How-To: Use Technology to Reinforce Training
By Kendra Lee
Technology provides a cost-effective, fun way to stay in front of your participants with key content reminders after the training is over. We’ve added technology-based reinforcement to all our training programs, and our clients have reaped big rewards.
For one organization’s sales prospecting program, we used a combination of e-mail and video follow-up. One year later, prospecting continues to be a habit for the whole sales force, driving new customers and revenue for the company.
Whether you’re reinforcing a strategic skill change such as sales, or simply changing the way employees complete their expense accounts, technology can help you ensure behavior change sticks.
Here are the top techniques we’ve found that successfully incorporate technology in training follow-up:
- Use a consistent, descriptive subject line format that references the program so participants know what’s in the e-mail and want to open it. For example: [Prospecting] E-mail Tips
- If you’re inserting a video, limit your e-mail to no more than 90 words to entice recipients to listen. Don’t waste their time reading. Get them to the video.
- Avoid graphics. These are hard to read on smart phones and often are confused with junk mail, causing them to be mistakenly deleted.
- Plan one or two e-mails per training hour. Schedule the e-mails to be sent over the course of six to eight weeks to bring about permanent behavior change. One e-mail per week is plenty and won’t overwhelm.
- Send the e-mails to managers, too. We find that they use the content in team meetings to adapt the training to specific actions they want their employees to take, further extending adoption.
- To send programmatic e-mails, consider systems such as Constant Contact, iContact, or Mail Chimp. They allow you to schedule e-mails and see who has opened them and who has clicked on video links.
- Limit the length of your video to three minutes or less. This keeps participants’ interest and guarantees they’ll listen to the end.
- Expand on one tip from the training and close with an easy call to action.
- Videos don’t need to be professionally made, but they do need to look professional (think dress code and a steady hand on the recorder). Use an interesting spokesperson and compelling content.
- Post videos in-house or on a private channel on YouTube or vimeo. I recommend having people livestream the videos, not download them. This way you can reuse them, too. Amazingly, people don’t remember unless it’s unusual content.
- If you don’t have access to video, use a technology such as Brainshark, which creates a PowerPoint presentation with audio, and the potential to be much more. It may not be as dynamic as video, but still works well.
- For major programs such as a significant sales training initiative, consider using social media networks to create a community around your topic. Create private groups in LinkedIn or Facebook where people can share successes and ask questions.
Visit http://www.klagroup.com/techreinf and we’ll send you a sample of one of our reinforcement videos and e-mails.
Kendra Lee is an IT seller, prospect attraction expert, author of “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. KLA Group develops custom training programs to help clients break in and exceed revenue objectives in the small and midmarket business (SMB) segment. For more information, visit http://www.klagroup.com or call 303.741.6636.