Building A Successful Product Training Strategy
The more your employees know about your products and services, the better they can serve your customers. But it’s not always easy to get employees excited about product knowledge training. Busy schedules and a preference for training that’s more directly related to their career goals can get in the way.
So, how do you make product training a priority?
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can build an effective product training strategy. We’ll go over the challenges you face and why you should work to overcome them. And we’ll explore ways to remove roadblocks to employee engagement.
Why Employees May Resist Product Training
Competing priorities and misconceptions sometimes leave people cold to the idea of product training. Here are some common reasons they might hesitate:
- “It’s too technical.” Employees may fear that a deep dive into the technical aspects of the product is not going to be helpful. Or, that it’s going to be boring. If they don’t have a tech role in the company, a technical breakdown won’t serve them.
- “It’s not my job.” People who don’t work in product development, sales, or marketing, will struggle to see how product education is relevant to their position. They’ll want to do their jobs well and progress toward their career goals. When it comes to Learning and Development, they’ll prefer to focus on training that supports their current and future professional needs.
- “I already know everything I need to for my role.” Those who are involved with the product will likely think that there’s nothing new to learn. They’re more likely to opt for a course on customer service skills or leadership qualities than on a product they’re already familiar with.
Say you offer training on the software you produce. Developers may feel they don’t need training since they helped build it. Marketing employees may opt out since they don’t have to know all the details about how that software works. And the sales team might feel basic product information is all they need in order to serve customers.
Each of these excuses misses the bigger purpose of product training. To help employees realize its value to them and to the company, you need to understand why learner engagement matters in the first place.
Why Engagement Matters
A strong product training strategy gives employees a better understanding of the entire business. It lets them know how their role contributes to your company’s success. And it keeps them from working in silos, which can create bottlenecks and impede collaboration.
Getting the right content in front of your employees will make them more productive. It’ll help them:
- Recognize opportunities to engage with customers
- Communicate with clients about how the product will affect their results
- Troubleshoot more effectively
When you get your employees to engage in training, your business will experience a stronger brand, more productivity, and increased profitability. So, let’s look at how you can build training that motivates people to learn.
6 Tips For Engaging Employees In Your Product Training Strategy
With the right training strategy, you can overcome obstacles to learning. It’s important to design courses that hold learners’ interest and encourage them to progress through the entire course.
To get you started, here are 6 ways to address the challenges and engage employees in your product knowledge training.
1. Clarify The Benefits
Product training shouldn’t just be about understanding how the product works. Employees want to learn how and why the product matters to customers. Promote your training internally and let employees know how it’ll benefit them and their jobs.
Send targeted invitations to different roles outlining what they’ll learn and why it’s specifically useful to them. Include the product features you’ll cover in the training program as well as the expected outcomes.
You could, for example, explain why salespeople should learn how product features affect business results. Include the idea that this understanding will help them find more inroads for introducing clients to the product.
2. Keep It Short And Sweet
Training is more engaging when it’s easy to digest. Keep the format simple and break up big blocks of content. Follow the principles of microlearning and break the course into short, digestible chunks.
Design lessons to cover one topic each and keep them short. People don’t want to take their focus away from work for long stretches of time. Employees are more likely to log in and complete training when they know a lesson lasts for 10–15 minutes.
3. Customize Courses And Learning Tracks
Instead of offering general training for the entire organization, create courses to speak to specific roles.
Focus the content to teach what each role needs to know about the product. And present it in a way that “speaks their language.” For instance, organize a course for customer service based around common customer questions.
Set your LMS homepage up to show relevant courses depending on the learner’s role. Employees will be more motivated when it’s easy for them to find the content they need.
4. Make It Interactive
Build in reasons for employees to click, drag, or otherwise respond to content on the screen. Interacting with the training will keep their attention focused. Include things like practice scenarios with multiple-choice questions about how the learner would handle them. Ask them to respond to flashcards, or design a drag-and-drop simulation for them to assemble the product.
Each touchpoint will draw people’s attention back to the course. And, just as important, it will help them better remember what they learn.
5. Make It Fun
Don’t view training as a passive experience. Keep things interesting by turning training into a game. Give learners an objective, clear direction, the information they need to get to the end, and award points.
You might base it around a customer service scenario they need to walk through. Or, it may involve using the product to achieve a goal (for example, setting up an account in a simulation of your software product). Include scored quizzes or tests along the way.
You can also introduce competitive elements to keep people coming back. Include a leaderboard so employees can compare their progress or scores with their colleagues. Award badges or certificates for each level completed. Making learning fun gives people more reason to come back to it.
6. Design With Variety In Mind
Reading slide after slide of text, no matter how useful the information, gets old quickly. Instead, make the training itself engaging by including a variety of formats. Consider things like:
- Providing video demonstrations of the product
- Putting key information or statistics into an infographic
- Using visually striking images to keep attention focused
Variety keeps things interesting. And it’ll help you speak to different kinds of learners. For example, a video demo of how a product works will be more interesting and easier to digest for people who don’t (have to) know all the technical details.
Engaging Employees In Product Training Is An Ongoing Process
Training is a continuous effort. That means continuous improvement. As with any training, it’s important that you gather feedback and analyze the data you track. Then act on what you learn to improve your content.
Good product training makes employees better at what they do, which in turn gives clients a better experience with your product. It’s an investment in your employees and your brand, so make the most of it. Your employees—and your customers—will thank you.