Product Knowledge Training and Certification
As Identity and Access Management vendors continue to offer advanced technical solutions to mitigate the fastest growing risks in the cybersecurity space, IAM product knowledge training and certification becomes increasingly important for many reasons including brand loyalty, trust, credibility, and leadership. Identity Management Institute partners with quality IAM brands to develop and promote product knowledge training and certifications for brand employees, partners, and customers.
It’s a well-known fact that customers are more likely to purchase products and services from companies and their representatives who can demonstrate in depth knowledge of their product features and benefits. Professionals can demonstrate their knowledge through their interactions with others as well as receiving a certification from an independent organization.
From a sales and revenue standpoint, IAM vendors can leverage a comprehensive product training developed by Identity Management Institute to attract customers, command respect, and gain further credibility in a competitive marketplace. A knowledgeable and certified sales force can demonstrate to potential customers that the brand is serious about solving their challenges through value proposition in the sales cycle.
From a post-sales standpoint, IAM brands can leverage a comprehensive product training to improve the skills and knowledge of their technical staff, consultants, and partners who are responsible for designing, configuring, and implementing solutions efficiently and effectively while increasing productivity and savings for their customers.
Furthermore, system users can also benefit tremendously from a product knowledge training to leverage the full functionality of the IAM products, improve productivity, and increase the return on their investment.
What is Product Knowledge Training?
At their core, product knowledge courses are instructional materials that help product professionals and users better understand the details of the products and services. These courses may include talking points and selling techniques depending on the target audience, however, the primary focus is to increase the depth and breadth of knowledge of employees, partners, and customers who need to be more efficient, effective, and productive. As mentioned, many parties who sell, design, and implement IAM solutions as well as users of such products can benefit from a quality product training and certification. In the case of product designers and programmers who are tasked with improving existing products, a training around current solutions is necessary to ensure their success.
What are the Benefits of Product Knowledge Training Courses?
There are a myriad of benefits offered by product knowledge courses. Consider the following list of benefits:
- Product training attendees will be more confident, engaged, and happier in the workplace and as they interact with the product and its users. When employees are asked to talk about or engage with something they are unfamiliar with, this can cause anxiety and frustration which in turn can lead to a higher employee turnover rate, as well as drop in productivity and overall workplace satisfaction.
- The IAM brand will gain a reputation for offering great training products and employing staff who are passionate and knowledgeable. Revenue and profit will improve as studies have consistently shown that sales increase dramatically when the staff is well-educated about their products and services.
- Product staff will be able to gain customers’ trust and attention because it will be obvious that they truly understand their products and can demonstrate how their solutions solve customer challenges while displaying confidence and enthusiasm. Many customers perform their own research of IAM products before contacting IAM vendors and their sales staff, therefore, it’s important for sales employees to be able to answer general as well as technical questions they might face in the initial contact with potential customers.
- Product employees and consultants who deploy IAM products will be more productive and able to identify product features that need to be activated to meet customer needs while leaving out features that will make the organization less productive and the system more costly. In addition, they will be able to answer their customers’ questions quickly.
- Employees and management of companies that purchase IAM products will be able to use the system to its fullest capacity and improve identity and access management within their organizations while remaining confident about the return on their investment.
- Finally, happier and more confident employees will naturally lead to improved customer experience which can be the difference between success or failure for the brand. The more knowledgeable brand employees are, the better equipped they are to meet customers’ needs. In fact, they can often anticipate needs and create a “surprise and delight” conversation that will leave clients with a lasting impression of the brand.
How are Product Training and Certification Courses Developed?
Generally speaking, IAM product training and certification courses are designed around specific IAM solutions. The training scope is developed in a joint partnership between Identity Management Institute and the solution providers to determine the curriculum which lays the groundwork for developing a detailed product training program. Certain considerations must initially be taken into account such as training length, document format, delivery method, target audience, resources, and responsibilities. Once the high level scope including chapters are determined, IMI works with the solution provider experts to understand the product features, uses, and benefits to create the training program while leveraging any existing documents to make the process as efficient as possible. Finally, when the final document is approved following multiple revisions, other topics are discussed such as training name, trademarks, and training promotion.
What are Typical Training Delivery Methods?
Product training programs can be delivered in many ways depending on user preference, location, and training budget. However, there are a few methods that can be considered to deliver the training content while leveraging available technology for low-cost and effective product training.
