What to Look for in an LMS for Manufacturing: Evaluating 3 Options
Most general purpose learning management systems (LMS) can help you consolidate and standardize general, company-wide employee trainings. They’re often built for companies that have one department (such as HR) creating all training material. With this kind of system, departments have to submit a request anytime they need new training to be built. That request then enters a long queue where it could take weeks or months to complete.
But for manufacturing companies, a major need in choosing an LMS is the ability to rapidly add product training and sales material for both internal and external teams to keep up with quickly changing products.
In terms of training sales teams, weeks or months is often too long to wait for new training materials. If the sales team doesn’t have access to new training almost as soon as the new product comes out, sales have already been missed.
Additionally, general purpose LMS systems don’t provide an easy, secure way for manufacturing companies to share product trainings with channel partners. Often reps have to take time away from their own sales to train channel partners or partners have to glean product information from dense PDFs and long presentations. This makes it difficult for partners to gain a thorough enough understanding of the product to make sales and meet quotas.
Having worked with manufacturing companies such as HP, Pepsico, Samsung, and Land-O-Lakes for 20+ years, we’ve found there are several key features that will help you manage company-wide training, sales specific training, and channel partner training all from one platform.
In this post, we’ll cover each of these features using our training solution, Brainshark — a Bigtincan company — as an example. Then, we’ll cover two more general LMS for manufacturing.
- Enable subject matter experts and successful reps to easily share knowledge
- Create individual repositories to easily share current product information with channel partners
- Increase mindshare with voice enriched just-in-time learning
- Ensure reps can articulate the value of every product before the sales meeting
- Manage all trainings from one platform with custom integrations
Book a demo to find out how Brainshark can help you increase mindshare, provide faster onboarding, and keep everyone up to date on individualized training.
Enable subject matter experts and successful reps to easily share knowledge
(Rather than relying on HR to create product specific trainings)
In large manufacturing companies, it can take weeks or months for training on new products to be made and sent out. This is because sales teams don’t have an efficient way to create training on their own. Many sales teams are reliant on a separate department to create trainings because the content authoring software is complicated and time-consuming to use.
Brainshark’s content authoring makes it easy for anyone to create engaging material in under ten minutes. Subject matter experts and leading reps can leverage content they already have (PDF, PowerPoints, Excel sheets, etc.) by uploading it into Brainshark and adding interactive elements (such as quizzes or embedded hyperlinks). They can make the content more memorable by adding voice overs and videos. This means you won’t have to wait in long queues, instead your leading reps and subject matter experts can quickly create whatever training courses the team needs.
These specialized trainings are all hosted in Brainshark so reps can access them as soon as they’re created and return to them at any time. Additionally, all training is available offline on our mobile app for easy elearning. Reps can access training from anywhere — such as right before a meeting in a warehouse with poor reception. Scores and comments get updated when the device is back online.
The Brainshark content authoring feature can also be used for training employees in any department. If employees on the factory floor need a quick refresher on FDA or OSHA requirements, online training to cover the highlights can easily be created.
Create individual repositories to easily share current product information with channel partners
(Rather than by sending documents to be downloaded)
Many companies that resort to emailing PDFs and presentations or sharing physical brochures with partners find it’s difficult to:
- Ensure that outdated content isn’t being used. Often content is saved on personal devices, which means you’re relying on how organized the partner is. If they can’t remember if there’s a newer version of the document or where they saved it, they may revert back to an old version.
- Control which products you want distributors to be selling. If you want to start pushing a new product, it can be difficult to convince partners to veer away from what they already know unless you have engaging training on the new product.
- Make content easily accessible for just-in-time learning. Like we mentioned above, partners are more likely to sell products they’re familiar with. Often product trainings are too long or dense for distributors to remember the information or be able to quickly brush up on the information. Additionally, trainings are often shared via email attachments which can get buried in long email threads and full inboxes.
The best way to solve this problem is to create a secure, interactive content-sharing system. Being a part of Bigtincan’s Learning offering, which offers robust content management features, Brainshark lets you create content microsites that can host any type of file or dynamic content, including audio or video.
You can create a separate repository (what we call a ‘microsite’) for each partner with just the information that’s relevant for them.
The microsite is shared via a unique URL, so they won’t need to download and manage another app.
All updates are synced with the content on this site, so distributors will always have the latest version. You can add or remove content at any time. You can control which documents or presentations (if any) can be downloaded. All of this ensures your partners are working off of the latest information.
Not only can you control which content is being used, partners will also be able to easily pull up any content to quickly review. This makes it much easier for them to become familiar with your products and convey the benefits of those products to their clients.
Additionally, your own reps can create microsites to share information directly with customers.
You can learn more about how to use microsites as a digital sales room in this article.
With either use case, the microsite tracks user activity so you can gain valuable insight into how the assets are being used. For example, you can see when an asset has been viewed, which part of the content was viewed for the longest, which assets are viewed the most frequently, etc. All of this information is arranged in a user friendly reporting dashboard.
Increase mindshare with voice enriched just-in-time learning
(Rather than relying on dense PDF’s and in person presentations to train partners)
Channel partners are more likely to sell products they are familiar with and can clearly articulate the value of. If they aren’t comfortable selling your new products, the best case scenario is that they will revert back to selling your older products. The worst case scenario is that they will choose to sell competitor products instead of yours.
