Increase Sales by Offering Training Through a Vendor Partner University

A Virtual University can enable any company that sells its products through channel partners to accelerate their sales growth and enhance their customers' experience. The courses housed in a curriculum section may include pre-requisites and elective credits. Specific combinations may be offered to achieve specific certifications. Graduates may be asked to re-certify annually, providing the graduate with access to benefits and rewards, and enabling ongoing training and support. An Alumni Forum can support relationship building and provide tools for ongoing effectiveness and interactivity. A Community link can provide an interface with the public to stimulate the marketplace and drive new recruits. The technical architecture of the university enables registration, tracking, training content, language options, content management and reporting. The sponsoring company remains in constant communication with its channel partners and/or end users realizing an increase in sales.

University Diagram

Shell-Pennzoil-Quaker State Academy

Project Description:

Interactive Solutions has formed a long-term relationship with Shell to assist them in developing their Pennzoil-Quaker State Academy and Website. To date, this comprehensive training project has involved developing and designing eight online courses, eight certification quizzes and multiple offline practical application of knowledge exercises that are being used to provide Pennzoil and Quaker State Professional Certification to their independent franchises. The scope of the project included the development of a custom LMS for the use of tracking and reporting training and practical application completion results of users from these remote locations, along with multiple branding for US and Canada's Pennzoil and Quaker State sites. Effective product knowledge and customer service learning lessons were key to maintaining the excellent standards that these brands represent. The solution had to have global acceptance and was built in English, Canadian English (for different measurement, and localization issues), Spanish, and French.

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Our instructional design team worked hand in hand with Shell's instructional design and marketing team for an extended period of time to develop the academy. We were limited by very low bandwidth, so the online courses and site had to be instructionally sound and stand alone without video, voice-over or detailed graphics. The development process and instructional design were crucial to achieve knowledge retention in this project.

The objectives of this project were to:

  • Deliver real value to independent fast lube customers (owners, managers, and technicians) through an effective online training tool and test their knowledge through practical, tracked "on-the-job" exercises.
  • Provide Shell's sales force with resources that could be used to translate training opportunities into bottom line business results.
  • Provide technical training to and tracking of a workforce of 115,000 employees across North America in English, French and Spanish.

Topics included:

  1. Product Knowledge
    • Fundamentals of Lubrication
    • Features and Benefits of Synthetics, Blends and HMV
    • Pennzoil and Quaker State Professional Services (Canada only)
    • Filters
    • Wiper Blades
  2. Programs
    • Warranty Programs
    • Roadside Programs
  3. Customer Service and Sales
    • Customer Service Skills
    • Sales Skills (selling services)

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The LMS, which was developed by Interactive Solutions, supports a Technician curriculum that presents, sequentially the modules that must be completed to achieve a Technician certification. The LMS enabled Shell to specify both mandatory and optional prerequisites and not permit a Technician trainee to enroll in a module until all required prerequisites have been satisfied.

Practical or performance based tests are an integral part of the Technician learning path. Technicians who have completed all required prerequisites are able to download a practical test sign off sheet, which they can complete in the presence of owners/managers. When they complete the sign off sheet, owners/managers can log in to the LMS via the Internet and can annotate the Technician's enrollment status and grade for the practical test.