Category Archives: Sales

Monotonous to Fascinating: Changing Employee Training Module

Training used to mean boring, but what if you play a game and get trained on a particular niche! Technology has revolutionized our daily lives and so the training. Now with the help of engaging contents, you can provide training to your employees or learn a new technology.

QuoDeck developed a game-based platform to train employees in a fun manner. We spoke to Arijit Lahiri, Co-Founder, QuoDeck Technologies to understand their vision and how it can be helpful for enterprises.

What’s the idea and How you began this journey?

When we started off in 2013, we were looking for a bunch of potential learning games but there was no software. So, we plan to create an engine which will allow us to develop games, specifically for learning. We wanted to pick up this space because most of the learning is fairly boring in the Enterprises, even today. As we have worked in that environment for our careers in Enterprises, we found that learning is very monotonous. We thought that games would make it interesting.

We thought to build a software microservice architecture and over the course of time, we developed a platform kind of web version like Netflix, Amazon kind of approach. Instead of having like one Central Core, we decided to have multiple small services which kind of aggregate the entire API level. So microservices on the API and micro apps on packages on the front-end side, where we are using just for context for backend.

Some of the backends will be on Ruby on Rails, so basically, some of rails APIs are actually Phoenix and Alex API. Also, some backend parts are on PostgreSQL and some are on MongoDB.

For the front end, we earlier used jQuery and all without using the frontend framework. Later on, we migrated most of it to React. Apart from that anything which is created on the QuoDeck framework can also be consumed through Augmented reality apps like Euphoria, Unity or Virtual Reality which is unity based, so it connects to the API.

What sort of API integration has been done?

This is cloud-hosted, some of the microservices can actually iterate what we call Omprem, behind the firewall. So, let’s say there is end number of services which are there in the app. So, they adapted in the firewall which communicates with the client systems with the clouds.

What kind of mechanism you have designed?

We have done a bit of inspiration from On the TV shows Silicon Valley. They had this concept of they were talking about this concept of mobile internet, so what we realize that lot of the calculation, a lot of the analytic which have been done on the server, doesn’t need to be done on the server so.

What we have done! Let’s say there are hundred thousand learners in a particular company he if I aggregate all the data on the server and calculate, it becomes a fairly complex affair. Instead of what that R code does the whole set of calculation and caching and storing at the mobile level.

What is aggregated needs to who goes to the server now again this is not on one single server, we have a set of app servers, which are serving out to do shading calculation by the Mongo app. Basically, we shed out the Analytics so that it allows us to do the whole bunch of real-time otherwise it would take like three days to calculate.

Why would enterprise adopt your solution?

Either they are looking for something which is free, very simple, low maintenance and can deploy easily for Speed. Because it’s a microservices app architecture the entire thing is very modular. You can launch the customized app as we have just launched QuoDeck Express. It is a variant which is built it on the context of speed. What would otherwise it will take maybe like two or three months to setup up and deploy, that can effectively now be done in just 10 minutes. That’s the hyper-speed version of the QuoDeck.

Everything is like merging Google Drive with all the powers of the learning management system. So, ability to start with a very fast system & and scale it up to a very powerful system is what really works for the Enterprises, and it works for most of the companies.

People don’t likely to come out to buy tech, they come out to solve a problem. So, when we try and cater to that this express kind of offering as You take it and get ready and go. Once that is done then are saying like OK this is interesting can we do a little bit more of this. And then you say ok so how this you can scale up the system till you can go to. Its largest we have a deployment which is a group company level deployment which has about 15 companies within it and each, so there is one common app and somebody comes in, they get to see their own branding.

At the most powerful level, there is mobility, there is engagement which is all the game-based learning techniques, and the third is fairly deep and complex analytics. Learning should be measurable, it should be treated more like a Marketing activity and not just as a charity activity for people in-house.

By Ashok Pandey, author at CioL

This article was first published on CioL

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Why is measuring training effectiveness important to team leaders?

Be it a well-established company or a start-up, investments in training employees is something one cannot afford to skip as it helps the organization grow and remain competitive. However, there is no one-size fit training program that suits all. Hence, it is important to consider various factors like the company objectives, size of the investment, type of audience, etc. to design a training program. But it does not end at designing a training program and executing it. It is important to understand the effects of the program and analyzing them to look up if the program was successful, isn’t it?

