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New Product Training

by Randy Price       

   SALES TRAINING SHOULD BE USED AS A TOOL TO DISTRIBUTE INFORMATION that will prepare a sales team to mobilize their skills to reach a bottom line priority.
   It is important that a company not be negatively influenced when a new product is introduced into its product mix. The new product introduction should be positively enhanced by a well-designed training system. Relying on standard procedures and practices helps create momentum to successfully launch a new product. When introducing a new product, the sales training process should emphasize the role of the product with regard to the mission of the company, focus on long and short-term objectives and take environmental factors into consideration.
   By adhering to a standard method of new product introduction, your staff will more likely embrace the new product. As new products roll out, the workforce can follow the integration process, relying on predictable time frames, evaluation systems and communication flows. With step-by-step development procedures established in your training process you can introduce new products in a standard fashion, without reinventing the wheel each time.
   When introducing new products, your training department should focus on the important content of new product training, including:

  • Product knowledge: new vs. replacement product
  • Industry knowledge: trends and forecasted success
  • Integration patterns: internal, external, time frames
  • Marketing materials: sales presentation, distribution goals

   It is important that throughout the new product training process you maintain open lines of communication, consistent quality control measures and customer service performance standards. You should also communicate positive company momentum to your employees by continually upgrading your product line so as to remain competitive in the industry.
   Scanning the environment is mandatory to assist trainers in identifying potential barriers associated with mobilizing salespeople to accept new products. Even if the informal communication of the organization questions the value of the new product, your company line is one of solidarity and predictability.
   Programmed decision making continues even when non-programmed events occur. The training team must rely on its standard process. The trainers review all existing documents, training drills, product descriptions and training schedules. While the product department works on the final roll out plan, the trainers begin incorporating the new product into their existing training by first defining economic, consumer and industry trends. As time progresses, the dialogue in training evolves to demonstrate how the product will co-exist with the current product line. With controlled communication the company manages to detour the predictable barriers that can negatively impact productivity and profitability.
   Establishing measurable standards and practices will ensure effective training and product launch. During new product introduction, the roles of each group are as follows:

  • Management: design product rollout schedule, identify strengths and barriers, manage communication flow, verbalize vision/success margins
  • Training Department: design training tools, evaluation guides, sales presentations, sales scripts
  • Field Managers: reinforce sales team abilities, success patterns, systems strength, track results, monitor sales force understanding of product knowledge
  • Sales Force: believe in their ability to sell product, understand value of product to the consumer.

   When a company does not have established standards and procedures, they are not prepared to lead their operations through successful product development.

Randy Prince is VP of Training and Business Development for ECP Commerce.
Visit the ECP Commerce website at