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Lessons Learned While Launching a Learning Platform in 9 Months Blog Feature

Lessons Learned While Launching a Learning Platform in 9 Months

From start to finish in 9 months, Richardson reinvented their go-to-market strategy with what they coined the Richardson Learning Architecture based on a new platform which enabled a plethora of new competitive capabilities. This reignited Richardson’s 40+ year history in delivering compelling sales training to be as nimble as a startup.

In a recent webinar hosted by ATD, Richardson's Chris Tiné detailed how he implemented Richardson Accelerate™, a digital learning platform that has improved learner engagement and bottom-line revenue. BenchPrep’s CEO, Ashish Rangnekar, joined to share how BenchPrep's advanced online learning platform allowed Richardson to deliver Accelerate™ in less than 9 months. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges that were encountered and how Richardson overcame them to deliver a modern, blended learning product that ultimately enabled their learners to achieve greater success.  

Behind Every Great Transformation is a Strategic Partner

A transformation in less than a year (9 months to be exact) isn’t possible without a strategic partner behind the scenes. By partnering with BenchPrep, Chris Tiné’s vision of reinventing sales training to drive market share and incremental revenue growth in the competitive sales training market was made possible. Not only did Richardson need a world-class learning platform, but they needed a blueprint for digital learning transformation. BenchPrep’s framework for a digital learning transformation would be an ideal foundational layer to build upon to realize Tiné’s vision to reinvent Richardson’s sales training, which centered around what modern learners expect in digital learning.

The Challenges

Sales training is not easy, as Chris says, “We don’t just train knowledge - we’re teaching sales skills which requires adult behavior change.” Not only was Richardson faced with driving scale, but they were also challenged with how to drive meaningful engagement that changed people’s behaviors.

Sales organizations are faced with a few unique challenges. One is that they actually perceive themselves as losing money or productivity for every day that a salesperson is not in the field or out selling. We hear about trends reducing time in the classroom, but for sales, that time has an actual monetary value attached to it: for every minute they are not in the field they are losing money. This means that if Richardson were to move their training online, they would need to prove the value in that online experience.

A second challenge is that the average sales organization doesn’t come into the office or sit in front of a computer all day, but instead are on the go and traveling frequently. Keeping this in mind, it was important for Richardson to create a sales training program that could meet the needs of their learners wherever they are.

The last challenge Richardson was faced with relates back to not just embedding knowledge, but really changing the behaviors of the learners. The question was how can we get learners to not look at training as just an event, but instead look at learning as an on-going journey?

The Solution: Richardson’s Learning Architecture Philosophy

The fuel to motivate both the Richardson and BenchPrep team to operate as one was to focus around a benchmark that everyone could rally behind. Learners don’t compare their training experiences to other training experiences. They compare the experience to all other formal and informal learning experiences that they’ve had. Success wouldn’t come from achieving parity with sales training competitors though, but would instead require outside of the box consumer grade media that learners are using in their everyday lives to train themselves such as:


With the team all marching in the same direction on a common benchmark, they also needed a simple but compelling learning architecture to build their new learner-centered sales training around. Tiné’ set out to enable this learning architecture around four principles: See It, Try It, Check It, Apply It, that would guide and engage a learner to change their behavior based on bite-size videos and learning modules no longer than 15 minutes with interactive assessments, gamification, personalized learning paths, and more.


Anticipating and Overcoming Predictive Failure Points

After honing in on the goals of the new training program (helping learners succeed, getting to scale, and improving learner engagement), Richardson mapped out the predictive failure points that could cause the engagement to go wrong. From there, they looked at how they could reverse engineer their platform based on those points to create a blended learning model that took the best of what Richardson traditionally did in the classroom while leveraging best practices and new benchmarks to create an end-to-end learning experience. Here’s what that process looked like from start to finish:

7 Predictive Failure Points & Their Solutions

  1. Not bought into the value of training (solution: created a baseline skills assessment)
  2. Prework was largely ignored (solution: created knowledge acquisition video modules)
  3. Diluted workshop impact resulted from the skepticism of the training and the lack of pre-work completion (solution: scenario based skill application)
  4. Applying learned skills (solution: created a customized facilitated workshop)
  5. Forget what they learned (solution: gamification, badges, achievements, email capabilities)
  6. Report back to old habits (solution: on-demand performance support modules)
  7. Progress is not readily visible (solution: leverage analytics and coaching insights to provide feedback)

Was the Transformation Successful?

Richardson inevitably helped their learners succeed by addressing predictive failure points that could cause training engagements to struggle. Each point was combated with a solution that ultimately provided the learner with a modern, blended learning product. Richardson was able to retain more customers, retain customers for longer periods of time, and acquired new ones by implementing this new comprehensive learning platform.

The ultimate benchmark of success can be captured in one quote shared by Chris during the webinar:

“Probably the most gratifying comment I get when learners use the platform that we put together built on BenchPrep, is they go through the modules and say ‘Wow! – This doesn’t feel like any other training program I’ve been through before.’ ”

Want to learn more about Richardson Accelerate? Check out our full case study!

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