Analytical device company has a defined training need
For 50 years, Waters Corp. has developed high-performance liquid chromatography instruments used to separate and identify chemicals and mass spectrometers that help identify chemical compounds.
The Waters sales development and support team typically conducted sales training in a classroom setting — an effective but also very time-intensive and costly process that takes its international sales force out of the field for up to a week at a time.
The training team was investigating a more flexible education system to support and supplement live classroom training, a new approach to educate the sales force.
- With shorter modules (15-20 minutes)
- That can be viewed on mobile devices
- And are easily accessible to every member of the global sales force
How to improve training when LMS options won’t cut it
The company’s LMS options (learning management system options) were effective but cumbersome to use. The linear nature of the platform was not engaging enough, and even if a salesperson knew the course he/she wanted to take, it took several clicks to connect to the specific learning modules.
Waters wanted a 3D virtual environment that was interactive and engaging, one that would remove the feel of staring at words on a computer screen. A strong visual appeal was important, as the Waters team understood that today’s technology users respond better to solutions with images and sound. After reviewing several other virtual environment platforms, the Waters team chose ON24.
Visual appeal of virtual environment draws them in, content keeps them engaged
With the ON24 Virtual Environment platform, the Waters’ sales force has access to an expanded roster of training information and resources, videos, seminars, primers, sales messaging guides and course evaluations — everything related to training, including the LMS courses, all in one place.
The visual aesthetic was an important requirement. When users log on to the ON24 virtual environment platform, they’re entering a virtual training facility, with different “doors” taking them into specific resource rooms.
Waters worked with ON24 and leveraged many of its virtual environment capabilities, including:
- Unique Evaluation Center: Users take a brief quiz, and if they answer a certain percentage of the questions correctly, the evaluation center will suggest the appropriate courses. They then can decide if they want to take the course or not.
- Customized training rooms by product or market: In every room a subject matter expert welcomes the participant via a video. Each room has a custom background and buttons for accessing the e-learning modules, classroom courses and resources.
- Quick course review: Moving a mouse over a course listing, users can view a short explanation of the course, course duration and the average rating by their peers.
Collaborative effort yielding positive reactions
In late March 2014, Waters began a staggered rollout of the virtual training environment to several hundred sales reps and specialists in more than 50 countries around the world.
The sales force’s immediate reaction and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive. Several of the company’s sales managers are embracing the virtual environment, contacting their regional salespeople directly and recommending specific trainings and relevant resources they feel will help increase client conversations and conversions.
Since the launch, the team has run daily attendance reports to identify the number of visits, courses taken, resources downloaded, and the amount of time spent in the virtual environment. Analyzing the information helps the team update and adapt the content to fit the sales force’s learning needs and preferences.
The Waters training team is especially satisfied with the collaborative efforts that brought the virtual environment to life. ON24 proposed the ideal platform with the appropriate capabilities, and Waters understood how they could enhance the platform to add value.
Waters’ goal is to double the audience and the number of virtual environment visits throughout the year compared to the prior platform. It is an objective the team expects to easily reach.