A market leader’s year long journey in building a high business impact mLearning program for their distributed field sales team
1200 personnel | 22 modules | Over 14K training delivered | 17% increase in premier mix
Company S is the market leader in the Flash memory business in India with reach of over 1000 retail outlets in 25+ distinct areas.
- The biz imperative in Jan 2015: Increase the sales of premier memory cards in the India market.
- Sell up challenge: Build mind share for premier products with the 1200 sales persons in retail outlets, and increase their knowledge levels to sell the high end memory products. .
- Approach: The company launched the “Learning Advantage” m-Learning program
- Adoption Strategy: ABCD: Analytics, Benefits (Gamified), Communication, Directive (Managerial Intervention)
- Challenges Addressed: Mindshare of users, Internet Bandwidth
- Training Metrics: Over 14,000 modules delivered over 2015 to 1200 sales personnel.
- Biz Metrics Impacted: 17% increase in premium cards mix observed, helping the company achieve its goals.
The “Learning Advantage” mLearning program has become a strategic tool for engaging the distributed sales force and for selling up.
Mobility is the greatest new driver for field sales engagement
Challenge: Jan 2015
Company S is the market leader in the Memory business. They had good tail winds with the growth of smartphone market in India. The 2015 Objectives:
- Continue the momentum in overall sales
- Sell up from entry level products to premium products to increase revenue and profitability.
The Premier memory products provided significant speed benefits to the customers. In an era of recording and replaying HD videos, the customers are willing to pay a premium for equipping their Camera/ Smartphone with a high end memory product.
The challenge was to have the message consistently delivered to the buyer in the retail shop front. The retail seller in over 1000 outlets needed to have mindshare in positioning the high end cards and know the key selling points of this card.
The Approach: mLearning
The company put together the “Learning Advantage” program with the Bsharp Mobile Learning Platform, aimed at:
- Educating, informing and engaging retailers in India…
- .. with specific focus on the Premier products
The four pillars
The key factors that contribute to the success of the program are:-
#1. The attractiveness and usefulness of the content
#2. The ease of use of the technology, factoring in the diverse working conditions of the sales personnel
#3. The drive by the Sales Officers of the company
#4. The engagement and the enthusiasm of the users
#1: The Content:
Roadmap: A clear roadmap of learning was established, tying the content with the business objectives. The content went through a two level review process:
- First level approval: India Country training head approval
- Second level approval: APAC product manager approval
Voice-over: For the easy understanding of products content was published with English, Hindi voice overs.
A total of 22 content modules were published in 2015, with focus on: 1. The Product Value Proposition 2. Technology De-mystifiers 3. Product Selling Tips
Quiz: At the end of every training online, a quiz was administered through the smartphone. The scores of the quiz was the primary basis for Gamification.
#2: Learning Technology
The learning was divided into 4 different areas:
- Structured m-Learning: Android App to deliver SCROM compliant training program on the mobile phone.
- Gamified: Users gain quiz points, they move up levels and get awards on a monthly basis.
- Reference Learning: Learn by reviewing “Field Flash”, brochures, videos and references literature.
- Learn from peers: Currently available only on the PC: Participate about discussion forums about a given subject and learn from peers.
Offline Access: All content can be accessed offline (Android) – users can complete training, access product content (offline) even in low connectivity areas.
#3: Sales Officers
The 25+ SO’s were the key hubs for adoption of this program in their regions.
Every week, metrics were published to the Sales Officers about the performance of their territory on this program. They could clearly identify who has not completed the training and follow up on the same at the next available opportunity.
They served two critical functions with respect to the program:
- Being ambassadors for the program with the Retailers in the territory
- Pushing people who have not completed the training
#4: The Users
These are the sales personnel from Retailers or Distributors who take training to understand the various key selling points. Over 1200 retail sales personnel in about 1000 stores in 80+ towns were enrolled for the training program by the company. They were expected to:
- Refer to the Learning Advantage app when making a high end sale
- Complete the trainings that are published, based on the notifictions from the system
Sales Enablement jumps in to bridge the gap between the corporate office and the field sales team.
Drive user adoption: The ABCD Framework:
Key to the implementation is user adoption. The program team followed a simple ABCD framework for driving user adoption.
A: Analytics | B: Benefits | C: Communication | D: Directive (from the Regional Officers)
The system currently deploy trainings ad product information to approximately 1200 field representatives. The system was also designed to capture analytics of the training deployed. The system provides insights on:
- Number of training deployed
- User who have and have not taken the trainings
- Scores of individual users
- Zone-wise training analysis
- Performances on trainings based on focused products
- Monthly, quarterly and yearly training performances
The data derived through this platform were used to understand gaps in the user’s product understanding.
Graph: Quarter-wise breakdown of training taken
In order to make Bsharp Learning Advantage more exciting, competitions have been conducted on an monthly basis with rewards for the high scorers from each segment. Thumbrule for motivational program budget: Based on the motivations and the demographics of the users, the company determined that 15% of the users should get awards every quarter (not 100%), and the average rewards should be ~5% of the average monthly salary of the user community.
Regular stream of communication was made about the program and program status to the ROs, Users through:
- Android Notifications | WhatsApp groups | Email | F2F communication (when Sales Officer visits the shop) | Executive Communication.
Frequency of communication: 2 communication modules every week. The users eagerly looked forward to the winner communication for the monthly programs.
From the Country Manager to the Sales Officer, the message was clear: “Learning Advantage” adoption is a priority. Every week, the SO will get a list of users who have not completed the training – they will then drive to ensure completion. A constant review of the metrics was required for successful adoption by the bulk of the users.
Sub-segmentation of users
In June 2015, the users were sub-segmented and managed differently to increase impact. User groups:
- Imaging Retailers
- Phone Retailers
- PC Retailers
- LFR Retailers
The groups were sub-segmented as such in the platform and managed differently. The content, programs, prizes, communication for each of the groups were separately managed for maximum effectiveness.
Bsharp Learning Advantage posted amazing metrics from Jan to Dec of 2015. The usage metrics are:
Increase in Knowledge Scores
Due to the timely delivery of training and continuous engagement that the uses have with the corporate team, the average scores of user in the various quizzes deployed have increased significantly.
To increase the engagement amongst the users, the system has incorporated a certification module that send the users a certificate once the user has completed the assigned training.
Feedback of Bsharp Learning Advantage (Quarterly User Survey)
On a scale of 1 to 4 (4 being best and 1 being worse) from the users:
Reviews and Ratings on Google play store
To measure the business impact of the program, the company created specific FOCUS MARKETS. The growth was compared with other control markets (where the training was not available) to measure the impact of the initiative. This was done over 2 months in the middle of the year.
July Aug 2015 Measurement: The Premium Mix Impact:
The “Learning Advantage” program helped the company to achieve the 2015 goal: Increase the sales of the premium products in the India market. This was achieved by increasing the mindshare and the knowledge level of 1000+ sellers throughout the country, throughout the year.
The salient aspects
- Smartphone based training program with offline aspects to suit India conditions
- Reach of over 1200 sales personnel, driven by 25+ Regional Officers.
- Constant communication, community formation, certification, awards drove the adoption of the program
- 78% of personnel engaged every quarter, 14.5K trainings delivered through the platform. 22 different content modules launched over the year.
- Biz Results were measured through a “Control Group, Focus Group experiment”. In a study in July-August in 8 markets, a 17% increase in premier mix was observed.
A well conceived, tightly run, actively sustained mLearning program can help companies achieve their strategic objectives .
Inform, train, hear from your field sales personnel!