From Relationship Managers to Business Consultants
Many Moons Ago…
…I began working with a great team at Amway on transitioning its global sales account managers from administrative/relationship-building roles to strategic, business consultants or trusted advisors. This revolutionary change in position and perspective prompted the global sales learning and development team to also radically evolve its approach to training new account managers.
As The World Turned…
… through several iterations of traditional blended learning solutions and programs, all which served their purpose at various points in time but were not necessarily sustainable, Amway global sales started looking for new ways to improve the learner experience and increase its reach across its global markets using the latest learning technologies. Then the global pandemic hit and the need to deploy effective virtual training efficiently became even more imperative, further supporting the proof-of-concept to move from a traditional learning management system (LMS) to a new learning experience platform (LXP).
The selection of an LXP supported and complimented the in-progress learning journey design that took a closer look at offering a mix of self-paced learning, activities and assignments in the workflow, collaboration and competition with global staff and other learners, and a carefully curated sampling of existing resources and other helpful tools. The LXP also quickly began to present itself as better learning and support not only for onboarding new account managers but also for providing a toolkit for account managers already in the role and at the moment-of-need.
Before We Could Rest…
… we realized we needed to test (aka pilot)… and learn, from another whole new position and perspective. You see, our content was already vetted and approved by all of our subject matter experts. In addition, the LXP platform itself was already functioning in the Amway IT environment. But to truly prove our concept, we needed to know how the experience would FEEL to account managers and training administrators alike, who were very used to how training had always been done.
A Whole New World…
…of evaluation emerged — at least one that was new to me and the team. Here are the steps we took to test and learn:
- Created an evaluation checklist to navigate our testers through the new learning experience (and ensure we gathered enough baseline data to satisfy the proof-of-concept).
- Encouraged testers to then freely explore other parts of the program (to open their eyes to the entirety of the new experience).
- Asked testers to complete an experience journal, noting impressions and reactions about what delighted, disappointed, and surprised them along the way (aka qualitative data, which is also very important to gather in the global sales business consultant/trusted advisor role).
- Asked testers to complete a survey (aka quantitative data, which is the other part of the data story that is also important to the target audience role).
- Conducted focus groups with each market to dive deeper into feedback (and allow a chance for testers to verbalize their feedback in more detail).
What emerged was a rich learning experience for the testers, rich data for the creators, and what will hopefully be an equally fruitful learning experience for learners in the future. In my future, I will learn from this evolution and include a more experience-focus in my learning and evaluation solutions.
Take a listen to Innovative Learning Group’s podcast series, Once Upon a Training. In “Chapter 2: “The Learning Journey – From Relationship Managers to Business Consultants,” Brandy Mikkelsen, Amway’s Lead Training and Development Specialist, gives a detailed account of this project from Amway’s perspective.