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Product Training Ideas

Hello all!

I am the Sales Trainer for an animal safety corporation and in my recent "bonus incentive" overview I was told I have to create ten different product training modules. Our products are everything from gloves to needles to vaccines to rat bait. Although I don't have much of an issue with learning the vast amount of products, my real issue lies in the delivery of the training. I will be training sales and customer service reps.

To the real dilemma - each product line that we manufacture has it's own product manager. These product managers also conduct trainings on their products. Their training is a typical PowerPoint with demonstration of the product, etc. I want to take a different angle - I just don't know exactly what that is yet. I was thinking some kind of [FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']interactivity[/font], role playing, scenarios, or something along those lines.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I'm stuck!

Thank so much! - by kporter
Hi Katie,
There is no shortage of people who will suggest that knowing your products and services is crucial. If you stick to the basics such as discovering what people want of value that your product or service offers and then train on the product features that map to those types of values you should do just fine. - by letmetellyouastory
Product knowledge is only one piece (and sometimes it's a fairly small piece) of the sales proficiency pie. Therefore, anything you can do to impact the sales skills and abilities of your salespeople to successfully sell your product should be what you focus on.

There are armies of salespeople out there with tons of product knowledge and no sales ability. It usually doesn't make for a very productive sales force.

That means, among other things, focusing on how to create rapport and trust, how to effectively investigate for needs and desires, how to effectively present a product to a prospect, and how to close the sale.

Or, if you want to only focus on "product training modules", somehow it would be beneficial to figure out how to partner with your product managers to create it. What you don't want is a duplicate of the training your product managers are already presenting, so if you haven't already, I would ask your boss this question: "How do you envision my training modules to be different from the training that the product managers already do?" - by Skip Anderson
Sales skills training is far more valuable than product training, after all, it is not sales training at all, as an engineer or chemist could provide this type of learning. Furthermore, any sales person who is a professional can figure out features ... so can those who are not yet pros!!!

My research and that of countless others before me - spanning many decades (in my case 3), shows definitively that there was far too much product training in sales organizations and much less sales skills training, role playing and revue than what is beneficial.

It is our job as sales trainers to get people from executives to reps to think of what is truly important rather than what is not (product training).

Interestingly, when you study this topic you find that product training is usually mandated by those who either have no sales experience (Executives) to speak of or were never effective sales trainers.



Fight the acceptance of the suggestion of its importance - what you are being told to do - and start SALES TRAINING! - by Gold Calling
Katie,

My comments will focus primarily on training salespeople.

Two important challenges that arise when multiple product managers deliver training are:

1. The training material is not delivered in a standardized format, which makes it more difficult for attendees to absorb the content.

2. Most product managers that I have met think they have to turn salespeople into product experts in order for them to be able to sell a product effectively. As a result, the training they deliver tend