Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and the career management service Zapoint worked with CareerBuilder to create the Moneyball service that CareerBuilder announced in June, which delivers short sales training videos to supplement on-the-job training. The product takes its name from the book and movie Moneyball, which dramatized the rise of data-driven sports management.
"We created some 300 course modules companies can provide to their salespeople, and they are all platform-agnostic and completely mobile," said John Cady, Kelley's executive director for executive education. "People are not being trapped to their desktop, which is really important."
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After CareerBuilder brought them together, Kelley School and Zapoint decided to independently pursue an additional partnership to meet corporate requirements for management training. Last week, they announced they will deliver targeted online training to fill skills or knowledge gaps identified by Zapoint's SkillsMapper tool in five disciplines: marketing, finance, accounting, supply chain and human resources management.
Cady said this is a way of addressing the needs of companies that want to make executive learning more of an ongoing process, delivered online, which will be less time-consuming than attending a traditional seminar or degree program. The demand he is seeing from corporate talent management programs, he said, is to improve productivity and avoid the productivity loss of having people away from work, sometimes for extensive periods of time. At the same time, many companies are seeking to raise the overall level of skills in the workforce.
The Kelley School is recognized as a top business school -- #15 on BusinessWeek's ranking of full-time MBA programs -- and is particularly known for having a well-developed sales education program. An online version of the MBA program has been available for a decade, but what the CareerBuilder and Zapoint partnerships called for were more bite-sized chunks of content, such as videos of 10 minutes or less designed to be easily viewable on a tablet, phone or PC between appointments, Cady said.
A salesperson with a few spare minutes to fill before making an important pitch can use that time to view a video on great presentations on his phone, for example, while sitting in the parking lot. "That way, you're not really losing anything in terms of productivity," Cady said.
One of the things the Moneyball program addresses is the fact that about 50% of college graduates go straight into a career in sales -- simply because the profession is such a large part of the economy -- but most enter the field with no formal training, and about 60% of those new salespeople fail in their jobs within three years. It costs about $27,000 to replace a salesperson once all administrative and recruiting costs are accounted for, according to Cady.
Yet most sales organizations have a strong preference for on-the-job training -- they want people out selling rather than taking classes, Cady said. "With [Moneyball], they can learn on the job, do it mobile or on their own time, and target it specifically to what they are doing."
The Moneyball product is live, but so far its most active users are CareerBuilder's own salespeople, who are training to sell a different type of product -- one that's aimed at training the existing workforce rather than recruiting new people. Kelley is talking with CareerBuilder about creating a similar program targeting business analytics. The integration of Kelley courses into SkillsMapper is underway, scheduled for release in the fall.
Zapoint's role is to identify the skills gaps where employees require additional training. Its primary business is working with corporate talent management organizations in charge of guiding the career path of managers and identifying the most prominent candidates for advancement. Individual managers working with SkillsMapper can plot out their established skills and achievements and match them against the requirements of other positions within the organization.
"We help them see what are the skill and competency requirements to ascend to another level, another role," Zapoint's chief operating officer Joe Brooks said. "You can set up a self-development path because you know in three or four years' time you want to be a sales manager, and maybe you have a 70 percent match. We can also find the resources to help you get there, including formal and informal resources."
The software has a social networking dimension intended to introduce employees to potential mentors in the skills they need to develop, but it also points employees to training. The Kelley School partnership will allow SkillsMapper to bring in online training employees can take immediately, Brooks said.
One important aspect of this approach is that courses are personalized, Cady said, based on an assessment of the individual. "If an individual already has a skill, he doesn't have to repeat the basic course."
Follow David F. Carr at @davidfcarr or Google+, along with @IWKEducation.