Online Video Training Can Make Contractors Be More Productive

From a manufacturing point of view, it’s in your best interest to train contractors on the best way to install your product. It eliminates call backs and helps contractors sell more of your stuff. No surprise there, but with sales forces that are stretched thin, now they can only do so much training. Where do they focus their efforts – on the distributor’s sales force or on the end user?

The answer is use online training for both.

  • You can train distributor sales on new products, on not only features and benefits, but also on where/when they should be used. Several eLearning options out there can test them after to make sure they got the point.
  • You can train contractors on new products/processes and installation tips.
  • Online lets them take the course on their timeline, not yours.

Both distributors and contractors want to get the most out of both employees as well as opportunities, so you’re better off arming them with the right info.

  • According to the American Society of Training and Development, companies that spend $1,500 or more per employee average a profit margin 24% higher than those who do not invest in their employees.
  • Deloitte reports that 18% of all training is now on smartphones.
  • Cisco’s VNI Global IP traffic and service adoption forecasts that by 2018, 79% of all internet traffic will be videos.

If you like this post, you might want to read:

Do You Have a B-to-B Video Strategy?

Manufacturers: Are You Missing out on Video Opportunities?

B-to-B Video is on the Rise: Are You Taking Advantage?

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Podcast: Why Online Training Gives You the Edge

I caught up with Lisa Bordeaux from BlueVolt recently to talk about the importance of using online training. Everyone is looking for ROI. 

BlueVolt provides online training centers for manufacturers, distributors, buying groups and trade associations. They have delivered more than 1 million courses to date. They have been a strategic partner of ours for over 5 years and have helped several of our clients in this area.

Lisa explains the differences of why Manufacturers and Distributors use it and why their reasons are different. She also talks about the different ways to learn – Observations, Conferences, Classroom and Self-Study.

Here are a few highlights:

Training – It’s not on fire (easy to push out) – but in our customers’ experience – it’s one of the most significant things you can do for the bottom line. We have customers telling us certified people are outpacing their industry averages by 16-24% YOY. Not sure what other efforts have that impact.

Training – get it as close to the guy as possible – usually folks have 10 minutes in the afternoon to learn something – our buying group customers – say their member employees spent the ten minutes surfing a supplier site for product information – but by bringing it all in one place and putting the incentives on it, like we do – they spend the 10 minutes becoming better sellers – and that’s time well spent.

Enjoy. Listen here.

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Free Online Training Webinar: Learn How You Can Launch a Course in Under a Week

Are you looking for a repeatable way to provide training to your customers so your sales people can focus on selling?

Explore options for online training, best practices, what not to do and how you can launch a course in under a week. The presenter, Lisa Bordeaux from Bluevolt, a leading online training source for suppliers, distributors and end users, will be our presenter.

Join us to learn more about how manufacturers are developing product training courses that educate people on their products and building product experts in the field.

Our research shows that Distributor sales people recommend products to customers 2-5 times per day. They recommend what they know and most of the products they sell they have never seen in application. Learn how others are bringing those products to life online and making it easier to educate and market to the channel with partners, buying groups, customers and others.


Tuesday, December 7th, 2-3 PM EST. Registration is closed.


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New Product Launches: Don’t Overlook Your Distributor Partners

Many manufacturers are so focused on the features and benefits of their new product that they sometimes forget about educating and motivating their distributors to insure a successful launch.

Distribution is a key link in the launch and if your distribution isn’t on board or even understands what or where this product fits into your overall strategy, it’s going to be hard for them to sell. Let’s face it, especially in today’s economy, a distributor needs to understand why he should invest in inventory of this new widget.

Here are some tips to help make sure your distribution is on board:

  • Give them plenty of notice – They need to know 45-60 days in advance so they can get the new SKUs into the system, onto the promotion calendar and most importantly, get you that initial stocking order.
  • Incentivize the initial stocking order – Give them an additional discount on that first order or give them extended dating or waive your minimum order requirements. The key here is to make sure they have your product on the shelf so when the contractor comes in and asks for it, they have it.
  • Train/educate distributor sales force – It’s an important step in the process that’s often overlooked. Many manufacturers assume they understand the big picture, and most of the time, it’s not the case. With time and travel expenses being what they are, traditional things like lunch-and-learns may not be the best way to introduce the new product. You might want to use an online training tool like BlueVolt that can both train, verify and motivate the sales team.
  • SPIF sales – For at least the first 3 months, put some sort of incentive on the product to get the sales folks excited. Put yourself in their shoes. Most distributors carry anywhere from 15,000-25,000 different items. Which ones do you think they will be talking about? And oh by the way, don’t overlook those inside and CSRs. They have 5-7 times the number of contacts with customers everyday and can talk up new products and create add-on sales (do you want fries with that?)
  • Make key end user calls – This seems like a no-brainer, and while you the manufacturer might be making those calls, you don’t always include the distributor in them. Chances are that key potential for you is already a key customer for the distributor. He can make sure you get in front of the right people and brings a relationship to the table.

These are some simple ways to insure your new product launch is successful.

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