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Software Application Training


My company provides finance solutions to clients using complex accounting software, I have to train the sales team to be proficient in these systems. Every session I run is very flat as I struggle to maintain enthusiasm in the subject matter - any ideas?
John Wright

8 Responses

  1. Ways to generate interest
    First see an earlier Any Answers:-
    Survival tips for training – 30-Jan-02

    To repeat some of the points made:
    1. You must be enthusiastic about your subject. You must believe that what you are talking about is the best thing since sliced bread. OK, this may not be realistic, but as someone else has said, teaching is like being on stage so you must BE a person who is enthusiastic about the product. This accounting software is the BEST and it’s going to save your clients heaps of money and, incidently, is going to make the sales team heaps of commission.
    2. You need a hook (as Howard said). In your case it may be sales commission or the prize for the best salesperson or whatever.
    3. Make them do things. Exercises, role-plays, anything that gets the students involved. Maybe you can come up with scenarios of clients with particular finance problems and get your students to come up with solutions using the company’s products. You could divide the class into two teams and see which team can come up the best solutions.
    4. Make it fun, for them and for you. You may feel you have to spend a lot of time just telling them about the products. This can be very boring if you are on the receiving end. So find alternative ways of getting the information across, ways that are different, radical, creative. Use any media you have available. One of the great challenges of teaching is finding new and gripping ways of getting information across. You may have to take some risks, so be prepared for the occasional failure and be able to say, Ooops, well that didn’t work.
    I teach engineers about electronic Foreign Exchange trading systems. These engineers have to have basic notions about the Foreign Exchange markets and trading as well as Risk Management and other bank back office systems. However engineers have trouble learning this kind of stuff. So I run Trading Games where they buy and sell widgets first, then move on to buying and selling Euros against GBP. They compete to make the most profit. Then I get them to consider the risks involved in the positions they are holding by introducing a drastic change in the Euro rate. It is fun and they learn stuff without noticing.
    Hope this helps.

  2. Make them train themselves
    Carrying on Steve’s idea, why not make them research the package rather than listen to you explain it? Can they actually use the system rather than listen and just see demos? Invent a company and try different scenarios. Enter different transactions to make a profit or go bankrupt.

    Get them to make a top ten list of customer enquiries or features then find a way to answer the question or sell the feature. Again this could work in groups if you swop lists.

    Role play selling the package to each other (who can be the most awkward or unwilling customer and who can best convince them?)

    Hope this helps

  3. Games games and more games
    I understand what you mean.

    I train sales people how to use in house systems and although I really enjoy it you have to make it just as fun for you as it is for them.

    Salesmen are naturally competitive so split them into teams and ask questions at the end you could make it like a question of sport where they have to choose a number and then answer the question that is under the number…….you could even have home and away questions.

    I find the training shop is full of interesting stuff its a website

    IT Training should never be boring try creating a jigsaw puzzle based on the software.

    All it takes is a bit of creativity and a child like mind and you have the makings of a very interesting course.

    If you would like more help please contact me on [email protected].

  4. Sales Teams and training
    Initially, I present to all of the sales staff and use a PowerPoint presentation with lots of graphics and sounds.

    Yes, you have to sell it to them before they attend training sessions!

    During training sessions, I mention the words: revenue, money, sales, commission and which sections of the software that are invaluable to their financial success. This hones their interest in the session.

    The Sales staff I have trained are often IT illiterate but want to make lots of money. Use lots of cheap rewards (chocolate is always appreciated) for correct answers, great questions and insightful comments.

    I use ‘Monopoly Game’ type tactics where he/she who finishes first with the most rewards, is the best! They are competitive and enter into the spirit of the game.

    Most of the previous comments made are excellent suggestions.

    So make training fun.

  5. So condescending!
    A few good points in the comments made so far, but what a condescending sounding bunch you are! I can’t believe you really meant it all that way. Anyhow the point people miss when training software sales people in products is to 1)Explain to them what potential business problems the prospect might have that your system can solve; 2) Explain the implication to the prospects business if they remain unresolved 3)Tell them what questions they should ask to uncover these problems.

    Of course one of the reasons this is often not done in product training is because the trainer doesn’t know the above either. That is ok, but you need to drag it out of analysts/designers of the system or whoever knows.

    Trust me, they can figure out how much commission they will make for themselves.

  6. Unhelpful Comments
    How disappointing to read your opening comment, Tony. Maybe you were trying to catch everyone’s attention but I thought that this was supposed to be a positive community to assist John, myself or anyone else who posts a comment.

    You do not have to agree with any of the comments posted but the methods described by the participants in this discussion work for them.

    I post comments to have them criticised (negatively and/or positively) not denigrated.

  7. Another alternative
    Have you considered an online or web based training solution. The only reason I suggest this is that normally sales people dont want to spend time training which an instant demotivator. The advantage of online is that they can do it as an when they want…all you have to is administer it which you can do on the web also.

    Online training is often more fun and “state of the art” which may appeal to them.

    All the best…

    Adrian Harding

  8. Finance & Sales….
    Hi John,
    I spent most of 2000 jetting around, presenting a financial introduction for a major international company. They had chartered a big consultant firm to produce a computer-based simulation of their own business. Idea was, we (the independent trainers) should run a 1 day intro to the concepts & the running of the sim., then let them play for 6 weeks(!), & do a 1 day wrap-up.
    Considering how much money was poured into the project, I found it sad that many participants at senior levels never finished the simulation.

    Answer???? I think we have to break the “school classroom” image & get the people involved in practical activities that carry over into the daily grind.

    I used to provide Tech ‘training’ for sales, & know how deadly critical they can be ;-))

    Give me a call or email directly if you’d like to talk ideas.

    Take a look at “Sales Genius” by Buzan & Israel!



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