UL Case Study
UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions from the public adoption of electricity to new breakthroughs in sustainability, renewable energy and nanotechnology. Dedicated to promoting safe living and working environments, UL helps safeguard people, products and places in important ways, facilitating trade and providing peace of mind.
UL University is the learning and development organization for UL that exists to drive a competitive advantage for UL through people.
UL chose to partner with PowerObjects to create a CRM training program that would efficiently facilitate teaching UL sales teams CRM and business processes across the globe. To do this, PowerObjects developed a Train-the-Trainer program that allowed 60 UL trainers to learn and understand the CRM system and roll out effective training to their 600 sales representatives.
To make the training program work, PowerObjects’ education team and the UL University team came up with a blended learning approach that included instructor-led training and also a series of videos that were created as pre-learning materials. Taking a blended learning approach minimized the time that sales people were in the classroom. This allowed participants to understand the theory around the sales process and how the tool enabled the process to allow them to get a visual demonstration on how to leverage and use the tool. It also allowed them to apply the skills that they learned during the class.
“PowerObjects and UL University had to be very creative in how we created this learning experience for the participants,” says TJ Covington, Global Learning & Development Program Manager at UL. “A blended approach seemed like the best solution as this is a change initiative. It’s very important that we have our sales leaders in front of the class, not only teaching the class, but really inspiring and educating and helping to lead the change initiative.”
The training program also included rolling out social collaboration tools to enhance the experience for trainers and employees. During the training rollout, Yammer served as a repository for ongoing questions regarding the deployment of training and a go-to place for real-time information. Both PowerObjects and UL had a team member dedicated to monitoring and moderating the site. SharePoint was also utilized to function as an archive where all questions and answers were stored for reference.
The training program that PowerObjects and UL developed facilitated a whole team of salespeople to not only learn a new technology and new sales process, but roll out it in a short amount of time.
UL measured the reaction to the CRM training, we measured reaction to the training as well as the retention of knowledge. “Approximately 600 sales people actually completed our end-of-course evaluation,” says TJ. “In addition to that, on a four point scale, our instructors on average scored about 3.5. That tells us a number of different things. One, they learned something and retained it. Two, our instructors did a really, really good job. They were able to apply that and facilitate training around the globe.”
Because PowerObjects focuses exclusively on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, their educators were able to come up with a curriculum that focused not only on technology but how it enables the sales process at UL.
“For this particular initiative, it was imperative that we had an organization or a training partner that really understood the technology and the tool,” says TJ. “We chose to partner with PowerObjects education team because of their expertise. Not only do they understand learning and development, but they also understood the technicalities of the system. They understood what it took to stand up a system in the organization. That experience is very powerful from an L&D perspective.”
PowerObjects helped UL University utilize the social collaboration tool Yammer to further drive training and user adoption. Through this system, trainees could access session information immediately rather than waiting for an email back. They could also pose questions to the greater group and search on topics relevant to their interest.
“The real benefit of using social collaboration tools is that the questions and information can happen in real time,” says Helen Allen, who handles UL University Communications. “Social collaboration just lends itself to being immediate, and at the point of need. It could be an app on their phone or on their desktop, and they were able to get answers almost immediately.”
“As an inside sales manager, and also as a trainer, I came to see Yammer as what I like to refer to as my breaking news report,” says LaKeya Clinton, Inside Sales Manager and Trainer at UL. “When I was training there were times where questions were asked during the morning sessions where I had to parking-lot some of the questions. While we were at lunch I checked Yammer, and of course Yammer had some of the questions that were just posed along with the answers. So during the afternoon I was able to come in with answers to all those questions.”
UL chose to work with PowerObjects because of their strengths not only as a provider of CRM services, but also their CRM educational offerings. PowerObjects’ education team was able to bring real-world experience and insight into the classroom, helping trainers understand the technology and how it could be leveraged in their own organization.
“My favorite part of working with the PowerObjects education team was the examples and scenarios that we were using were real life,” says LaKeya. “It just made it easier.”
“The PowerObjects trainers were an extremely integral part of the success of this roll out,” adds Mark Granata, Inside Sales Manager at UL. “The trainers’ knowledge of the CRM tool as well as the ability to work alongside us in training our staff was key.”
The training program developed by PowerObjects and UL resulted in a 93% completion rate among sales representatives. It ensured that all sales representatives from around the globe had the same training on business processes and the technology used to facilitate the sales lifecycle.
“The PowerObjects education team were our master trainers,” says TJ. “They were able to respond in real time to our trainers and provide them with supplemental support as they facilitated the training in their own regions. They actually supported our trainers as they embarked on their journey of delivering training throughout the globe.