We’ve found there are two main ways to help your partners retain new product information and help your products stand out from the competition:
1. Add voice overs to product presentations.
As mentioned above, Brainshark makes it really easy to record yourself (on camera or mic) and your screen simultaneously.
Hearing about the product in addition to seeing the visual presentation makes it easier for your partner to stay focused throughout the entire training and remember the information. You will also be able to direct their attention to specific aspects of the product that are important and provide more details that may otherwise be lost in a block of text.
2. Create short trainings and refreshers.
Most reps (including partners) rarely have time to sit through long training videos or read dense product sheets. Even if they do make it through the entire content the first time, they often don’t have time to sift through the material again if they need a refresher on a specific aspect of the product.
Additionally, studies show that retention is much lower if given the same content in one long session rather than in multiple shorter sessions.
Using Brainshark, you can break down dense product sheets and log presentations into short, easily digestible pieces of training. Partners can then review these whenever they have a few minutes and right before meetings.
Ensure reps can articulate the value of every product before the sales meeting
(Rather than missing sales because of in the moment learning)
Many new employees get trained by having a manager (or more experienced rep) ride along on sales calls or by going through mock calls back at the office. These can be difficult to schedule and are often less structured which means it’s more difficult to ensure the rep is fully prepared to handle objections and sell the product.
To solve this problem, many tools offer a basic video coaching feature that lets reps record a video of themselves giving a sales pitch. Then, the video can be assessed by management or whoever is responsible for training.
This can be very valuable for gaining subjective feedback from experienced professionals, however, using this method on it’s own has a few shortcomings:
- If you want to know how many filler words are being used, you have to sit and count them.
- You’re relying on the same person or group of people to provide feedback, so the feedback may be limited.
- Often the person assessing the video already knows the rep, so it’s unlikely they’ll be able to give objective feedback based on how a stranger might perceive their tone of voice, body language, etc.
- It’s difficult to give an accurate assessment of how many filler words were used or the speed and level of speech used.
Brainshark’s coaching feature fills in these gaps with AI-powered assessment (what we call machine analysis) and readiness scorecards that integrate with Salesforce. Brainshark also makes it possible to share any video with peers to get feedback before submitting the video for official review.
Machine analysis gives you insight into how many filler words were used (and which ones), how fast or slow the rep was speaking at any given time, what level of vocabulary and speech the rep used, whether specific words were included or avoided (new product names for example), and what the overall emotional impression was in terms of body language, tone of voice, etc.
Brainshark’s readiness scorecards give you visibility into the overall online learning progress and performance of individual reps, the team as a whole, or specific curriculums. If a new product was recently rolled out, you can see who has yet to complete the training and who may need more training because of a low score.
Brainshark lets you pull in data from Salesforce to view sales KPIs alongside scores from learning activities. This helps you find correlations between how reps are performing in the field and how they performed in training.
If a sales rep is good at bringing in new leads but consistently has trouble closing the deal, you would be able to see if they scored low — or didn’t complete training — on how to handle objections. This gives you the ability to diagnose skill gaps before they affect performance out in the field.
Brainshark also gives you the ability to integrate with your CRM. By pulling CRM information into the scorecards, you can create reports that show you the overall impact of your training programs and ROI. Without this reporting automation, sales managers would spend hours compiling data to form a report.
Scorecards can also be useful for other departments besides sales. For example, on the factory floor, many teams require ongoing safety training and monitor how often accidents happen.
If an accident happens, you can look back and correlate the accident with how the individual or the team performed on related trainings. Then you can assign (or quickly create) additional training.
Manage all trainings from one platform with custom integrations
Brainshark can house all manufacturing training material from compliance management training to sales specific coaching. You can import any training material you already have into Brainshark. If your company is already using an LMS for general HR training and new hireonboarding, our team will help you create a custom integration so your reps can access all training from one platform.
Additionally, Brainshark offers a built-in integration with Salesforce, so your reps can access training without disrupting their daily workflow.
SAP Litmos is a learning platform that combines pre-packaged online courses with in-house content creation and coaching. Their offering to manufacturing companies is heavily focused on compliance training, and content creation is entirely based on uploading content into SCORM compliant templates. Their video coaching feature does have a simple AI-powered component that tracks rate of speech and keywords (which words were used or not used).
Litmos also offers gamification to engage learners and an analytic and reporting feature for measuring training success based on completion rates and scores.
Docebo lets you upload content in various forms (PDF, PowerPoint, Word, etc.) and add interactive features such as test questions. However, they don’t consider themselves to be a content authoring tool. Docebo encourages informal content creation in the form of short, interactive training that they call ‘content pills’. You can also create automatized surveys.
Docebo lets you create custom portals for channel partners, however, their focus is primarily on training internal reps. They offer 400+ integrations with other business management software that help you view analytics on how training is related to business results.
Empower Your Reps and Channel Partners with Brainshark
Brainshark is more than just a manufacturing LMS — it helps manufacturing companies increase sales by making training on new products and key skill sets accessible and engaging for both internal reps and channel partners. Easily create the training your team needs — when they need it. Share new product information with partners through individualized and secure microsites.
Schedule a demo today to see how Brainshark can be customized to fit your training needs and learn more about pricing.