearning Sales Academies
Core learning content not readily available
The #1 challenge we see is that core learning content is not readily available or is only available as tacit knowledge. That is, it’s only available as experience “in the heads” of Subject Matter Experts, without tangible documentation. In other cases, core learning content is not up to date or not final, as a result of fragmented knowledge among various geographical sites or countries our clients have operations in.
Underestimating internal alignment complexity on the client’s side
As we transform our clients’ core learning content into digital learning materials there are a number of feedback rounds where our clients can recommend changes or approve deliveries. At the beginning of many eLearning Sales Academy projects, when the enthusiasm to build and roll out something quickly is high, clients tend to underestimate the internal alignment complexity and time needed for reviewing and approving final digital learning materials like e-learning modules or microlearning videos. Very often, several Subject Matter Experts need to give the “green light” on the content, which takes time and requires internal alignment. In addition, as these eLearning Sales Academies are global initiatives and have a direct impact on sales teams’ success rates, top management is also involved in the approval of final deliveries. For us at Lighthouse, this is certainly a great position to be in, as we get to work with highly experienced Subject Matter Experts and have the support of top management. Therefore, we set up experienced-based processes to make the alignment and approval easy for all stakeholders involved.
Subject matter experts very technical, hard for them to communicate learning content
The 3rd most common challenge we see is that Subject Matter Experts often have a technical or engineering background, and it’s often hard for them to tell the story of a product and communicate the learning content in a way that’s easy to understand for non-engineers, for example, sales teams. This is where our Instructional Designers come in to help create a captivating storyline and learning journey.
How does Lighthouse address these goals and challenges?
Our solution to these challenges is to audit core learning materials at the beginning of each new project and have our Instructional Designers conduct content interviews with the Subject Matter Experts to help them structure their knowledge so that it can be best used to train sales teams. Finally, we use our established processes and experience in building digital learning products to make the alignment and approval easy for all stakeholders.
Specifically, we address these goals and challenges through the following 4-step implementation process, developed and perfected over the years:
At the end of this process:
1. Reduce onboarding time by 50% and get new sales hires to start selling faster
2. We can digitally capture organizational knowledge and provide our clients with engaging, digital learning content based on their own products with minimal effort from their side
3. Our clients can then use these digital learning contents to distribute organizational knowledge and provide a standardized learning experience for their entire sales staff around the globe in their home or normal offices
4. Reduced per learner training costs / f2f training need via a fully scalable, global digital learning program
What’s really rewarding to see as we turn our clients’ own internal learning materials into custom-made digital learning content is that our clients, often for the very first time, get tangible digital learning to train 1000s of sales professionals globally and see new hires start selling faster and existing sales teams increase their sales.
When we get to work with Subject Matter Experts, we can transform their tacit knowledge into tangible, structured learning content for sales enablement, sales training, and onboarding. This way, the knowledge and experience that was first limited to one person can be shared with thousands of sales professionals and benefit their customers and the organization alike.