Digital Transformation: Modernizing sales launch training for 2021 and beyond

In today’s volatile environment, companies need a sustainable competitive advantage to not only thrive, but also survive. Having a knowledgeable, experienced salesforce can be an invaluable asset to any organization, especially for those in the B2C market. These companies understand how an effective sales training program can result in higher revenue, increased customer loyalty and lower turnover.

According to an automotive dealership staffing study, turnover for dealership sales consultants is at an all-time high of 80%, up 13% from 2017. 1   This statistic is particularly alarming, as sales consultant retention directly impacts revenue and customer satisfaction. That’s why companies are investing more than ever before to train and retain their workforce. In fact, a recent report shows that US companies alone spend $15 billion every year on sales training, and another $800 billion on incentives to retain top talent.2   And car dealerships spend an average $10,000 per person annually to create an environment where employees feel valued through career planning discussions and professional development opportunities.1

The launch of a new vehicle is a much-anticipated event for both the automaker and consumers. As exciting as these events are, they’re also filled with expectancy — expectancy of the sales team to achieve established dealership key performance indicators, and the expectancy that consumers will flock to the showroom to check out and test drive new models. Ensuring sales advisors are ready to sell with knowledge, enthusiasm and confidence requires a strategically designed and effectively deployed training program. But what do you do when your new vehicles are scheduled to launch during a global pandemic?

That’s exactly what happened to one of our largest automotive clients. In fact, they had planned to launch two new vehicle models at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. The company couldn’t afford to postpone the launches, as they’d spent months marketing the launch dates and stood to lose millions in sales revenue if the launches were delayed. With lock-downs and social distancing, our client needed a partner to help them find a way to continue executing the sales launches as scheduled, and within established budgets.

Rapid Conversion

The vehicle sales launch events had been planned for months, and were ready to be rolled-out to dealers and sales consultants across more than 300 dealerships in major European markets. Pandemic-driven restrictions meant that all of the in-person sales training developed earlier in the year would need converted for digital delivery — and fast!

At first, our client was apprehensive about the move to a digital format, as they had envisioned the launches would include fun, ‘hands-on’ learning and exciting test-drive experiences. Their concerns were quickly diminished upon learning that RPS’ network of instructors possessed a wealth of knowledge working in virtual environments long before the pandemic and had perfected the ‘art of digital delivery.’

Our client was focused on the delivery of a highly engaging launch training event. To meet this requirement, and ultimately prepare their sales teams to sell at their full potential, RPS designed a virtual training solution that embodied all of the thrill and excitement of an in-person launch event, including vehicle walk-arounds; new model feature updates, with live demonstrations and Q&A sessions. The sessions needed to successfully impart product knowledge that participants could take back to their dealerships to share with other team members, and most importantly, with customers.

Illustration of a Live 360 session

Immersive Experience

From our previous experience in the design and development of digital solutions, our team recognized the importance of enabling the sales team to interact with the vehicles remotely, while injecting a level of excitement that translated into sales. RPS’ Live 360 solution integrated advanced digital technologies to deliver an interactive, immersive learning experience. This highly immersive environment allowed learners to interact directly with instructors, and one another, in real-time, throughout the session. Using green screen technology and graphic overlay while streaming the live product, instructors conducted virtual vehicle walk-arounds and demonstrated new product features, in far greater detail than conventional VCT. Among many other advantages, the greatest benefit to Live 360 experience is the participants can request live demonstrations of the vehicle’s specific features, almost as if they ‘pressed the button on the dash’ themselves.   

Ensuring Success

Our instructors anticipated and developed a brief introduction to the Live 360 learning environment for the sales team participants. To assure optimal engagement and completion rates, our Training Administration team connected with learners, facilitated a quick ‘how to’ session to assure learners were comfortable in advance of their upcoming Live 360 session. To promote a true launch training experience, and ease any anxiety participants may have had about the delivery platform, RPS explained how to submit questions and provide feedback, participate in breakout sessions to take full-advantage of the virtual launch training experience.

By applying the right combination of technology, instructional design and best practices, RPS was able to virtualize and deliver the sales training on schedule and on budget. Our instructors trained the sales team of 760+ on both models in as little as eight days, enabling the company to begin selling the new vehicles on the dates advertised. With our Live 360 solution, we were able to deliver the same amount of information in half the time of traditional in-person learning. The client was so pleased with the success of these events they’ve engaged RPS to deliver training across their entire catalog digitally using the Live 360 solution.

Our program is a finalist for the Digital Learning Transformation Award 2020 for best use of digital learning tools in the context of a wider digital transformation of the organization. Innovation, impact and business contribution are the differentiators. However, the best measure of success is demonstrated through direct customer feedback.

“This is the first virtual training we have attended. We can’t recommend it enough.”

“Good Timing, no overload, extremely interesting!”

 “Really professional production and great presentation!”

“It’s great that we can watch the recording of the VCT later rather than take notes.”

Reach out to RPS

Performance, innovation, driven by understanding!

RPS’ award-winning learning solutions enable clients to achieve their performance improvement goals. Our Understanding First approach means we seek to understand the key performance indicators and business metrics to be impacted to determine the best solution. Our success is the result of the strong relationships we develop with our clients. To learn more, Contact us or visit us at RPS.com.

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Have you tried implemented a virtual sales launch event? What was your experience? Start a conversation in the comments below or connect with us on LinkedIn or at @RaytheonRPS using hashtags #learning, #training and #learninganddevelopment.

Footnote

1 Coz Automotive. (July 23, 2019.) 2019 Dealership Staffing Study. Retrieved from https://www.coxautoinc.com/market-insights/2019-dealership-staffing-study-released/.

2 Loechner, Jack.  (October 18, 2018.) 800 Billion for Sales Training. Retrieved from https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/326525/800-billion-for-sales-training.html.