If happy customers and rock-solid sales numbers are the destination, then product education training provides the map that helps you get there. Here’s the hows and whys of this essential type of training.
What is product education training?
In most industries, product education training really refers to the process of explaining the ins and outs of your products. A product training program covers everything that your sales staff needs to know in order to present each product to potential customers.
But product education training shouldn't stop with sales staff. Consider all of the people who interact with customers in your business.
- Do they understand and support what you are offering?
- Are they aware of how customers might integrate a new product or service into what they already have?
- Do they, themselves, use the product or service?
Depending on the level of interaction, everyone on your staff should participate in product education training.
Increasingly, too, product education training applies to customers. Customers should feel confident in their ability to use your product on their own.
Finally, anyone involved in customer service or support also needs product education training. As the first line of support when an issue arises, it’s crucial to get these workers as much training as possible. This helps to resolve customer challenges before they escalate.
No matter who is receiving the training, major product education training benefits include:
- More confidence in the product or service (and its features)
- More sales conversions (and customer retention)
- The ability to answer questions or concerns with authority
- A better customer and employee interaction
When to use product education training
Product education training looks different depending on the learner. Here's a few ways you may roll this out in your company.
Product training for sales
Product training for sales is probably the first thing that springs to mind when you think about product education in general.
A firm knowledge base here means sales reps can overcome concerns and close the sale. Product training for sales is also a key marketing tool so you can design more cohesive marketing strategies across multiple platforms.
In the end, the better trained your sales reps are on your products, the better chance your company has of getting – and keeping – new customers.
How to train? Sales reps need to experience the product first-hand to better understand its benefits (and where customers may struggle). To train for these skills, use simulations or test-drives for product education for sales.
Product training for customers
Customers need to know all of the features of the product they're buying. Consider a remote control for a television. In the beginnings of TV remote controls, there were only two buttons, but these days, remote controls are covered in buttons with cryptic signs and symbols.
And it's likely that the product you're selling is much more complex than a remote.
Product training for customers walks them through all of the features of a product so they understand how to get the most out of their purchase. It's essentially how to work all of the buttons.
It is important to note that not every customer wants to know every function of each product. Part of product education training in general is learning when to say more and when to keep things brief.
In basic product training for customers, plan to cover:
- An overview of key product features
- Clear instructions for the most important functions
- Explanations for frequently asked questions
- Where to find more information about using the product
To train for these areas, customers might receive a user’s manual, a walkthrough of the product, or an interactive demonstration.
Product training for partners
Product training for partners should be a combination of the deeper dive for sales reps and the highlight reel for customers. You want your partners to understand exactly what you’re selling so they, too, can see the benefits to the customer.
The end goal is the same, though: an educated partner leading to a happier customer.
Product education training for employees
Employees, including everyone from the reception desk to the office manager and the graphic design team, need some training on the products in their workplace. Product education training for employees starts with onboarding. It should include a very basic overview of the products available and your target customer.
Why should the administrative assistant know details about the products when chances are good they won't be part of the sales team?
They are the face of your company – at the office and in the world. Everyone on your staff represents the company and should have an idea of what’s going on.
What should be included in product training?
There are some general categories for a successful product education training program, from employees to customers.
This goes into general information about the product. This might include information about major features like size, speed, colors, and how it compares to key competitors.
How to use it
How does the product actually work? Sales reps should have their own experiences with your products here.
How it works with other products
This is where product education connects what a customer already has with the new product they are considering. Think about how you might connect a new Bluetooth speaker to an iPhone, and how you would teach customers to use your product in this way.
How it can replace other products
When the InstantPot came out, it replaced a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, and a steamer with one device. Does your product combine functions of several products into one? How can you communicate this?
Scalability and customizations
A medium-sized company looking to grow wants to know if your product is scalable. Will it grow with them, or will they need to start from scratch as they expand? Likewise, how can customers customize your product to fit their needs?
Price and ROI
It’s one thing to shell out $10 for a pair of headphones that only last a couple of months, but quite another to spend thousands of dollars on a product that doesn’t meet a customer’s needs. A key point of training should be covering how it will benefit the customer.
Troubleshooting and support
Finally, this is a good place to talk through if/then scenarios if needed, and to share your contact information for key support teams.
How to deliver product education training
Product knowledge training ideas can be made available in a variety of formats so customers, employees, and partners can access them in the best way possible.
eLearning is available whenever your employees need it. A busy sales force (and a harried customer) may not have time to sit through an hours-long training. eLearning offers asynchronous tools for product education training when it is most convenient.
Performance support tools
Performance support tools can offer technical assistance, provide troubleshooting, and offer just-in-time documentation or training for new products. These can also be shared across teams for a coordinated approach.
Microlearning is small bits of knowledge delivered when needed. These might be prompted by a geofence or other function of a product that unlocks a mobile push notification with more information.
Create your product education training
It’s time to better equip your sales reps (and your customers) with the tools they need to get the most out of your products.
Get in touch with EdgePoint Learning today for ground-up support to build your product education training!