If you could design the ideal sales enablement approach, what would it be? 

Below are four ways Area9 Lyceum’s adaptive learning has ensured that sales employees became proficient in the shortest time possible, and retained knowledge. 

New Product Introduction

When Hitachi Vantara wanted to meet the challenge of a rapidly changing product portfolio, they turned to Area9 Lyceum.

With thousands of sales and pre-sales people worldwide, Hitachi needed a scalable solution that could meet the learning needs of a diverse audience – yet leverage their existing Saba (and later Cornerstone OnDemand) learning management system. 

Hitachi built adaptive product training with Area9’s help, deployed as SCORM objects through the LMS. Learners switched seamlessly from non-adaptive to adaptive courses with no disruption – or even communication.

Hitachi was surprised by the level of unconscious incompetence in its salesforce – despite all the training that had gone before, both e-learning and ILT.

Only after rolling out Area9’s adaptive solution were they able to identify and correct misconceptions in knowledge and practice that were impacting customers.

Onboarding Salespeople

Like all retailers, Shinola’s new in-store employees come from a variety of backgrounds.  Bringing them up to speed quickly, ensuring they are knowledgeable about the products and can live the Shinola culture was the responsibility of product specialists and store managers. The results were highly variable and took a lot of effort. 

Shinola moved its entire onboarding program to adaptive with Area9 Rhapsode™, reducing the time commitment from the product specialists and freeing up managers to do tactical coaching.

As a result, revenue per employee and per store increased.

Better doesn’t always mean faster

When a pharmaceutical company rolled out adaptive sales training to their workforce, they expected to see a difference in time compared to their old, non-adaptive e-learning. 

Three of the four courses generated significant time savings – reducing the median time to competency from over five hours to less than three. The fourth course was a bit of a surprise – the median time was longer for the adaptive course.

What was different?  This was a brand-new product in an area that none of the salespeople had any experience of. They all mastered the learning, but the adaptive algorithms and the learners had to work hard to get there. Yes, the original e-learning was faster but after seeing the adaptive results the company was convinced that very little learning had occurred with the non-adaptive approach.

It’s all about reinforcement

The human mind is a tricky thing. We’ve known for nearly 150 years that our brains are designed to forget – otherwise we’d be completely overwhelmed. The learning science research is clear: to make learning stick it has to be reinforced through practice. Unfortunately, almost all training is a one-time event.

“Congratulations, you’ve passed the course.”  But three months later, when the customer asks you that crucial question, can you remember what you were taught? Can you even remember the class?

Some companies turn to micro-learning, or to a ‘question of the day’ as a way to prompt salespeople to remember. It might seem clever to deliver your learning in five-minute micro-learning chunks, but if nobody needs that five minutes, you are still wasting precious selling time.

Adaptive learning has other solutions beat.  It knows what each salesperson found easy and found difficult. It creates a personal stream of learning bursts, optimized and prioritized to refresh on the things that each person is most likely to forget.  And it happens automatically, with no input from the content developer, and no action from the learner other than studying as normal.

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