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Client: Leading manufacturer of high-end office and electronic printing equipment

Client Objectives: The client sought to achieve market penetration and market share goals with a new state-of-the-art reprographics system which combines the digital technologies of scanning and imaging with the print technologies of laser printing and xerography.

Issues: The sales organization must be prepared to market the new product at time of public announcement. Yet, product capabilities will be unstable right up to product launch.

Machines will not be available to sales until product launch. Thus all product knowledge will have to be derived from the training curriculum, and product and training development will have to be concurrent efforts.

The product will require a 'consultative selling' approach, requiring sales staff to gather detailed information across customer departments.

Sale of the new product has to meet sales targets without eroding sales of existing products.

The product will be introduced in phases over a two year period, with later releases incorporating added function. The product introduction must be positioned to prepare customers for future capabilities.

There are multiple audiences to be trained, including sales, sales management, sales support, and customer service. For each group, excessive "time out of field" is unacceptable.

Customer satisfaction with the product and end-user training is critical.

Solution: The key solution was to create a phased sales and sales support curriculum. FLI and the client used the following development strategy to create a quality training program within the constraints described above.

The client provided "bridge" courses to fill specific gaps in theoretical knowledge and sales skills in preparation for product launch training.

Training components were developed concurrently with product development. To do this, the training development teams had to work in close harmony with client product development teams.

To avoid excessive "time out of the field," self-study preschool materials were developed for all training audiences, addressing common core concepts, product overviews, and the like. Students completed these self-study components in the field and qualified on end-of-course tests in preparation for school training.

Two sets of materials were developed for Level 1 schools, one for each of the two major client divisions responsible for selling the new product. This was necessary since major differences in customer industry requirements exist between the two divisions.

Identical Level II materials were developed for the two groups. Level II training provided the first hands-on experiences with the new product.

The results of the first year of training were then evaluated, and materials revised as necessary. Customized versions were developed for account managers, for European audiences, and for on-going (new-hire) field training.

Product reinforcement training (information on new product releases, product changes, technology advances, and the like) were handled through the use of one-way video, two-way audio sessions with audiences in the field.

Business Results: The program mission was "…to ensure that the identified field personnel have the required skill levels before product launch so they will be able to exceed sales targets."

US product sales were 119% of business plan in the firest year of availability.

European product sales were 102% of business plan.

The product made a significant contribution to the organization's revenues, and sales remained strong in subsequent years despite turbulent, global economic conditions.

Curriculum Assessment Tools
New Technology Adoption
Interactive Media
Competency Development
Develop Customer / Client Partnerships
Project Management Methodology
Introduce a New Product
Re-engineering Processes
Enter a New Market
Introduce a New Information System
Change the Sales Approach
Documentation Development