To sustain a competitive advantage in the 21st century, organizations must continually seek to improve performance. An example of this is the Imaging Systems Group (ISG) at Canon USA, which continues to accelerate business results through the strategic use of learning and development to build and support an effective extended sales and distribution organization.
Canon USA provides products and services to customers through a network of resellers and channel partners who rely on the Canon USA ISG sales training division to provide a blend of product information, training and support. In 2001, Mitch Bardwell, assistant general manager of the sales training division, ISG Canon USA, realized that he needed to broaden the reach of his then-instructor-led training team by utilizing technology to provide high-quality training and information more quickly and efficiently to meet the increasing demands of product complexity and production. The Canon Learning Zone was launched, extending the reach of the ISG training group to thousands of authorized end users.
Today, the Learning Zone supports five distinct distribution channels with 12,000 users, each of whom may need different courses and product information. The Learning Zone allows for individuals within each channel to be entitled to take a specific mix of courses based on the markets they serve and the products they sell, and tracks what is accessed. This is accomplished through a unique combination of technologies and functionality that allows Canon to support such a broad audience with a vast blended mix of learning content. The learning management infrastructure is hosted and managed by Intellinex, with other applications integrated into the platform.
The Learning Zone has not only impacted performance, but has increased customer satisfaction. “I cannot begin to explain the help that the Learning Zone has provided,” commented one Canon USA dealer. “Now, within a span of 45 minutes in the Learning Zone, I can better understand the new product solutions I have to offer from Canon.”
Canon Sales Training satisfaction metrics are high, with all categories receiving between a 4.8 and a 4.9 rating on a five-point scale.
Since the original launch of the Learning Zone three years ago, Canon ISG has leveraged its investment exponentially by deploying the Learning Zone to these other audiences with specific business strategies for each: Direct salespeople use the Learning Zone for support and preparation of customer presentations and customer support; CompTIA CDIA+ (Certified Document Imaging Archiech) education certification programs can be delivered to authorized dealers in the Canon ISG channel quickly and efficiently; and finally, ISG has expanded views of the Learning Zone to personalize and extend the Canon brand and product training to all registered dealers, distributors and partners carrying Canon ISG products and services.
“Having met our original objectives for increasing the reach, consistency and quality of our training offerings to our dealers and resellers, it soon became clear that there are many other audiences within the Canon USA extended enterprise that could benefit from the Learning Zone,” Bardwell said. “By strategically targeting each new sector with relevant content and training appropriate to their business goals, in just a few years, we have doubled our size of our audience and increased the value of the Canon brand to a loyal community of users who rely on the Learning Zone.”
Lyn C. Maize is the director of market research and analysis at Intellinex. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.