Let’s assume all companies in the world conduct training programs – online or offline and procure analytics in some form or shape. However, these analytics are at a broad level across organizations. To achieve the expected objectives, it is important to deep dive into the real problems. All of us have heard that learners must be pushed to take up the training programs at all points in time. And, hence companies are now catering to e-learning, micro-learning, game-based learning, AR, VR, interactivity, and engagement. These fancy mechanisms are new age developments and have cropped out of millennial generation problems.

However, pushing your learners is only going to take you so far. So, what is the real problem?

The real problem is the belief a learner has a training program and the value it adds to his career or personal growth whatsoever. You as a team lead can help your teams believe in the value-add of the training program. How will you do that?

In all companies, training programs are run and executed by team leads across their respective teams at a grassroots level. It hence becomes important for team leads to measure the ROI on these programs. Well, the investment here can be considered in time and efforts.

How do you measure the ROI of a training program?

We will look at the elements a team lead should look at while measuring the effectiveness of a training program.

The reaction of the employees As a team lead, it is important for you to understand the responses of your learners to the program. It helps you find out if the course content was easy and relevant to understand, identify and discuss strengths and weakness, view on the key takeaways and if the program was successful in matching the learners’ perception and expectations –

Have your learners learned It is crucial to identify if your learners have learned from the program which is one of the key objectives you have for the training program. You can analyse this by looking at test scores and course completion percentages, etc. These numbers help you identify the gaps in your learners’ understanding giving you a holistic picture of required improvements in your program –

Behavioral Patterns You can easily identify if your learners are using the knowledge, they have gained looking at their performance and attitude at work. Also, surveys and feedback from peers, supervisors, reporting managers of your learners will give you concrete data on your learners

These outcomes help you capture the results of your training program and answer the question of “Why a training program?” with actual data and facts. The results can include: Increased employee retention Increased productivity Higher employee engagement

Understanding the roadblock in the training programs your learners must go through is your responsibility as a team lead. Once you identify the roadblocks, you will be able to conduct your training program effectively and efficiently. This helps you line up with your business objectives with the program enabling you to achieve your goals and KRAs with a more logical approach.

By Shruti Shinde, Head- Enterprise Origination at QuoDeck

5-step guide to kick-starting your digital strategy for sales training


Digital learning is a shift that sales trainers need to get behind as quickly as possible. Designing a good digital strategy can make a big difference to whether your sales training program succeeds or not. Let’s talk about how to get started with implementing a great digital sales training strategy

Every sales trainer needs to have an effective digital strategy for reaching and training their workforce. In the sales segment, this is even more important, because every day that salespeople physically spend away from the field being trained, means another day that sales are not being done. So, reaching them through digital means can ensure that they are focused on what matters to the organization – generating business.

Most sales training follows a blend – a combination of classroom training, mentoring & coaching and digital learning. If you already have a mobile learning strategy in place, then your digital strategy can be delivered right into the hands of your learner. Earlier, the blend of 70:20:10 between these strategies was recommended, however, because modern audiences are much more digitally savvy, this blend has been moving more towards 50:20:30. This means 30% of your workforce’s learning hours will be spent on digital learning that you need to put out.

Is that a terrifying thought? It shouldn’t be! Let us take you through these simple 5 steps to kickstart your digital sales training strategy. 

  • Find a digital delivery platform – A good digital delivery platform is half the battle in your digital strategy. Look online and you can find some pretty exciting platforms that can help you rocket your digital strategy to the stratosphere. The criteria you need to be judging them on are the mobile experience they offer, how easy it is to update and put out your content and how data gets tracked. Check out Docebo, QuoDeck, Grovo, and Litmos.
  • Collate your existing content to get started – You don’t need to create content from scratch to launch your digital strategy. Get started with your presentations, documents, existing videos and even audio podcasts and put them out on your digital platform. You can create as you go along, but to begin with, your existing material should power your first month of learning, so that you can focus on driving consumption.
  • Launch with a mandatory program – The most important milestone when you launch your app is getting your learners to download it. It’s always a good idea to start with a mandatory test or course that your learners are required to go through. Remember to launch with content beyond your first course, so that if learners finish the course and want to go through something else, there is content for them to consume.
  • Fresh content every day – Make sure that you have something fresh to send out every day on your platform. Even if it just a quick 5-question quiz or a nugget of information in the form of a social post, make sure that there is activity on your platform every day. If you can keep this up long enough that your learners get into the habit of checking into the platform every day, you are home free.
  • Track data to understand what your learners like – Your digital platform can give you data on what your learners are consuming more of. Track the kind of courses or media that are most popular. You can figure this out by checking two data points – the amount of time spent and consumption levels across your learner base. If any of your learners like this kind of content and they spend a lot of time on it, it’s a good sign that you should do more of it.

