How Fresenius Identifies Knowledge Gaps and Engages Their Sales Team
In this interview at the Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network (LTEN), Jill Donahue, Author of EngageRX, talks to Pamela T. Jerdee from Fresenius Medical Care North America. Pam shares how they approach remote sales training using Qstream and LTEN’s role in keeping us up to date with new learning technologies and approaches.
Jill: Hi, my name is Jill Donahue. I’m here at LTEN with Pam Jerdee with Fresenius Medical Care. Thank you so much for dropping by.
Pam: Thank you, Jill. I’m thrilled to be here.
Jill: Thanks for stopping by. You did a workshop this morning. We thought we can have a chance here you to share. What was the challenge that led to you doing the workshop and what did you share with the audience?
Pam: Well, it was a really great session this morning and very well attended. I partnered with a company called Qstream and Qstream and I have been partners for almost six years. I was very early adopter with Qstream. What we were trying to do is get the message out and how you can train your sales representatives when you don’t see them very often.
For example, we have an annual sales meeting and it was just held down at the Fontainebleau in February. In order to get them ready, we sent out a lot of pre-work. So, how do we know if that pre-work was getting done or not? We used Qstream and we did what’s called the lightning round in which when the pre-work should have been completed, we sent out these questions through Qstream.
What it looks like are just a few questions that they receive on their phone or their iPad or their desktop. They have an opportunity to answer those questions so we can see who did the pre-work and who hasn’t completed it yet so we can take action. Then they come to the meeting, our national sales meeting, and then 30 days later we sent out a full fledged Qstream.
Qstream has a series of questions to see if they remembered what they were taught. We always talk about the forgetting curve that if you don’t use this information within 30 days, you tend to forget. So Qstream has a series of questions, it goes back and reviews the material that we train them on. Now, the big issue is who’s doing this? Are they engaged? We found out we had 100% engagement.
Now, it’s not easy because the metrics show us who’s engaged and who’s not. Our director of sales can go poke the sales reps who haven’t quite started yet.
Pam: They can say, “Hey, this is a team effort. Let’s get started.”
Pam: To get the sales reps excited about this, we do region versus region competition.
Jill: Good idea.
Pam: Everybody is answering the questions, but they’re doing it on behalf of their region. If someone’s not pulling their weight and not answering the questions in a timely manner, we get them engaged. So as a result, we’ve been able to get 100% engagement with every Qstream.
Jill: That’s amazing. The engagement is one thing. What about the results of the training, what were you training them on? Let’s talk about that.
Pam: We were training them on a new product launch. We launched a new hemodialysis machine called BlueStar. It’s really, really important that our sales representatives understand thoroughly in order to talk to our customers about it. There’s a big push in the whole world of dialysis and that’s to get more patients to do their dialysis at home.
Pam: You or I or anybody could develop diabetes and have to have dialysis. So the emphasis is to get people out of that chair three days a week and get them doing at home. So as a professional, if I was diagnosed, I would be able to do my dialysis at home …
Pam: … nocturnally during the night, get up in the morning, feeling great and go to work. But it’s important that our sales representatives really understand the mechanics behind our equipment and be patient focused because the patients have to understand how to use this equipment. So our sales representatives trains the clinicians in the clinic. The clinicians then train our patients at home.
Jill: Amazing. You had 100% of people who completed that. What about their aptitude when they’re done, their ability to do it, could you measure how well they incorporated the lessons?
Pam: Yeah, absolutely. With this platform, if you get one question right …
Pam: … you’ll see it one more time. If you get question wrong, you’ll see it two or three more times. So it’s repetition, spaced learning developed from a professor at Harvard University. They may miss the question the first time, but at the end of the six or eight week period where the questions come to them daily, they will absolutely have gotten that information.
We feel confident that they can go to the clinics and talk to the clinicians about our products and properly represent how they work and how the patient should be using these products at home.
Jill: Beautiful and their confidence increases?
Pam: Their confidence increases. They’re competitive and they want to get the questions right.
Pam: It’s really fun because Qstream in our organization has become a word like Kleenex or Band-Aid. They get excited about it because if you’re on a winning team, meaning you’ve gotten the most points, every member on that team will get a $100 gift card.
Jill: That will be fun.
Pam: They’re rewarded, they’re recognized, and the leaderboard keeps them engaged.
Jill: Yeah. A lot of key lessons there, Pam, that you shared with us. I really appreciate that. Reward, recognition, spaced repetition. What were some of the other key factors to success and monitoring it.
Pam: It’s confidence, yeah.
Jill: How do people monitor it and get back people, all key factors to success of the distance education.
Pam: Yeah, absolutely. Jill, I think the key thing is that I learned about Qstream at LTEN.
Pam: Yeah. When you talk about new technology and you go to the expo and you see these new products, that’s why we were an early adopter. We knew that this would work for our team because we only touch them, we only see them once a year.
Jill: Amazing. How long have you been coming to LTEN?
Pam: Probably about six years.
Jill: Okay. Great.
Pam: Yeah, we come as a team. My manager gets all of us together. We review the agenda thoroughly.
Pam: We all pick different courses that we’re going to get to. We go to these courses, we meet together at the end of the day and we talk about our key takeaways from the courses.
Jill: Well done. What has that done for your team?
Pam: So much. I mean we look forward to coming together as a team, but we share the learning. We share the learning because each of us are looking for something different. In our job, I’m with the technology team, which is medical device. My peers are with the pharma division, so they’re looking for different things. When we come together, we find the best things that work. We’ve brought in a number of different companies, a number of different platforms as a result of what we see in here at LTEN.
Jill: That’s amazing. You guys have realized a team that learns together grows together?
Pam: That’s it, exactly.
Jill: LTEN is the place that you go every year now?
Pam: Yes. We love coming here because our vendors take us to dinner and entertain us. We get together as a team and it’s a great way to spend Monday through Thursday once a year.
Jill: Awesome. Well, thank you for sharing what you’re doing here and thank you for contributing to LTEN. Not only are you getting ideas, but you’re also sharing your ideas back.
Pam: We’re trying to give back, yeah.
Jill: Yeah, that’s one of the things I found I love about the community at LTEN, very collaborative.
Jill: Everyone wants to help each other, so thank you for helping.
Pam: Sure, see you again next year.
Jill: Absolutely, see again next year.
Pam: Thank you.
Jill: Thank you.
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