The Importance Of Product Knowledge Training In Sales

Creating Sales Training For Medical Products: An eLearning Case Study

Product knowledge training is the most important tool for closing sales. Today’s consumers are digitally connected, socially networked and prefer to have gathered all the required information on the product that is to be purchased before they even speak with your sales team. However, an intelligent consumer may approach your salesperson with a difficult question. This question can be without an answer on your website, white paper, social media posts and so on.

But is your staff adequately equipped to make that personal connection? Is it ready to provide a trustworthy experience for your prospective customer and tip the scale toward a win situation for your organization?

For more, see our extremely popular article on Product Knowledge Training. But how do you create product knowledge training to prepare your staff to build trust with neuroscientists? We recently worked with Integra LifeSciences, a world leader in medical technology, to answer that very question.

About Integra LifeScience

Integra LifeSciences is dedicated to limiting uncertainty for surgeons, so they can concentrate on providing the best patient care. Integra offers innovative solutions in orthopedic extremity surgery, neurosurgery, spine surgery, and reconstructive and general surgery.

They are leaders in neurosurgery, offering a broad portfolio of implants, devices, instruments and systems used in neurosurgery, neuro-monitoring, neurotrauma, and related critical care. Integra’s orthopedic products include devices and implants for spine, foot and ankle, hand and wrist, shoulder and elbow, tendon and peripheral nerve protection and repair, and wound repair.

eLearning Needs And Challenges

The company's mission is to provide clinically relevant, innovative and cost-effective products that improve the quality of life. In order to achieve this, Integra is involved in continuous research and development of better products and procedures.

They offer extensive opportunities for hands-on training to their sales professionals as a strategic initiative towards achieving the company’s business goals. But with regular product upgrades, Integra has been facing challenges of delivering continuous training to its sales workforce. Managing frequent classroom delivery at diverse geographical locations was not only budget-heavy but also difficult to manage. Major challenges that Integra faced included the following.

  • The existing trainings were developed by product managers and lacked consistency, engagement and were not able to deliver the desired performance goals.
  • Integra distributed iPads to its sales teams to maximize mobility but the existing trainings were not compatible with iPads.
  • Due to frequent product upgrades, they wanted their training to be flexible for updates.

eLearning Solution

We designed a series of interactive and self-paced web-based training encompassing a 360° view of Integra’s medical devices. To accommodate the needs of the customer, Infopro selected Articulate Storyline.

Articulate Storyline is a highly interactive authoring tool providing the flexibility of publishing for Learning Management Systems, Android devices, and Apple devices including iPhones and iPads etc. Some of Articulate Storyline’s salient features are:

  • 47,500 combinations of illustrated and photographic characters
  • interactivity enhanced by using layers, triggers, variables, and states which are changes of expressions or changes of color of a visited button
  • characters and avatars can be made to emote, change positions, and create many poses
  • easy localization, supporting scripts for languages that are written from right-to-left.

1. Instructional Approach

For a 360° review of the devices, we used the Dale’s Cone of Learning [1] to enable modalities like seeing, hearing, reading, doing, and experiencing.

The training also leveraged the Adult Learning Principles [2] to emphasize the qualities that are critical in adult learning tasks, such as the importance of experience, self-direction, intrinsic motivation, and immediate value in learning activities.

Scenarios were designed to present real work-life situations for learners. Further, the avatars were imbibed into these scenarios to generate engagement and logical anchoring in the minds of learners.

2. Design Approach

a. Interactive Pictures

Non-linear interactivities were used to make sales specialists learn about the features of each device promoting better retention of knowledge.

b. Avatars

Avatars (pedagogical agents) were used as a facilitator, mentor, voice of reason and buddy, and sometimes as a coach. They were made to emote during the quizzes by way of being happy or sad depending on the right or wrong options chosen by learners.

c. Quizzes

Quizzes were created in various formats to tease the learner’s mind and stimulate it to act. So, these quiz activities helped the learner gain valuable inputs missed during training by eliciting responses and instigating a person into practicing the concepts.

Infopro Learning developed a series of product trainings including, but not limited to:

  • Base units, Headrests, and Adaptors
  • Brain Retractor Systems
  • Inspections
  • Mayfield Radiolucent Systems
  • New Radiolucent Products
  • Skull Clamps and Skull Pins
  • STA Training Module

eLearning Outcomes

Infopro learning has over two decades of experience in developing content solutions and has been a Top 20 Content Development Company [3] according to TrainingIndustry.com for the last 7 years. We have worked extensively in helping customers keep pace with changing technology landscapes.

Major business benefits delivered to Integra included:

  • product training courses that helped sales teams relate to the upgrades better and highlight the value of innovation to respective customers
  • using Articulate Storyline, Integra can deliver iPad-based training to its on-the-go sales workforce and achieve performance goals
  • continuous updates which are now easy to incorporate into the training and help eliminate the cost of ineffective training.

For more on our approach to product knowledge training see our white paper "Investing Wisely: How to Maximize Your Sales Training Budget".

References

  1. Edgar Dale
  2. Principles of Adult Learning
  3. 2017 Content Development Companies Watch List
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