In order to sell a product, you need to believe in it. Now, in order to really believe in the product, you need to understand it in-depth. This is what product knowledge is all about. Sure, this is obviously the most useful to your marketing and sales departments, but why stop there?
- Shouldn’t your customer support possess an elaborate understanding of the product in question?
- Is there no benefit to your management understanding the value of the product?
- How can your manufacturing staff create a high-quality product if they don’t understand it?
A lot of these questions have the same answer – the more people in your organization know about the product, the better. Also, you should practice a no-person-left-behind policy and make sure everyone gets the memo.
With all of this in mind and without further ado, here’s how and why you should develop product knowledge training for your business.
What Are the Benefits?
Having a higher level of product knowledge within your organization drastically improves your sales. First of all, it improves the ability of your salespeople to persuade the customer, seeing as how they can use the best arguments possible and use them with conviction.
Second, your marketers have a better way of establishing a unique sale proposition (UPS). Missing out on your product’s most compelling feature (or an additional hidden use) can make a huge difference in making the product more marketable.
You also get to build a stronger relationship with your customer. This way, you get to create return customers and customers for life, not just convince them to make a one-time purchase. By raising brand recognition and brand awareness, you can even turn some of your most loyal customers into brand ambassadors.
All of this combined improves the overall customer experience and boosts both the appeal and the overall value of your brand. Furthermore, education helps grow the career of your staff members, which is a reward on its own.
How Can You Introduce a Training Program?
In order to maximize the impact of the training program, you need to come up with the right curriculum and focus on all the most relevant metrics. Sometimes, it’s for the best to look for expert assistance.
The next thing you need to focus on is consistency. No matter what you do, the key thing is that you remain up to your own standards. This means no toleration for slacking and a systemic approach to employee training. Most importantly, make sure that your training is measurable. This way, you can be sure that you’ve done an admirable job.
The way in which you organize the training is up to you. Some organizations prefer to gamify the experience or make it more interesting by picking a more immersive format. This is similar to using theatre for children to convey the message to the young ones. In fact, using a stage-like setting and format might prove to be effective in your situation, as well.
Why Are Industry and Customer Knowledge Important?
No product has value in a vacuum. The thing is that you control the way the product is used only until the sale. After that, it passes into the ownership of the customer, and they have the privilege of choosing what to do with it next. Ideally, you would try to get some insight into how customers are using the product once it is safely in their possession.
How do you figure this one out?
First of all, you need to ask the question – who is buying your products? The issue of demographics is huge when it comes to determining motivation. Second, you need to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and ask – what problem is this product solving? Finally, you also want to check if the product in question is riding on a current industry trend.
Once you have this info, it’s time to focus on the industry. So, what are we looking for when it comes to these considerations?
- How segmented is the industry?
- What are the UPSs of your competitors?
- How does their brand value compare to that of your own?
While this approach seems too competition-centric, the truth is that by measuring up to them, you might learn a thing or two about yourself, as well. It is easier to evaluate your own position once you have a reference point. Just keep in mind that companies in the different parts of the enterprise cycle aren’t necessarily comparable.
How to Make Great Product Value Statements?
Making a value statement is both a necessity and a test (of sorts). By trying to make it and being realistic about the quality of the end result, you will actually reevaluate your own product knowledge.
A value statement is there to explain how your product serves the customer (how it provides value to them). If you try to tell the story of your business in a more artistic way, the protagonist of the story would always be the customer. This customer/protagonist has a problem, and the product that you’re selling (or a service that you’re providing) is an agent for its resolution.
What else should be in the value statement?
There’s nothing wrong with being a bit more technical, especially if you think that this is the jargon that your target audience understands. So, list the details and specific features that the product has to offer.
It is also essential that you stress exactly why they should buy from you and not from someone else. The simplest way to do so is to provide some extra value. Tell them just how different it is to do business with your brand and why it is so much better.
If you can’t send a clear message within 5 seconds, the chances are that you don’t understand it well enough.
Regardless of whether you think that the product/service you’re selling is simple and self-explanatory, you should never assume that all your staff is familiar with it. Instead, you need to make this systemic and make product knowledge training an integral part of the overall training and onboarding. This way, you will gain quite a bit of value with minimal effort.