To Support Essential Business During Pandemic, Inkling Customer Reimagines Learning

How do you take essential in-person training and shift to virtual training during a pandemic without losing too much quality?

Imagine that you are in charge of training and development at a major life sciences company and your job is to not only provide sales enablement but to also train customers on complicated medical equipment. Your goal is to make sure that your sales teams receive the information they need to do their job. At the same time, you need to ensure that customers get a great experience from their training so they can use the equipment your company produces to save people’s lives.

It’s March 2020 and you’ve just discovered that the major training facility where your customers go to learn how to use your company’s medical equipment has been closed due to the pandemic—but they still need training because they need to use the equipment as essential businesses like hospitals and medical laboratories. Your field sales team also has been sent home but they still have to do their jobs.

This was the situation for one of Inkling’s customers in the life sciences industry where the challenges facing learning and development were already tough. Because this company was at the heart of the pandemic, it had to think fast about how to deliver traditional in-person training for complex medical equipment virtually without compromising on quality. The learning team also needed to ensure that its sales teams could continue to get up to speed while they were working from home.

To Support Essential Business During Pandemic, Inkling Customer Reimagines Learning

Safety First, Then Go Digital with Learning Content

Once the company had its employees working safely from home and customers had been informed about the postponement of in-person training, the learning team went to work figuring out a strategy. Luckily, most of its sales content was in the process of being “digitized” and made available in one, single source of truth. Having used Inkling to set up a sales library of content, the team already had a lot of on-demand sales learning content set up including podcasts, audio coaching, webinars, and how-to videos. Sales reps unable to visit prospects could easily search content and share it virtually.

For its customers, however, the learning team had to review in-person training content and determine the most critical content necessary to get customers trained as quickly as possible on the medical equipment.

Training Customers During a Pandemic

The team took nearly 40 hours of in-person training content and whittled it down to about 12 hours of just the basics. At first, customers attended live-streaming classes where a company trainer would be in the facility with the equipment walking them through the training but there were issues with the stability of the live streams. The team decided to record videos of trainers and put those into the Inkling library and make those available to customers.

Building on the structure of the standardized content already in Inkling for the field sales team made the process go much faster. Distribution and notifications were already set up so the team could leverage that with customers as well.

Unexpected Benefits from Emergency Virtual Training and Learning

During the pandemic shut down, the learning team had no choice but to move both customer training and sales enablement learning to a digital, virtual environment. While they knew academically that digital transformation would deliver benefits, they didn’t fully realize the opportunities for even more positive impacts.

Of course, there were reduced travel costs for in-person customer training but there were also productivity gains and opportunities for cross-functional collaboration. Though this learning team mainly focuses on the U.S. and Canada, the company is global and was able to leverage the content they developed for virtual training with its counterparts in other global regions.

In the long-term, the learning team will continue to use the virtual training for the basics it developed during the pandemic and combine that with in-depth, advanced customer training in-person once that can happen safely. And for its sales enablement, the team will continue to reduce its paper footprint and start incorporating Inkling’s Learning Pathways for its new hire program to implement competency assessments.

With its new training and learning strategy in place, the learning team feels like it can better handle any future crisis that may come its way.