Leica Geosystems, a part of Hexagon, is the industry leader in measurement and information technologies. Revolutionising the world of measurement and survey for nearly 200 years, professionals in a diverse mix of industries trust Leica Geosystems for all their geospatial needs.
Effective sales training on new products is paramount, and with many hundreds of sales and support teams dispersed globally, classroom training alone was inefficient. Leica Geosystems would invest heavily in both time and costs for face-to-face training, but typically, only a fraction of staff could be directly trained. The remaining staff would learn through the ‘train the trainer’ approach, but the quality of learning would depend on the knowledge and ability of the trainer.
Leica Geosystems’ Market Development Director Alastair Green said: "The main problem we were trying to solve with online learning was to increase the ability and knowledge of our sales people. This would mean they are better placed to advise and help our customers. The final aim is that our customers are better served and our sale people are more successful."
To meet this objective, the new learning platform needed the following capabilities:
- A consistent, high quality training programme that could be rolled out to a large number of users
- An effective reporting tool
- The ability to use multimedia within courses
- A solution that would be easy to understand and use
- The creation of frameworks for a large number of sub-organisations (around 450)
While the company wanted to replace some classroom learning, Leica Geosystems still recognised the value in this learning approach, and needed the new platform to support classroom training, too.
The organisation also planned to roll the chosen platform out to its customers as part of the second phase in the project. The company aimed to include online training within its 'Active Customer Care Package', a product that can be challenging to sell following the initial product investment.
In July 2016, Leica Geosystems decided that the open source platform, Totara Learn, would be the best solution to meet its needs. The extensive reporting capability was a key attraction, in addition to its ease of use, which would help ensure a smoother and quicker user uptake. The fact that the system was well-known also gave the company reassurance of the stability of the platform.
Leica Geosystems appointed Totara platinum partners, HowToMoodle, to assist them with the project. HowToMoodle enabled Leica Geosystems to create a look and feel that matched the company’s branding, and helped accelerate the launch with extensive onsite training to key team members. The Totara site was hosted with HowToMoodle at their UK-based ISO 27001 hosting environment, delivering a fully managed hosted solution.
Following launch, Leica Geosystems experienced a mixed response from the sales and support team. While many were happy with the new system and the opportunity to learn online about the products, there was some concerns about course content, style and layout. Alastair reflected on this, saying: “In hindsight, we should have initially launched to a fewer number of people, obtained feedback, made improvements and then launched the learning globally.” The team at Leica Geosystems has now made the suggested improvements and continues to closely monitor all feedback. As a result, the response to the platform is overwhelmingly positive within the whole team.
Leica Geosystems particularly benefitted from Totara Learn in ways such as:
- Sophisticated reporting: All line managers now have direct access to the platform so that they have a clear overview of completion rates – previously this was something they had no record of and there was no guarantee learners would complete an end-of-course assessment. The ability to report on learner feedback helps managers and the team create online learning, further building and developing their courses as part of a continual improvement process.
- Supporting classroom learning: With Totara Learn, Leica Geosystems’ classroom training is much more efficient. Prior to a new product release, online training is delivered to all sales staff, followed by classroom training to key members. The process is now much more collaborative than simply transferring information.
- Multiple assessment options and multimedia functionality: Online learning allows Leica Geosystems users to return to courses and repeat sections, test their knowledge with quizzes, and take part in interactive sessions. The multimedia functionality has given the company the ability to create attractive courses with videos, images and audio that engage learners and greater enhance the learning process.
- Hierarchies and frameworks: Totara Learn enables Leica Geosystems to create hierarchies to set up frameworks to represent the structure of the organisation, which in turn allows relevant mapping to job roles, management levels and departments to facilitate specific learning plans.
- Reaching a large, global audience: Totara Learn enables Leica Geosystems to deliver a consistent training programme to its staff worldwide. It’s ability to be fully responsive – in which the user interface will adjust accordingly depending on the device being used – helps support this global reach.
Leica Geosystems has seen solid commercial benefits with the use of Totara Learn to improve staff’s product knowledge and confidence. Following recent training, 300 sales staff received an online questionnaire. In the feedback, the majority of staff felt the efficient delivery of online training had increased their confidence in selling the product, and they could better advise and help customers and, as a result, be more successful. On average, the team thought they could sell between 3-5% more over the year, which equates to several million EUR per year in revenue.
With Totara Learn, Leica Geosystems has high expectations over the next 12 months for increasing sales of some of their more challenging products to move, such as the aforementioned Active Customer Care packages. When asked about the likelihood that customers would buy the package if online learning was included, sales staff agreed that around 5% more would be purchased equating a significant increase in revenue per year.
Following the implementation of Totara Learn, Leica Geosystems has also achieved significant time savings of over 80%, compared with previous training deliveries. Time has been saved through reduced need for preparation, travelling, and time in the classroom.
50% of time savings have also been made through the comprehensive reporting functionality in Totara Learn. An automatic weekly report is generated, taking minimal time compared to the onerous manual data generation process.
In offering advice to other organisations, Alastair comments: “Think before jumping in. Research and look at other courses, so you can learn what course formats work best. ‘Sell’ your online learning platform to your users to help minimise any reluctance on launch.”