Product marketers know the ins and outs of their company's products better than anyone. They interview customers, collaborate with the marketing department on messaging, and train sales reps on pain points to focus on during the sales process.
In an ideal world, product marketers would be at every trade show and on every sales call to answer any and all product questions from current or prospective customers. Unfortunately, product marketers’ knowledge can’t be everywhere.
Or can it?
Although it wouldn’t be in the company’s best interest to take product marketers away from what they do best, it is possible to ensure that the knowledge they impart on sales reps sticks. How? By changing how that knowledge is shared and improving how it’s retained.
Does Your Current Process Make Sense?
How do you currently educate sales reps when a new product comes to market? Chances are you have one big meeting or a few smaller ones where product information is shared, enhancements are highlighted and sales goals are set. Sure, sales reps take meticulous notes and ask questions. But, other than the product marketers, no one walks out of the meeting as true experts.
That’s understandable: All the knowledge of product marketers can’t be transferred in just a few meetings. And yet many companies continue to operate in this manner, hoping — and perhaps even expecting — that knowing the product’s key points will be enough for sales reps to close sales and drive profit.
Why Your Process is Broken … And How to Fix It
Sales collateral and meticulous notes only go so far. And those one-off meetings? Not as impactful as you may think. In fact, studies have shown that 79% of new information is forgotten within 30 days. This isn’t an indictment of your product marketers’ presenting skills. It’s simply how the brain works. It’s a phenomenon known as the forgetting curve. Fortunately, the forgetting curve can be combated by continuous testing (the testing effect) over time (the spacing effect).
Microlearning is a form of continuous learning that uses both the testing and spacing effects to help learners better retain knowledge. Simple and easy to use, microlearning breaks up macro content (like product information) into small, bite-sized questions that are presented to learners 2-3 times a week. This continuous learning and constant reinforcement of key concepts makes it easier for learners to retain key information.
Best-practice microlearning solutions like Qstream can also be used on multiple platforms, such as desktops, tablets and phones. This accessibility makes it easy for learners like sales reps to complete lessons whether they’re at their desk or in the field. Plus, since these lessons are short, they can be completed in as quickly as 2-3 minutes within the flow of work — which lets sales reps continue completing their daily tasks rather than attending weekly or monthly meetings.
Because microlearning is so easy — and questions are presented as challenges — learners are more likely to respond and engage with the learning program. Sales enablement and training leaders can also make it a competition, which can lead to increased participation and enhance sales results and knowledge retention.
Data: An Added Benefit
Microlearning undoubtedly helps learners retain more knowledge. (In fact, one Qstream client experienced a 23% increase in product messaging proficiency.) But microlearning is more than continuous learning: It also promotes continuous coaching.
Every microlearning training program collects hundreds of data points — correct answers, incorrect answers, etc. This data is crucial, and allows sales managers and training leaders to discover areas of strength or weakness at individual, team and business-line levels long before quarterly sales reports or monthly customer surveys are available. By knowing where their sales team needs a refresh, managers are better able to coach — or set up refresher meetings with product marketers.
Ensure Knowledge Is Retained
Product marketers can’t be everywhere — but their knowledge can be shared, learned and tested on continuously and repeatedly with sales teams by using microlearning. Microlearning ensures that the product knowledge rattled off so quickly by product marketers can be easily retained by sales reps and other front-facing employees when promoting a product or closing a sale.