Once you’ve kick-started your digital strategy, and gained some momentum, start leveraging your digital platform’s content creation tools to put out more interactive content like games and story-based courses.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

Why training does not get consumed and what can you do about it?

If you’re putting out learning that doesn’t get consumed, it may be because you’re making some very common mistakes with your learning content. Knowing what these are can be half the battle won, as you drive for higher consumption and adoption of your learning.

Ask most learners, and they will say that they don’t consume eLearning because it is snooze-worthy. Most e-learning is boring, not because trainers set out to make it that way, but because it’s not really built to appeal. Today’s audience is more fussy, discerning and can see through almost every learning gimmick that is thrown their way. In such a scenario, how does one appeal to modern learners?

If you’re training a modern workforce, then they are comprised increasingly of Generation Z and millennials, groups that were born into a digital world. These consumers have a glut of digital content, and in as many formats as they want. Content, on a topic that excites their curiosity, is a few clicks or just a search away. There are even apps that serve up a constant stream of entertainment just to ensure consumers can entertain themselves in the few moments that they are ‘bored’.

Smartphone users spend an average of 4 hours a day on their devices, but not on your content To be able to address the problem, let’s try and understand your audience. Estimates put usage of mobile phones among modern audiences at an average of 4 hours per day (eMarketer Research). The challenge you have is stealing mindshare from apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest etc., where users spend close to 80-90% of their time, with the rest spent emailing, texting and using WhatsApp largely.

Your learners need a compelling reason to move away from these platforms and spend time on your online courses, even if these do benefit them ultimately.

So, what are some of the common mistakes that trainers make with eLearning content, that puts off their learners? How can you give learning a compelling reason to consume your content?

Long duration courses do not work anymore

The world has moved to consuming short-form content or microlearning content. Consumer research has shown that 55% internet users read a long-form post or content for less than 15 seconds.

Anything beyond 15 mins and your learner’s attention has wandered to thinking about the latest picture on Instagram or the latest post on Facebook.

Our suggestion: Break your existing content into short nuggets, more in the form of “Did you know?” or “7 ways to make a great sale” to make them appealing to your audience.

Zero to no interactivity puts off learners

Users today need interactivity to keep them engaged. If your content is not interactive and only requires your learner to click the ‘next’ button periodically, then you will lose them very quickly. Ensuring that at least 30% (or 1 in 3 screens) are interactive, is a start to keeping your learner engaged. Interspersing content with games and interactive titbits will not only keep learners talking to your content but will also increase retention.

Our suggestion: Insert a question format every third screen quizzing your learners on what they just learnt.

Absence of multi-media content

Consumers are being engaged across multiple senses today. With the advent of video, just text and visual content does not appeal as much. Therefore, your eLearning content must be peppered with multi-media formats, such as audio, videos, games, etc. Even simple podcasts with a static image will hold learner attention better than plain text. We know it’s expensive to create media-rich content, but there are a lot of tools out there that will allow you to do this for a fraction of eLearning content creation cost.

Our suggestion: YouTube has a lot of free content on various topics. Find short videos that can benefit your learner and include links to these videos in your eLearning content. You can even record 1-minute audio clips and upload them. These can improve your learner’s experience using these tips.

No learner contribution makes for a ‘switched-off’ learner

The world has become a lot more digitally social than before. Consumers engage most when they are asked to contribute to an experience. Reflect to when you obsessively checked your latest post to see the likes, shares and comments it generated. However, most trainers ‘talk at’ the learners rather than have a dialogue with them.

Our suggestion: Have a survey at the end of every course that takes feedback for things like process changes, the online course itself, organization survey, etc. This will provide your learners with a voice.


By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

How to build effective sales training for high attrition teams?

