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The Learning Experience Evolution

In support of an enterprise-wide global sales organization initiative, Amway transitioned its global sales account managers from administrative relationship managers to strategic business consultants. This revolutionary change in position and perspective prompted the global sales learning and development team also to radically evolve its approach to training new account managers. This is where Innovative Learning Group (ILG) jumped in.

Situation

Amway, based in Ada, Michigan, is one of the world’s largest direct selling companies, which manufactures and distributes nutrition, beauty, personal care, and home products that are exclusively sold through independent Amway Business Owners (ABOs).

To help drive growth, Amway launched a global initiative called Leader Growth Solutions (LGS) to up-skill and further develop its on-staff account managers, who are the key members of the global sales organization responsible to work directly with ABOs. The goal of LGS was to enable Amway account managers to become strategic business consultants, driving profitable and sustainable business growth for both ABOs and Amway by adding value to ABO businesses and, in turn, enabling the growth of ABO leaders.

While these goals may sound straightforward, LGS was a major turning point for the global sales organization and its account managers. Historically, account managers had an administrative relationship management role with ABOs, meaning account managers extended their services in reaction to ABO needs or requests. Now account managers were being asked to proactively consult with ABOs and build credibility as advisors.

Solution

Learning Architecture

ILG and Amway began the project by following a learning architecture process supported by performance-analysis thinking, which included:

  1. Create a clear line of sight from knowledge and skills to the business goals.
  2. Identify existing resources and competencies to leverage and define content gaps.
  3. Create learning road maps for each role.
  4. Create detailed learning and performance solution specifications.

Blended Learning Solution Design and Development Workshop Series The team then developed a series of immersive, live workshop experiences to level-set the current account managers and their managers. The workshops began with foundational knowledge to introduce the new mindset, the intent and purpose of the initiative, and how the new consultation process would change their roles in day-to-day operations.

Next came the Collaborative Account Planning and Development workshop that provided the details of each phase of the new consultation process and included multiple opportunities to apply and practice the new skills through various activities and case studies.

Then the need evolved for a deeper dive into interpersonal and consulting skills — the softer side of account management. This Consulting with Insights workshop helped account managers shift from a prescriptive process for ABOs to follow to one that explained how to position conversations and use questioning and listening skills to follow the path of information to appropriate actions.

And finally, a workshop for managers of account managers addressed how to analyze, grow, and develop their account managers and to assess account manager performance using the same data and insights.

VILT Broadcast Series

To support the multi-year rollout of the workshop series, the team also developed a series of virtual instructor-led training (VILT) broadcasts for the global audience that aired from the Amway global broadcasting studio at Amway headquarters. The VILT broadcasts were used to supplement the workshops with training on just-in-time LGS program enhancements, supporting LGS tools and technologies. These provided quick hits on key critical topics ahead of workshops arriving in markets or in the interim between workshops. The broadcasts were done primarily in the style of interviews with experts and were interspersed with competitive quizzes and practice assignments for participants to take back to the field.

Foundational Microlearnings

As the global workshop rollout was wrapping up, the team started looking at sustainable learning solutions to onboard new account managers and up-skill managers of account managers. The team started a new design and development phase to turn key foundational topics into a series of self-directed online micro-learnings.

Restarting a rigorous design process helped reveal that the magic of the learning happened in practice and application through simulated live activities in the workshops. That magic was getting lost in simply trying to “convert” the workshops to online learning. So, while the foundational microlearnings were still used, the design evolved into a learning experience journey that aligned learning outcomes to application in the “moments-that-matter” on the job.

Learning Experience Journey

Amway partnered with a learning experience platform (LXP) service that allowed the team to develop a learning experience journey that combined:

  • Foundational microlearnings
  • Reading assignments
  • Curated content
  • Application assignments aligned to when the activities would be happening in the job flow

The team worked to craft the experience, creating gateways and opportunities for obtaining learning experience points to foster healthy competition among markets. This iteration became not only the premier onboarding experience of this type within the organization, but also served as the proof-of-concept for obtaining the platform as a learning modality within the organization.

Results

As a result of this initiative, Amway global sales organization account managers and managers of account managers were given the tools, resources, and training needed to shift mindsets and become strategic partners to grow ABO business, ultimately growing Amway as a whole. This growth was evident as global sales targets were met and exceeded at increasing rates.

During this journey, the Amway-ILG partnership also re-stormed, formed, and normed into new ways of working together. The teams grew to be comfortable with rapid prototyping, iterating, and getting feedback to make needed updates and changes just-in-time with the changing needs of the role and organization.

To learn more about how Innovative Learning Group can create custom learning solutions to help improve business results, contact us at info@innovativeLG.com.

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