“Fake it ‘til you make it.”
“Make it up on the fly.”
“Just wing it.”
Confession time, I’ve said all of these phrases at one point or another to my friends and teammates. Each time, my true intention was to help ease a worry or overcome a challenge. I hoped to push them towards confidence and competence rather than insecurity and inadequacy.
But here’s the thing: Becoming competent and well-equipped to do something takes more than a simple nudge. Phony confidence only goes so far because it’s disingenuous. Real knowledge, especially product knowledge like we’ll cover in this post, takes hard work. I wanted that “pat-on-the-back” approval for my friends without them actually doing the heavy lifting of honing their craft.
Sure, it might work for Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec, but it doesn’t work for the average Joe. At Lessonly, I had first-hand experience watching our enablement team prepare our revenue-driving teams for absolute success selling a new product that we launched earlier this year—Lessonly Skills. Here are a few tips and tricks I gleaned from seeing them knock their product knowledge training objectives out of the park. (And I’ve also included some more gifs of Tom to really help get the points across.)
1. Be bright. Be brief. Be gone.
This is not how you should want your teammates to feel after you announce an exciting new product to sell. But all too often, a new product launch feels like a laundry list of to-dos for sellers that includes new messaging and value props to memorize, new slides to make, new prospects to reach out to, and so much more.
When we launched Lessonly Skills, our enablement team relied on the theme of nostalgic video games to “be bright” and keep the content short, sweet, memorable, and enjoyable for sellers because what is product knowledge training good for if it won’t stick in your sellers’ brains?
2. Start taking about a new product before it’s time to sell it.
Internal marketing and enablement is the first step to make it rain. In fact, talking about new products and services before they’re ready to be sold is a really successful tactic for our team. If I had to guess, it’s because there’s excitement around something new to offer customers, and it’s probably something they’ve even been asking for.
Some tangible product knowledge training examples I noticed when our product and enablement teams flexed their product knowledge skills was in their preparation and testing. Lessonly Skills was in beta testing and feedback sessions for months. Our enablement team built teaser slides and one-pagers about Skills for sellers to easily start sharing in their calls with customers and prospects.
3. Answer questions at scale for customers, prospects, and sellers.
As Tom says, it’s not cool—at all—to ignore the onslaught of questions sellers, prospects, and customers will likely have about a new product. No matter how much research your team does pre-rollout of a new product, there will be questions that arise from prospects, customers, and your sellers once it’s actually out in the wild that you couldn’t have prepped for. It’s in these scenarios where the importance of product knowledge is evident.
Here are some product knowledge training ideas that worked well for us:
- Build lessons + practice scenarios: We used Lessonly for the bulk of our product knowledge training.
- Host a SKO: A sales kick-off is a great, annual strategy tons of sales teams employ to get everyone aligned at the beginning of a new fiscal year. For some ideas, here’s a great resource.
- Set up a long-term alignment strategy: Products (at least the best ones) evolve over time, and naturally new information and details need to be transferred from the people changing the product to the folks selling it. To truly see the benefits of product knowledge, you need a knowledge product. (Pro tip: Check out ours here!)
- Establish SMEs: There’s a feature in Lessonly called “Ask the Expert.” Lesson creators have the ability to assign an “Expert” to every lesson they create, and if a learner has a question, thinks something looks outdated, or for any reason needs some additional details, sellers know who to go to. When everyone knows how to gain product knowledge and where to direct clarifying questions, everyone wins.
That’s a wrap!
Obviously these are just a few product knowledge examples that have worked for us, but every team is different, so be sure to evaluate where the knowledge gaps are on your team and get creative as you seek to get everyone aligned.
Need some help rolling out a new product knowledge training strategy?
Lessonly can help you do it at scale. To learn why 1,200+ teams and nearly four million learners trust Lessonly to deploy the product knowledge their sellers need and customers crave, book a 15 minute, no-pressure chat with our team at lessonly.com/demo.