Attrition is, unfortunately, one of the harsh realities that sales trainers have to deal with today. Driving productivity with a changing base of resources can be tough for any business function, but with sales, it ends up hitting where it hurts. Here are some insights to building effective sales training programs in a high-attrition environment.

While companies worry about attrition across all functions, they worry about it the most in sales teams. CSO Insights puts average sales team attrition levels at around 16% – twice as high as any other function. This means sales trainers are training a third of their audience from scratch every year, without accounting for growth in the team.

Attrition in a sales team can have a strong effect on turnover and affect client relationships as well. Especially when that attrition is of high performers, any organization can go a while before finding replacements and getting these new hires to perform effectively. Therefore, the cost of attrition is not only in actual lost revenues but the time value and return on investment on every subsequent hire.

In high-attrition environments, these costs can pile up significantly. With the amount that companies spend to train these teams every year, ROI for these spends can steadily decline unless managed carefully and through effective sales training programs.

Sales trainers have just one job in high-attrition environments – make new people productive in the shortest time possible. Good onboarding programs can help make sales people productive 2 months faster than less effective programs. With such clarity of purpose, this seems like an easy problem to solve. But its not. 71% of companies take six months or more to onboard people effectively according to CSO Insights.

So, what does it take to build an effective sales training program in such high attrition environments? In one word, “standardization”. Here are some critical ingredients that can help you cook up the right recipe to standardize and increase velocity of your sales training program.

Increase the eLearning/mlearning component in your blend

In today’s mobile world, the tendency and receptiveness to consume digital content has gone up tremendously. A 70:20:10 approach – with 70% on-the-job, 20% mentoring and only 10% structured or eLearning – may be outdated, and more expensive than you think. In high attrition environments, placing the burden of on-the-job training on sales managers can mean a further slowdown in productivity. Since millennials are prone to consume a lot more digital content today, given the ease and convenience of doing so, it could be more effective to increase the eLearning/mlearning component of onboarding programs to ~30% to play into your audience’s natural behaviour. Apart from standardizing what is taught to your audience, it also ensures sales managers can focus on productivity and retention among their sales team rather than constantly worrying about training.

Build a eLearning/mlearning repository for informational content

Most sales onboarding programs try and cram in as much information into the first few interactions that a sales person has with the program. Retention typically takes a hit because of this. A more natural way for your audience to consume is to give them online courses with all the information to be imparted that they can explore at their own pace. This will serve as a go-to destination for all sales people to refer to on a regular basis. In some cases, this can also be used as a sales aid in the field, for quick reference before meeting with customers or networks.

Of course, onboarding programs must give critical information to the sales person before they can get started such as product information, company history, sales processes and systems etc. However, including microlearning highlights with references to your online courses repository will ensure they don’t get deluged with a lot of information they ultimately cannot remember. In a high-attrition environment, having this repository will help you send out your sales people into the field faster with a safety net of the reference repository.

Build a culture of contribution in your audience

When performing sales people leave, a lot of institutional learning leaves with them. Whether this is in the form of insights or anecdotes, effective sales trainers aim to capture and build an organizational knowledge repository to draw upon for their programs. To institutionalize this, sales trainers must push for a ‘culture of contribution’ among their sales teams. Having KPIs around knowledge sharing that require all sales people to contribute to a ‘knowledge repository’ can help build such a culture and keep your program current and relevant.

In today’s digital world, generating this content is far easier than you imagine, especially using modern mobile learning products. Instead of asking your experts for PowerPoint presentations – which you will probably never get – ask them to record and post a short video or audio clip with some sales insights, to the social section of your mobile learning app. Most modern eLearning and mlearning platforms will ease this process. Crowd-sourcing such content can help ease your time and budget constraints and promote ownership of the program among your audience. Such content can be drawn upon by your new sales people for sales tips and tricks they would otherwise take many years to learn.

If the holy grail is getting your new folks onboarded faster, then bringing your onboarding program into the new-age may be a great place to start!

Continue to watch this space for our upcoming series on how to drive sales training adoption

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck

Why engagement is a critical ingredient in successful sales training?

Building a performing sales team is the holy grail that all organizations chase – and it’s definitely not an easy task. But building lasting engagement is a critical ingredient that can separate a good sales training program from a bad one.

Sales is the lifeblood of most organizations, and a performing sales team is worth its weight in gold.

