Recently in my Instructional Design course, I was asked to incorporate the lessons I’ve learned so far in order to refute a CEO’s decision to cut back on investing in staff training for a fictional organization. During a synchronous session, the CEO of the organization questioned the value of the company’s previous training methods and also dismissed the value of employing an instructional designer. The CEO believed that investing in annual training seminars was not a cost-effective solution for training staff members on how to increase their sales of the company’s products. I was asked to persuade the CEO into reconsidering her position by arguing the following points:
- Training is a worthwhile investment;
- Instructional design makes a critical difference in the quality of training;
- Senior sales representatives may not be the best trainers; and
- Cost-effective training methods exist that can be effectively developed and deployed in the corporate environment.
Below is my argument posed to the CEO of Insurance Co.
Convincing the CEO.
Cost Effective Training Methods Do Exist
Dear Mrs. CEO,
We all know that there are no guarantees to boosting sales and confidence within your sales staff through expensive seminars and in-house training. However, this may be imparted by the lack of a necessary and crucial component with respect to designing effective quality sales training. Investing in employing a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Instructional Designer (ID) to develop sales training materials would be a cost-effective and beneficial solution for your organization. Logistically, training seminars may not be the most cost-effective and productive means for training sales staff within your organization. With the recent launch of two new products and 14 satellite offices around the world, online synchronous and asynchronous methods of mediating sales training may be a more cost-effective and efficient way for reaching a broader number of sales staff. With an online method of training, it would solve the issues of logistics, timing and accessibility for more sales team members; providing the infrastructure for online mediation exists. Creating online content, training materials and setting up a technologically compliant network system will also be costly. However, it may be a cost-effective solution for future training and on-the-job training that could be utilized by all of your junior and senior sales staff. Training will also need to be set in place for senior and junior staff to learn the new online mediated tools. Support for this online system will also need to be considered and costs for this solution will be incurred. With the above online requirements stated, essentially a customized Learning Management System (LMS) will need to be created, developed and maintained to suit the needs of your organization.
Instructional Designer’s Make A Difference
It would be wise to employ a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in the insurance sales field and an Instructional Designer (ID) to create, develop and organize a plan for successful sales training within your organization. ID’s are agile and great collaborators. “ID’s understand the needs of the business, sales staff and training. They would work seamlessly with SME’s and upper management to provide the best training results from your staff. ID’s are generally responsible for getting a project done on time and within budget – without alienating the client or the project team” (Stein, 2015). Using Bates’ (2014) ADDIE model, an ID would ensure that the content for training is analysed so that the right amount of content is covered in each module of the training sessions. They would make sure that the training is logically designed and fluid so that the learning objectives are met with the appropriate use of materials and technology. ID’s would also ensure that the training provided is developed and implemented in a way that ensures the content is accurate, complete, clear and accessible for the participants of the learning environment; while paying close attention to utilizing qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. Using the ADDIE model would suit the needs of the organization as it is tailored for the design and development of large groups and members within a learning environment.
Senior Sales Representatives May Not Be The Best Trainers
While there is no guarantee of increasing sales from either face-to-face or online training methods, involving a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Instructional Designer (ID) who are knowledgeable of the latest technology and aware of cost-effective solutions for sales training would be highly recommended. With respect to all senior sales staff within your organization, we cannot assume that successful senior sales staff have the capacity and tech savvy skills required to develop and deliver effective sales training to your domestic and international sales team members. Senior sales members would be obliged to collaborate with marketing teams, sales departments and upper management—domestically and internationally—to ensure that they are knowledgeable of your newly launched products and future products. The cost of training senior staff to deliver effective sales training would also need to be taken into consideration.
Training is a Worthwhile Investment.
Training is a worthwhile investment. Whether it is through face-to-face seminars or using a blended online solution that includes synchronous and asynchronous methods of delivery. Investing in a qualified Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Instructional Designer (ID) will make a difference in the quality of training provided to your junior and senior sales staff members. As mentioned in our synchronous meeting, you stated that “Hopefully, the training by experienced sales staff will bolster the confidence of the sales team members and finally give us the boost in sales we’ve been looking for” (CEO, 2015). We cannot assume that because your senior sales staff are qualified to effectively sell your products that they would be the best candidates to effectively train and instill confidence in your sales team members; domestically and internationally. Rather than offload this responsibility to your senior sales staff, please reconsider investing in quality training for your future. Considering your latest expansion and future developments, it is advised that you invest in training through an online Learning Management System (LMS) that would be curated by an experienced SME and ID to provide quality sales training throughout the year to your sales force. Sales staff would be able to access training tools at anytime, anywhere in the world at their own convenience. Once the LMS and content has been fleshed out, you may then consider delegating successful and capable sales staff members to train sales members on how to work the LMS and how to share quality content using the online training tools. Incorporating online sales training within the organization should eventually become a more cost-effective solution to maintain overtime, which would meet the needs of your organization’s long-term goals.
Instructional Design Consultant
Bates, T. (2014). Is the ADDIE model appropriate for teaching in a digital age?