Inspiring Engaged Learning Among a Veteran Sales Team for Robinson Home Products and Oneida

Kitchen and home products expert Robinson Home Products felt a need to up its sales game in cookware, cutlery, and bakeware.  As the sole manufacturer and distributor of all Oneida branded consumer products (a recently-earned title), it was vital for Robinson to cultivate its fluency in these three core product categories, where competition is fierce and Oneida is a dominant player.  But like any company that’s been around for nearly a century, Robinson had become comfortably formulaic in the approach to training its sales team on new products in order to sell them into retailers. A change was needed to recast that formula and infuse the sales training process with excitement. Enter Redpoint…because we LOVE change and excitement.

Here’s a proven truth in training:  if you want people to behave differently, your training methods must also be different from the usual approach expected by the audience.  It sets the tone immediately to say “pay attention…this isn’t the same-old, same-old.”  So the first thing we did was explore how new product/category sales training had been handled at Robinson in the past by interviewing executives and sales reps, and reviewing materials used in past trainings.  And one thing became crystal clear instantly:  all the sexy sales glitz was saved for the consumer marketing, but internally, communication was executed in a “just the facts” kind of way.

Armed with that history, we set out to create highly visual, user-friendly training manuals that artfully blended necessary scientific construction facts with sensible and relatable factoids, selling points, and other useful information.  For each of the three categories – cookware, cutlery, and bakeware – we did extensive industry research to put Oneida products into context, both historically and as a competitor in today’s landscape.  We even tested products to capture the consumer perspective within the sales positioning (we can now add “baking cookies” to our growing list of odd jobs).

The resulting three oh-so-glossy-and-pretty manuals were a huge hit with the sales force.  Fun sections like #KnowYourKnives, Get Your Science Geek On, Did You Know?, and Speaking the Lingo added levity to education, while the rich detail in market trend and buying information shared vital information in a friendly, approachable tone.  We worked closely with the marketing/product development teams at Robinson (bless their patient little hearts) to translate complex product construction facts into everyday language, and our design team developed custom iconography to illustrate critical elements in a memorable way.

The sales team was delighted because it made learning (and selling) easier.  The executives at Robinson were delighted because it inspired buzz around the significant new product launches.  And WE were delighted because we’ve now acquired a host of random facts about steel, aluminum, non-stick coating, and heat conduction, which is certain to come in handy at cocktail parties.