Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014 - (Page 48)
BY MICHELLE EGGLESTON
ENSURING EFFICIENT SALES TRAINING
VIA MOBILE LEARNING
Whether it's door-to-door or business-tobusiness, sales reps have limited time and
resources to take training courses in the field.
With a unique set of learning challenges, sales
professionals require just-in-time training
solutions to receive information anytime and
When developing training for a dispersed
workforce, many organizations are turning to
mobile learning. Combined Insurance is one
of those companies.
With worldwide operations, Combined
Insurance provides supplemental insurance,
including accident, disability, health and life
insurance products. The company, which uses
a business model based on sales, is structured
so that its sales agents spend most of their time
in the field - making mobile communication a
critical way to dispense training information.
As a special projects coordinator of
technology and training, Michael Helton's
job is to help ensure the U.S. sales force at
Combined Insurance has training available at
their fingertips. Working within the marketing
team, Helton helps orchestrate and design
effective learning solutions that fit the sales
Helton said that Combined Insurance takes
training seriously, and a lot of time and
money is invested in preparing its sales staff
to meet business demands. For example,
when examining how to improve current
training initiatives and better meet the needs
of agents, Helton said that the team looked at
alternatives to more effectively deliver training
materials to managers and agents in the field.
TRANSITIONING TO MOBILE LEARNING
Sales training at Combined Insurance used
to occur solely in the classroom, but with
advancements in technology over the past
decade, it is now possible for training to take
place outside the physical classroom.
Online learning began gaining momentum in
the training marketplace about 10 years ago.
Helton said that the company took notice of
this trend and set up a learning management
system with online courses available to
employees through desktops and laptops.
But, the marketing and training teams soon
realized that this approach was not a viable
training option for its sales force, since the
reps were predominately based in the field.
And, it became challenging for agents to find
the time to sit down behind a computer and
complete the courses.
Taking this into consideration, the marketing
and training teams began considering mobile
learning as a convenient way to dispense
content to employees. Combined Insurance
turned to Brainshark, a provider of cloud-based
training solutions, to help develop mobile
learning experiences that would adequately
meet the needs of its mobile sales force.
"Our salespeople love the idea of mobile
learning because it fits into their schedules,"
Helton said. "They want bite-sized content,
not huge blocks of training."
To transition the sales force to mobile
learning, Combined Insurance will be issuing
tablet computers to each member of its U.S.
sales force. The tablets will include off-theshelf training products, as well as company-
developed applications designed to deliver
information and other resources that sales
agents and managers need to meet and
exceed business goals.
With the help of this technology, Combined
Insurance's marketing and training team
can now identify individuals who may be
struggling with a product or sales approach,
and prescribe specific training courses or
materials to help. This prescriptive training
approach allows training to be assigned on an
as-needed basis, while delivering just-in-time
training, Helton said.
"It's important to give employees what they
need, when they need it," he added.
DEVELOPING A MOBILE LEARNING
While mobile learning is improving the way
sales agents receive training information at
Combined Insurance, there is still a need for
face-to-face training. That's why the team uses
a hybrid approach, incorporating different
solutions to meet different needs.
For example, onboarding training for new
sales agents is a comprehensive two-week
classroom experience that teaches them
about company products and services.
Classroom training is followed by one week
of on-the-job training with a manager in
the field, which is then followed by regular
ongoing training through online modules
that can be accessed through laptop/desktop
computers and now through tablets.
"Mobile learning allows the company to
prepare learners for face-to-face training,
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014
Table of Contents
Guest Editor: Meeting Today's Learning Consumers Where They Are
How Smart Leaders Squash Employee Entitlement
The Reskilling of Design
Responsive Design and Learning Solutions
Women, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
Key Trends for 2014: Shifting to Business-Centric Learning
The Promise of Badges for Learning and Development
The Business Leader's Bottom Line: Aligning Learning with Organizational Needs
Raising the Bar: The Impact of Sales Training on Effective Customer Engagement
The Language of Measurement: When to Assess, Evalutate and Test
Casebook: Combined Insurance: Ensuring Efficient Sales Training via Mobile Learning
The Challenge of Workplace Re-entry After Training
The Learning Shift: From Event to Process
Training Industry Magazine - Winter 2014