Here’s a scenario we’ve seen regularly: a SaaS company launches a new product feature. Customer Success was given no training to understand how to support customers for the launch. Your marketing team doesn’t have a handle on the best way to hype the offering up to your audience. And your sales team mishandles the information, leading to an expensive fix with a deal.
How did this scenario happen? Because the company did not prime their team by delivering product knowledge training before launching the update. For many SaaS companies, especially start-ups, it feels daunting to get every detail across the team while meeting deadlines. To be successful, SaaS companies must foster knowledgeable staff to build their brand and sell their offering.
If you deliver product knowledge training to your team, you can increase business growth. Delivering contextually relevant product knowledge training to your team also reduces friction and churn with your customers. Additionally, training empowers your employees by giving them the best knowledge to succeed in their roles. Let’s look at some practices that any SaaS company can benefit by leveraging product knowledge training.
Why product knowledge training is important
The above scenario sounds preposterous—maybe even impossible to many of you. But as experts in online training, we assure you one part of it is happening now with your team. If there are no procedures for SaaS product training, employees may not even be aware of the knowledge they’re lacking. This means at best, an error like one from above would be the first instance they realize something’s missing.
Instructional design best practices include considering these scenarios to prevent mishaps post-training. So if you’re already delivering team enablement content, consider including regular product knowledge training alongside it.
We’ve also found that a well-trained staff can become a competitive advantage for SaaS companies. By offering your team SaaS product knowledge training regularly, you’re guaranteeing improved performance. How does that play out from a business growth perspective? Have a look at the stats below:
- Companies with highly engaged teams achieve a 21% increase in profitability.
- Without effective onboarding and enablement training, turnover can be as high as 50%. That means you’re losing money by not training your team and having to regularly replace them!
- 84% of employees in Best Performing Organizations are receiving the training needed to accomplish their goals. So if you want to improve your employees’ goals, deliver the training they need to meet those outcomes.
- 15% improvement with low-performing sales team members, helping them to excel.
We’re guessing one of those probably got your attention. Product knowledge training is part of a holistic approach to helping your team and business growth. So now we’ll get to some practices on how to implement product knowledge training for your team on your SaaS product.
💡 Pro Tip: If you need help mapping out when you should create or deliver that training, check our learner first eBook. We strongly believe in designing training around learners to reach the best outcomes. This resource can help you learn about instructional design so you can start improving your training today.
Product knowledge training starts before it goes live
This first practice might seem obvious, but a crucial step can also be the easiest to neglect.
Before a product touches customers’ hands, it has to go through your team. The process below may look a little different for some companies, but it’s a rough idea of why product knowledge training is paramount:
- Online training for marketing makes sense on several levels. But product knowledge training is key for marketers to understand how best to share this product with their customer base. Accurate information is important here because if your marketers don’t know what to say, there can be a spread of misinformation.
- Sales need training so they’re able to leverage this information in the process of closing deals. Knowing a SaaS product fully can ensure your sales team maximizes the value to leads in your sales funnel.
- Customer success leverages this training to help onboard and guide customers. By delivering the most contextually relevant information to your CS team, you can reduce friction at all customer journey stages.
Since this has to happen across the organization, you’ll want to break up which aspects are most relevant for each team. Consider having meetings for some and delivering product briefing documents to others. Disseminating the information to each team in the most effective way possible ensures higher knowledge retention. If your sales and CS teams live in HubSpot, send out an update with a document attached on the platform. For marketers, you could leverage project management tools like Asana and attached a video with a screen-recording of the update.
How to implement SaaS product knowledge training
Since each sector of your business will need a different approach to deliver product knowledge training, we’ll group it into four categories:
- Onboarding—almost all team members will have a similar onboarding experience in regards to product knowledge training. So we’ll start here to get the basics.
- Marketing—we’ll talk about product knowledge training that helps market to your target audience.
- Sales—this will cover the best ways to train around selling the benefits of a product to your prospects.
- CS—this will help your team guide customers to find the ROI of your product and also how to avoid issues.
Let’s examine the best product knowledge training for each below.