Building an effective sales training program is the holy grail that all sales trainers chase – and it’s definitely not an easy task. More often than not, what seems like an easy problem to solve, can be a multi-layered challenge within a changing business and technology environment.

It’s clear that there are no easy formulas that sales trainers can plug in to make their sales training programs effective. But it all starts with ensuring that sales people at least consume the learning. Without adoption, it is futile to worry about downstream metrics like effectiveness, retention and application.

Adoption has many layers, and is very similar to any modern marketing problem. If you think of learners as consumers or ‘app users’ in the modern mobile learning context, problems become a little more apparent.

Just like a consumer app faces uninstalls after an initial period of usage, most learning programs suffer because they focus on creating short-term engagement. A good onboarding course or a gamified learning program will create short-term engagement but will leave learners very little to come back to when they have finished consuming that piece of content.

Therefore, sales trainers typically see good initial usage of their programs, and very little engagement after that.

In a training context, even if this results in a good onboarding experience, it rarely results in ongoing consumption of sales training and communication, Therefore, after the initial onboarding program, when sales people are on the field and need to be trained on new product releases or to address problem areas, getting them back to the training app or platform is as big a problem as when you launch.

So, how can you keep them coming back again and again? Build engagement.

It may help to better understand the psyche of the modern learner to figure out how to create ongoing engagement. In the context of mobile learning, any training app is competing for mindshare with platforms such as Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. These are the apps that your users prefer to spend time on rather than consume learning. What is attractive about these apps, is that they serve up a constant stream of content for users to consume.

Learners will only flock to something which gives them equal engagement and freshness of content. Therefore, the chances of running a successful sales training program improve multi-fold by creating engagement and keeping up a high velocity of content. On average, putting out fresh content every day or alternate day is a good way to pique learner’s interest to see what you will come up next. If the overall quality of learning content you put out is interesting, you should see a upward trend in ongoing engagement levels among your users.

So, how does one do that without having to spent enormous amounts of money to create content? Here are a few tips.

Crowd source content

Most of the real wisdom on sales training comes from subject matter experts from within the organization. Leverage that by asking your internal subject matter experts to provide you with content that you can send out to your learners on a regular basis. A large kitty of content you can keep cycling through will ensure that your learners get to see something new every day or week. Use microlearning principles to nugget this content into bite-sized chunks and you can send out something every day. This will keep learners coming back for more. Ensure that your mobile app puts out push notifications so that learners know that fresh content is being populated every day.

Frequent quizzes and contests

Putting together an assessment is far easier than creating learning content from scratch. Create question banks that you can slice and dice into quick assessments. Create weekly contests and let learners visually see their performance through leader boards. The competitive element should naturally appeal to sales people. It does not matter if some questions are repeated from one quiz to the other. In fact, critical aspects or facts about your product should be repetitive to ensure retention, therefore, repeat those questions across multiple quizzes. These assessments can also help you identify gaps in knowledge and understanding.

Leverage social learning

Take a page out of the book of immensely successful social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and use social constructs to ensure content is always moving and fresh. Identify voices of authority among your sales team – for example, a veteran sales person respected by the team or an opinion leader. Ask them to put out micro-nuggets of content, such as an anecdote about their experience while selling. Ask them to post this content on the social learning section of your learning app. Drive engagement by boosting that post in the social network. This will encourage others to share more nuggets and drive repeat visits.

Use games and gaming

The planet spends around 30 billion hours a week playing games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds – this is natural behaviour. Play into this natural behaviour by giving them games to explore and play with. Having a ‘game arcade’ or library of games that they can try out just for ‘fun’ can be a great way to keep them coming back.

Quick authoring

This is the most obvious of them all. It is important to have your actual learning content out there, apart from the social and crowd-sourced aspects of this. Most learning platforms come with quick authoring and if yours doesn’t, you should find one. Quick authoring tools will allow you to create templatized micro-learning nuggets out of existing content. Ensuring that you have a constant pipeline of content being created will allow you to recycle over a period of time, once new learners enter the system.

Remember, learners should be treated more as app users, where the objective is to create engagement and pull, rather than use push methods to get them to consume learning. As soon as you see learning as a marketing problem, solutions start to appear more readily.

By Kamalika Bhattacharya, CEO & Co-Founder at QuoDeck