Product Knowledge 101: How to build your program

Vartika Bansal
February 8, 2024
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Imagine walking into a store, ready to buy, but you're met with blank stares instead of answers. Annoying, isn't it? 

This scenario is all too common when sales and support teams lack deep knowledge of the SaaS products they represent. This gap can lead to frustrated customers, lost sales opportunities, and a tarnished brand reputation. 

The solution? Targeted product knowledge training for each role. 

You can educate your team about the ins and outs of your product and empower them to confidently assist customers, address technical questions, and highlight features that solve real problems. 

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into why you need a specialized product knowledge training program and how to build one. 

What is product knowledge training?

Product knowledge training teaches your team everything about your product. It's not just for the frontline sales reps. Everyone in your company, from customer service to marketing, needs to understand your product inside and out. This training includes insights on:

  • Core product capabilities
  • Key buyer personas and their use cases
  • How it can solve problems for your customers

When your team knows the product inside out, they can confidently answer user questions, deliver on-demand guidance, and recommend the right solutions. 

Product knowledge is more than just facts wrapped up in a slide deck. It contextualizes your product’s key features + positioning to support and delight end-users. The result? Your GTM team can attract more leads, sales reps can convert more customers, and CS resps and maximize user delight.

Types of product knowledge 

Here are the main aspects to cover within your product knowledge training program:

Customer knowledge

When you understand your customers' needs and wants, you're equipped to offer them the most suitable solutions. This involves actively listening to their concerns, grasping their challenges, and recognizing what delights them, ensuring you can respond with empathy and precision.

Competition knowledge

Being informed about your competitors' products enables you to articulate the superior aspects of your offerings. You can highlight how your product delivers greater value, boasts superior quality, or offers a more attractive price point, setting it apart in the marketplace.

Industry knowledge

Staying abreast of the latest industry trends ensures you can engage in meaningful conversations with peers and adapt to changes swiftly. This knowledge positions you as a forward-thinking professional, ready to innovate and lead in your field.

Brand knowledge

Grasping your brand's core values, mission, and vision aligns your efforts with the company's overarching objectives. This comprehensive understanding guides your actions and decisions, fostering a cohesive and goal-oriented work environment.

Customer experience knowledge

Familiarity with various user experiences enables you to tailor your service to meet diverse customer needs effectively. This adaptability enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty, as you can anticipate and address specific preferences or issues.

Complementary products knowledge

Knowledge of products that enhance or complement the main offering can significantly increase its overall value. Understanding how these additional items or services can create a more complete solution allows you to meet customer needs more comprehensively.

Use knowledge

Knowing the ins and outs of your product, including how to install, configure, and customize it, ensures users can leverage its full capabilities. This expertise is crucial for maximizing the product's effectiveness and user satisfaction.

Troubleshooting knowledge

Customer support agents must possess the skills to diagnose and resolve issues promptly. This capability is essential for maintaining trust and satisfaction among users, as it demonstrates your commitment to their success and well-being.

Policies and procedures knowledge

A thorough understanding of the company's policies and procedures, including exchanges, warranties, and refunds, is vital for employees. This knowledge ensures you can provide accurate and helpful information to customers, fostering transparency and trust.

Why you need a product knowledge training program

When you invest in product knowledge training, you're not just ticking a box; you're setting up your team for deeper success. Here's why it matters more than you might think:

  • Enable creative problem-solving: With a thorough understanding of the product, your team can think outside the box and offer effective + innovative solutions. This kind of problem-solving boosts customer satisfaction and can even open up new avenues for product development.
  • Confident customer communication: Your sales and support teams become more confident. Knowing the product inside out gives them the confidence to handle inquiries and challenges with ease. This confidence is contagious, making your team more persuasive and your customers more comfortable and trusting in your product.
  • Effective upselling and cross-selling: When your team understands not just the product but also how it fits into the broader ecosystem of solutions you offer, they can see and seize opportunities to recommend additional products that meet the customer's needs, enhancing customer value and increasing revenue.
  • Turn the feedback loop into a goldmine: A team that knows the product well is in a prime position to gather insightful feedback from users. This feedback is invaluable for refining your product and developing new features that truly meet market needs.
  • Boost team morale: A strong product knowledge training program shows your team that you're invested in their growth and confident in their ability to master complex information. This kind of morale boost can lead to higher retention rates and a more engaged, loyal team.
  • Sharpen your competitive edge: In a market where everyone is trying to outdo each other, deep product knowledge can be the differentiator. Your team's ability to articulate the nuances of your product, how it solves specific problems, and how it stands out from the competition can win over customers who are bombarded with options.

By prioritizing product knowledge, you're not just training your team; you're equipping them to be more confident, capable, and committed to your product's success. This strategic approach can transform your team's effectiveness and, by extension, your company's performance in the competitive SaaS landscape.

