If you are only using eLearning inside your organization – for employee training, compliance training, etc., you may be missing out on a valuable revenue generation resource.

In a Brandon Hall 2004 independent research study, organizations who used eLearning for sales training showed an increase in sales by 30% and a Return on Investment (ROI) of up to 100%.

If eLearning is this successful for sales training, how can you use it to attract and retain customers? By using your eLearning outside your organization, you can not only improve sales, but also acquire new and better educated customers.


Sales training model

Traditionally, sales training has been used only to assist the sale. Certainly, training is a proven way to help sales become educated on your products, industry topics and sales strategies. But the sales person is still responsible for retaining, filtering, retrieving and applying this information in the appropriate context. In today’s rapidly changing world, this can be a challenge.


Customer acquisition model

How can you use eLearning to more effectively support the sale and acquire new customers? Let’s use a pharmaceutical company as an example. In the customer acquisition model, eLearning is used inside and outside the organization, from sales training to sales performance support to customer training. The customer acquisition model leverages eLearning and applies the technology across all three facets of the sales process. The model involves three steps:

•Assist the sale – one-to-one targeted prescriptive eLearning for sales training

•Involve the sale – just-in-time learning approaches & performance support tools

•Inform the sale – highly targeted end-user learning for customers: physicians and their patients


Assist the sale

Suppose an organization releases a new product related to oncology. It’s critical that the sales force is aware of the product and that they understand when and how to offer it to which doctors.

First off, the product affects only one division and a specific segment of that division’s sales force. Since they are the one who will be selling the product, you need to target the learning to that audience.

To speed development, your training staff creates the product training as a series of short, eLearning modules, using templates and standardized development tools such as Microsoft PowerPoint. This learning template approach enables your in-house trainers to focus less on technology and more on content, instructional design and rapid production and distribution.

To effectively assist the sale, the modules are exported to a variety of portable formats, including web, CD-ROM, MP3 audio files, and mobile learning that can be taken on a cell phone or portable device.

The modules are published to an eLearning portal, and the assigned sales representatives are automatically alerted on the new product training. They then access the portal and take the modules, at their convenience. This approach creates a more targeted, highly personalized, one-to-one training plan, based on user profiles.

Using a targeted learning portal, the training is targeted, relevant and available when sales needs it.


Involve the sale

ELearning offers the convenience and standardized delivery that gives learners access to content, anytime. But with mobile connectivity and portability, eLearning now becomes performance support, as well.

During a five-minute sales call, the physician has questions on the new product. Is it right for her patients? Here, our sales rep Gloria uses her WAP-enabled cell phone to access the training modules and quickly search and retrieve details to answer the doctor’s questions, right in the office.


Inform the Sale

The final step in the customer acquisition model shares the eLearning with the appropriate customers and prospective customers. When the company’s training staff produced the sales training, they also created an edited version of the assigned modules suitable for the end-user, the patient, in this example. These eLearning tutorials are tagged as “customer friendly resources.” They are also assigned to the most appropriate learner profiles, such as oncology, obstetrics, etc.

Since these modules were developed by the training staff as subsets of the original eLearning content, they provide a consistent follow-up message for a doctor and a resource she can use for her patients.

Here’s how it works. On her way back to the office, Gloria stops off for coffee. Using the wireless connection, she accesses her eLearning portal, remotely.

Gloria follows-up from this morning’s office visit by assigning the “customer friendly” modules to an eLearning portal branded for Dr. Harris’ practice.

By noon, Dr. Harris receives an e-mail from Gloria, thanking her for her time and providing a link to the tailored eLearning site, providing more information on the product they were discussing this morning.

Dr. Harris follows the link and takes the module, which answers her remaining questions. She can also forward the link on to her patients.


Power of the customer acquisition model

Typically, we’ve reserved eLearning for inside the organization. But the customer acquisition model leverages your eLearning technology investment to benefit both the organization and the customer.

Your sales force benefits from more tailored just-in-time learning, along with corresponding performance support tools.

By offering eLearning to your customer’s customers, you can increase the odds of acquiring new customers, while helping educate and retain your existing customers, as well.

Contact me, if you are interested in more information on how to implement this model in your organization. Knowledge Direct has all these features built-in to the portal, so you can start gaining more customers and better serving the ones you already have.

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