- Instructor-Led Classroom – Some people prefer classroom based training for learning new skills and technical topics. They prefer to be among a group of peers who are focused on a common set of topics. This helps with content retention and learning about challenges that their peers face throughout the classroom interaction.
- Instructor-Led or Recorded Webinars – Webinar training is typically shorter than classroom training because attendees are often alone, get easily bored, and have no physical interaction with other attendees or the instructor. Often, the classroom training content can be broken into smaller webinar sessions. Live webinars are naturally more interactive and expensive that recorded webinars.
- Hands-on Demos – Knowledge is much easier to synthesize when it’s presented in an interactive way. Allowing trainees to play with a product, examine its features, and learn how to navigate is a great way to explore the nuances of what products have to offer and encourage them to ask meaningful questions arising with their real business needs. This type of training is the most expensive because it requires a lab with computer access for each attendee.
- Video Courses – Product training videos are self-paced training courses which are concise and let professionals access the content any time and from any where, similar to recorded webinars. Identity Management Institute has experience developing content for training videos.
- Digital How-to Guides – Rather than passing out pamphlets that will get lost, digital guides can be made available through smartphones, laptops and tablets to give product trainees quick access to product information. These guides can reinforce the knowledge trainees receive during training and at any point in their workdays and act as a quick product reference tool. The guide can support long-term information retention, minimize waste, give workers the ability to reference the training materials whenever they need a refresher, and, allow quick information sharing with others.
What are the Attributes of a Great Product Knowledge Training Program?
There are some attributes that the above mentioned training delivery methods share to be successful. These attributes separate a good training program from an exceptional and effective one.
- keep it Simple – While developing a product training program, it is extremely important to keep the content simple especially if the content is of technical nature such as in the case of IAM solutions.
- Use Spaced Repetition – Everyone knows the feeling of cramming for a test. It’s stressful and once the test is over, all of that information is forgotten. This is essentially what happens during traditional training sessions. A load of new information is dumped on attendees, and they’re expected to learn it all in the course of a day or week. Instead, effective training uses a tactic called spaced repetition. Teaching employees in small, bite-sized sessions, and giving them opportunities to review the information periodically is an incredibly efficient and effective method for information synthesis, especially when the content is periodically revised to reflect changes in the product.
- Make it Interactive and Fun – Incorporating games and puzzles into a training program can make learning interactive and fun. Utilizing award points and prizes can keep attendees engaged and excited about learning new material.
When is the Best Time to Receive Product Training?
In general, it is best to schedule product training sessions for new employees, and before major product launches or brand overhauls. Aside from major additions to a product or service lineup, short refresher courses for core products can be spaced out over the course of a year to keep the knowledge fresh and sharp.
How is Product Knowledge Certification Awarded and Maintained?
Product knowledge certification is important because certified product experts display a sense of gravitas in conversations with customers. Clients are far more likely to trust someone who has received product knowledge certification and credentials from an independent organization such as Identity Management Institute.
Product knowledge certification is awarded after a person completes the required training courses, and passes an exam (or set of exams). This can vary a bit depending on the product and training strategy.
To maintain certification, certified product professionals have to complete a refresher course or re-take an exam periodically. The frequency of the refresher course depends on many factors including the frequency of product changes that certified professionals must be knowledgeable about.
Who Should Receive IAM Product Knowledge Training and Certification?
Anyone working with an IAM product should consider a product knowledge training and certification. Training ensures adequate knowledge is obtained and certification offers validation of the knowledge. This includes product sales staff and management, customer service and technical support staff, product design and implementation professionals, and product users.
Product professionals who deal directly with customers, such as sales representatives and customer support staff, should receive as much training as possible. These professionals should be able to answer a broad range of questions about every product and services offered.
Product Knowledge Training and Certification is Crucial For Creating a Thriving Business
IAM solution providers and customers should consider product knowledge training as an investment into the future of their organization. Educated and confident employees can be more assertive, helpful, and productive in the workplace, which means your brand will have countless opportunities to grow.
Partner with Identity Management Institute to develop training and certification for your Identity and Access Management solutions. We can help with training scoping, content development and update, content delivery, certification exam and processing, training promotion and marketing, and much more. We are the global provider of registered certification programs in Identity and Access Management. We are confident that our partnership will develop unique training programs that will not only provide best-in-class product knowledge to your employees, customers, and partners, but also, take your brand to the next level.