Which teams benefits from product knowledge training

Marketing Teams

  • Content Creation: With a deep understanding of the product, marketing teams can create more engaging and informative content. They can highlight unique features, benefits, and use cases that resonate with the target audience, improving the effectiveness of marketing campaigns​​​​.
  • Targeted Messaging: Knowledge about the product allows marketers to tailor their messaging to different segments of the market. This specificity ensures that the communication is relevant and compelling, leading to higher conversion rates​​​​.
  • Customer Insights: Marketing teams can use their product knowledge to better interpret customer feedback and market trends, allowing for more informed decisions about product positioning and development​​​​.

Sales Teams

Sales associates with strong brand expertise sell 87% more than those without out.

  • Handling Objections: Sales representatives equipped with comprehensive product knowledge can effectively address customer concerns and objections. They can provide detailed explanations and demonstrate the product's value, significantly improving the chances of closing a sale​​​​.
  • Customized Solutions: Being well-versed in the product's features and capabilities, sales personnel can tailor their sales pitch to meet the specific needs and interests of each prospect, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty​​​​.
  • Building Trust and Credibility: Demonstrating a deep understanding of the product helps salespeople build trust with potential customers. This credibility is crucial for establishing long-term relationships and fostering repeat business​​​​.

Customer Success Teams

62% of customers said that a representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key to their positive experience.

  • Effective Onboarding: Teams with thorough product knowledge can provide better onboarding experiences for new customers, ensuring they understand how to use the product to achieve their goals. This can significantly reduce time-to-value and improve customer satisfaction​​​​.
  • Support and Troubleshooting: Knowledgeable customer success agents can more quickly and accurately resolve support tickets and troubleshoot problems. This efficiency improves the overall customer experience and reduces frustration​​​​.
  • Proactive Success Initiatives: By understanding the product in detail, customer success teams can proactively identify opportunities for customers to get more value from the product. This could involve recommending additional features or services that could benefit the customer​

How to develop a product knowledge training program

Let’s break down the best practices for building a product knowledge training program from the ground up. 

1. Leverage customer insights from the start

Leveraging customer feedback and support tickets allows you to focus on the real-world applications and challenges of your product. It ensures that your training program addresses actual customer queries and concerns, making it highly relevant and practical. 

This approach helps in crafting scenarios that your teams are likely to encounter, enhancing their problem-solving skills and preparing them for effective customer interaction.

Here are a few tips to involve customers from the get-go:

  • Regularly review customer feedback and support tickets to identify common issues and questions.
  • Develop training modules that simulate these real-life scenarios, allowing employees to practice and refine their responses.
  • Encourage employees to contribute insights from their customer interactions to keep the training content up to date.

2. Adopt microlearning and interactive techniques

Microlearning breaks down complex product information into digestible pieces, making it easier for employees to learn and retain information. 

Interactive techniques such as quizzes, product walkthroughs, role-play, and gamification make the learning process engaging and enjoyable, which can improve knowledge retention and employee motivation.

You can create a learning library with interactive content using tools like Floik. The tool helps you design short and engaging training resources like videos, self-guided demos, and guides to cover specific product features or issues.

Curate multiple resources in a folder and publish it in the form of a learning library. Then, employees can access any resource from this library whenever they want.

Here’s a learning library created for Notion: 

Pair this with gamified elements like points and leaderboards to encourage friendly competition among employees.

3. Emphasize the product's purpose

Understanding the 'why' behind the product helps employees grasp its value proposition and the problems it aims to solve. This deepens their connection to the product and enables them to communicate its benefits more convincingly to customers, fostering a stronger brand relationship.

You can include stories or case studies in your training that highlight the product’s impact on real customers. 

As a next step, encourage product developers or managers to share insights on the product's development process and the customer needs it addresses. And focus training sessions on how the product solves specific problems, rather than just its features.

4. Create role-specific training paths

Different teams have varying needs when it comes to product knowledge. Customizing the training content for each role ensures that every team member receives the information most relevant to their job functions. This makes the training more effective and efficient​​​​.

Here are a few ways to design role-specific training paths:

  • Analyze the specific job functions and responsibilities of different roles within your organization.
  • Develop distinct training paths that cater to the unique needs of sales, support, and other teams.
  • Use feedback from each team to refine and update their respective training programs continually.

5. Implement peer learning and mentorship

Peer learning leverages the collective knowledge within your organization, fostering a collaborative learning environment. It enables less experienced employees to benefit from the insights and experiences of their more seasoned colleagues, promoting knowledge sharing and strengthening team cohesion​.

As a best practice, you can organize regular knowledge-sharing sessions where employees can present on different aspects of the product.

You can also establish a mentorship program that pairs newer employees with experienced mentors for personalized guidance. Remember to encourage the use of internal forums or chat groups where employees can ask questions and share advice.

Over to you: take the next step in your product knowledge training efforts

Set clear metrics to assess the effectiveness of your training program, such as quiz scores, completion rates, and post-training performance improvements.

Solicit feedback from employees on the training content and delivery, using surveys or direct feedback sessions.

Schedule periodic reviews to update the training material, incorporating new product features, customer feedback, and any changes in the market.