Spotlight on: automotive industry learning needs

Published by Dorian Rogers on

Spotlight on: automotive industry learning needs

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A car salesperson doesn’t have a lot of time for learning. They’re on the forecourt or in the showroom and they have a quota to hit. As someone who works in a commercial team, I understand what it’s like to be progressing against a target with little time to dedicate to learning.

I also understand that falling behind on the latest changes in the market and new product features is not an option for me. I need to be up to date so that when I’m talking to potential customers, I’m providing them with the information they need to make a purchase. It’s the same for car salespeople.

So, when learning is essential but finding the time is a challenge, what can a car salesperson do? The answer to this question first requires a dive into the automotive learning landscape, before applying behavioural science thinking to explore potential solutions to meet the automotive industry’s learning needs.

Automotive learning landscape

As this report from McKinsey shows, attracting, developing and retaining talent is the biggest challenge for the automotive industry right now. This is in all areas – leadership, technical, sales and manufacturing. The report puts this challenge, in part, down to technological transformation causing unprecedented disruption in the industry. People, systems and processes can’t keep up with the rate of change.

What does this mean for the learning industry? In short, when things are moving fast, learning solutions need to be available at a learner’s fingertips, as well as being quick to update for those managing learning content and communications.

Information at the point of need

Although certain sales challenges are relevant to all sales teams, there are factors that add extra complexity for those in the automotive industry. A car is an important, high value purchase, and the market is extremely competitive. In many cases it will be the most expensive single purchase someone will make outside of buying a house. Statistics show that a purchaser spends longer on average in a car they are choosing than their future home (less than 30 minutes viewing a home compared to nearly three hours with a car dealer).

For car salespeople, this means that knowing all the options, latest features and product configurations is critical in offering the differentiator to secure a sale. They also need to be able to match the customer need to a product, applying their product knowledge in real world situations.

Looking at this automotive industry learning need through a learning lens, it’s clear that learners need to be able to access product information anytime, anyplace, and to be able to apply that information when a customer is standing in front of them. That means mobile-ready content that’s available at the point of need, i.e. when a salesperson has an upcoming meeting with a customer to discuss their potential purchase of a car.

Real world behaviours

On top of making product learning easily accessible, it needs to be delivered in a way that contextualises product information. It’s no good knowing a product inside out if you don’t know who it’s for and how it could benefit them. We use behavioural science to truly understand learners and their behaviour. Armed with these insights, we design behaviour-led training that helps learners carry out the desired behaviours – in this case, selling the right car, in the right way, to the right customer.

Getting to the point

Imagine you’re a car salesperson. You know there’s a new model out and you want to brush up on the product details before calling a customer back. You open your organisation’s learning platform and you’re presented with… a sea of content. How do you know where to start?

If learners can’t find what they’re looking for pretty much immediately, they’re likely to either give up or to reach out to an administrator or colleague for help. Giving up is no good because it jeopardises their potential sale. Asking for help will work but takes time, of which we’ve established these learners have little.

However digital learning is hosted, it needs to be easy to navigate to and personalised to the user’s priorities. Be clear on what product information car salespeople need to know and why they need to know it. Get to the point as quickly as possible and make the content as personalised to the learner’s role, region and product offering as possible.

We worked with Nissan Europe to deliver personalised, contextualised training to their car dealers. We needed to make sure that sales executives saw the content they needed to and didn’t get bogged down with detail relevant to their technical colleagues. Our solution was an interface that served up relevant, up to date learning that enabled them to be more effective without taking up too much time.

Easy to update

We’ve established the need for up to date content that is easy to find – but who does it fall to create or update that content? As is often the case, an automotive organisation’s L&D team are handed the baton.

Even if car salespeople find five minutes to access information, there’s a problem if the content isn’t up to date. Often, that problem stems from the L&D team requiring time to update complex HTML5 or go to a supplier to make an update.

To fulfil the automotive industry learning need to serve the latest learning content, using authoring tools or interface tools like our Canvas solution can make updating content and comms information quick and easy. Aim to reduce the number of clicks it takes for a learner to navigate to a piece of content and then keep the learning content or comms itself focussed on real world behaviours and easy to access resources.

Get in touch to find out how we use behavioural science and digital design to deliver engaging, measurable digital learning experiences for the automotive industry’s learning needs.

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