TechScholar Case Study: Staples Inc.

Client – Staples, Inc. Staples Technology Solutions (STS)

Staples Inc. fields a stable, highly trained, professional sales team for their direct corporate sales division, Staples Technology Solutions (STS). This specialized team is geographically dispersed and sells high-end office technology solutions from hundreds of manufacturers. They call exclusively on corporate clients and prospects and have demanding annual sales objectives.
This sales team does not require training on “how” to sell products; they are proficient at sales. What they do need is information and regular updates about the products that they sell, and how best to sell them; TechScholar provided this through customized online product training modules.

Training Challenge

Keeping this team current on the newest technology from key suppliers like HP, Lenovo, Brother, Fellowes, and Lexmark – along with a host of smaller providers – had been a time consuming and costly endeavor for the STS management team.
STS reps know that spending too much time “off the road” at lunch and learns, webinars, and hosted product training seminars (which entail travel time in addition to training time) can reduce sales time, and sometimes be less than optimal for their needs. With materials being provided by a wide range of manufacturers, there can be significant variations in the quality of training materials and presentation, and the formats and information provided can be inconsistent.
This type of training often does not help sales reps articulate the value of the products they sell. STS reps prefer timely, consistent, and accurate information on product benefits and differentiators, recognizing opportunities, and product sales approaches: the core material that’s critical to sales success.
  • [icon icon=”ok”]Train the geographically dispersed sales force, which offers the selection of widest technology products in the industry.
  • [icon icon=”ok”] Provide regular updates as products change, and work around the sales team’s demanding schedule of travel and meetings.

Target Sales Rep Profile

This is a professional sales force of high achieving, highly motivated, competitive sales reps who are regularly challenged by demanding customers, significant quotas. Their preferred time allocation is to selling vs anything else.

TechScholar Solutions

TechScholar hosted a dedicated, password protected web application with 80+ STS Product Training Modules (PTM). These were written and produced by TechScholar, for a roster of 21 STS suppliers. Sales reps had access to the campus 24/7/365 so they could complete the training when convenient for them (our analytics showed highest activity during lunchtime and after dinner.)
PTMs were consistent in design and format, so the sales reps could focus on the content.
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   Over 120 professionally-written Product Training Modules (PTMs) produced at a rate of two per month.
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   PTMs cover mission critical products and services from key suppliers like HP, Brother, and Lexmark created in direct collaboration with suppliers.
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   Additional PTMs are created for key service sectors; data center management, networking, remote services and data security, vertical market specialty services.
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   Client branded, online TechScholar Campus that centralizes all key product training, tracks utilization and engagement, and provides comprehensive compliance and comprehension reporting to regional and national sales management.

TechScholar Results

The STS TechScholar campus delivered a comprehensive solution for the sales representatives, STS Management, and the sponsoring manufacturers with product sales training that emphasizes learning and promotes earning.
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   Launched in 2009 this campus has trained over 250 sales reps
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   Over 9,000 hours of verified training completion
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   Over 85% of sales reps complete training with quiz scores of 90% or higher
  • [icon icon=”ok”]   Sales reps consistently rank rank TechScholar as their favored product sales training tool in year over year surveys and completion metrics show that 40% complete TechScholar on their own time (early morning, lunch and evenings)
STS management and the manufacturers who sponsored PTMs were assured that sales reps received and understood the critical product selling information they needed to be successful; the majority of sales reps achieved a quiz score of 90 points or higher on each PTM.
When surveyed, 100% of reps said they feel better prepared for sales meetings after completing a PTM. Over 92% of reps said that TechScholar provided better product sales training than sell sheets, webinars, and distributed PowerPoint presentations.
Training-related savings are estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars for both the client and participating vendors.
Results are evident in the bottom line: Better-trained sales reps close more deals and sell more new products.