For new team members, they’ll need two forms of product knowledge training:
- A complete crash course on what you have to date
- Feature changes and updates you’ve recently made
The first is obvious—if they haven’t used your SaaS product before, they won’t know how to maximize it for their role. The second is to help new hires get in the habit of continuous learning. Contextually relevant training only makes sense if your team is driven to learn in the flow of work.
For onboarding, consider delivering product knowledge training via hands-on experience with a seasoned member of your team. By letting new employees fully experience your SaaS product from an expert, they’ll learn best practices for the future. This can also help employees get ideas on the best way for your customers to succeed with your product.
Follow this experience up with online training that covers the ROI of features, benefits for customers, and any industry standards. Provide real metrics tied to customer use cases so they understand how people are using your SaaS product. And finish with a quiz to reinforce your training experience.
Since the first section of onboarding product knowledge training will be somewhat evergreen, consider a revision process. Every month, tie a secondary training session that covers new updates to the product. Every six months, deliver a review process that brings your team back to refresh on the product knowledge. And every year, revise the original training process to add new content from updates of the previous year.
Marketing will be one of the first steps to getting product knowledge training. Since they create assets to explain your offering to customers, they’ll require more time training. So start by drafting a product release or update schedule to help plan for training creation and delivery to match the launch.
Once you have a calendar, consider not just product knowledge, but how customers might find value in your product. Will a specific aspect save customers time, or bring them benefits to their business? Knowing that as a marketer can help raise brand recognition, and brand recognition is a clear path to customer loyalty.
For training delivery, considering giving your marketing team access to a test account of your SaaS product. Marketers can come up with great ideas by getting self-directed training to explore for USPs. This is also a great way to leverage blended learning because you can refer back to their experience in training. Delivering an assessment of product knowledge via quiz or form also helps build knowledge retention.
The product team should also meet with your marketers regularly to ensure everyone is across best practices for product knowledge. This also ensures your marketing team will always be up-to-date on the latest product knowledge.
Sales employees need product knowledge training that covers both best practices but also how customers can benefit from your product. For sales staff to receive this knowledge best, it needs to be delivered via microlearning. That way they have small chunks of information they can pull from whenever they need it. Microlearning also makes it easy to break down aspects of your product knowledge training such as by:
- Benefits customers would find valuable.
- Best practices for leveraging your SaaS product
- Use cases that previous customers have found
- Any USPs to stand out amongst competitors
By breaking your product knowledge training down into microlearning like this, you’re able to deliver contextually relevant information. Microlearning is also perfect for mobile learning practices that build knowledge retention. This has been proven to be incredibly effective as mobile training for millennial and Gen Z employees.
The other side of product knowledge training your sales team requires is from a technical aspect. What security standards does your product meet? What are the specifications regarding system requirements? Having this product knowledge available in either a knowledge base or glossary-style document is invaluable. Customers have niche use case requirements, so ensuring your sales team has all the answers is critical for success. This information can also be updated and managed by your product team as updates or standards are rolled out.
Customer Support and Success (CS)
Many SaaS companies like Typeform understand the importance of the time-to-value customers require from a product during onboarding. They also found that effective product training can reduce that time by as much as 70%! That means if you can deliver product knowledge training to your CS team, you can save valuable time and prevent customer churn. You’ll also see your customer onboarding costs decrease because they’ll need less time to get value from your SaaS product.
As CS is the gateway to customer success and the barrier to churn, they’ll require the most product knowledge training. Similar to sales product knowledge training, you’ll want to gather a set of resources to enable CS process success.
Consider delivering a robust product knowledge library that can be accessed anywhere. Accessible learning content can aid in providing knowledge when a CS agent needs it most. You’ll also want to give CS a training experience that helps with troubleshooting potential SaaS product issues. This ensures they’re able to handle basic fixes and know when to flag your development team when it’s something major. Lastly, send out videos and screen-recordings of any product details that CS could find valuable. Sometimes, this will be for training, but they can also be repurposed for helping customers get a visual example.
Product knowledge training for SaaS companies doesn’t have to be difficult. And if you apply the practices above, you can get real value out of your training process. For even more ideas on how to leverage online training with your team, chat with us! Our experts have developed hundreds of solutions to create scalable growth for businesses like your own.
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