The Trials of Training
"Effective training and learning organizations ensure that an environment that is conducive to learning is set up regardless of whether it is on or offsite," says Wilkerson. "The key is to provide your associates time that cannot be interrupted." He adds that another key to learning is that associates must complete their pre-work before attending class. As to depth of training, the key issue is whether the salesperson should know just enough about a product to sell it (referring complex technical questions to the service department), or if they should be cross-trained.
"If an organization is going to link training to sales metrics there must be a tie to product knowledge," Wilkerson maintains. "The more knowledgeable an associate is in this area, the better. Consumer electronics is constantly changing and progressing. When both the sales associate and consumer share their knowledge and experiences, this is where the retail experience delivers real value and establishes relationships."
Here the advocates of Web-based training claim a specific advantage. Sales associates can learn at home, at a pace and schedule that match personal convenience with the time-to-knowledge requirements of their employer.