Mobile Learning Best Practices from Mazda, Petit Bateau & Sisley

17 December 2020

Training & learning | Retail

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented HR and training departments with a new challenge: finding alternatives to traditional training to help field teams respond to the new operational challenges they face.

More and more companies are investing in mobile learning so that they can continue to train teams effectively and consistently in the field, remotely and at a low cost. 

At a virtual round table on November 25, 2020, three training experts from Petit Bateau, Mazda and Sisley shared their best practices for implementing mobile learning to improve field team training.

Here’s a recap:

Field team training: a necessity for boosting performance

For our three panelists, field and frontline team training is crucial, because they’re your company’s brand ambassadors when interacting with customers every day.

“Our sales associates are the only ones in direct contact with our customers. It’s essential that they’re properly trained and reflect our brand values. Our products are quite technical, so it’s essential to provide our teams with continuous training so that they have all the information they need,” explains Tiphaine Bouteille, New Projects Manager for Sisley, which has 3,000 field employees across the world.

Training sales associates at their 200 dealerships in France is also at the heart of Mazda’s brand strategy. “We require our sales associates to have a very wide range of knowledge, and a car is an expensive product, so the customer needs a lot of help with their decision. A great deal of knowledge is required of our salespeople, on topics such as product, sales cycle, taxation, and more. We know that a well-informed sales associate will be able to convince the customer and provide them with the kind of experience we want all of our customers to have,” explains Tristan Brun, Product Manager at Mazda.


"We needed a tool which worked for everyone and was easy to use."


Make training more flexible, accessible and fun

Training field teams is often a real challenge, because they need regular training, but they’re geographically dispersed and don’t have much time for it.

“We mainly set up face-to-face training seminars, and we have a lot of training manuals and briefing documents. But this isn’t the most practical or cost-effective for our field teams,” explains Tiphaine Bouteille.

Mobile learning is the perfect way to overcome the constraints field teams face, as it makes training easily accessible.

Accessibility was very important for Petit Bateau, who launched mobile learning across all their stores in May 2020. “We needed a tool which worked for everyone, was easy to use and was very practical so that our stores could have regular 5-10 minute training sessions in order to improve performance,” explains Adèle de Pimodan, HR Development Manager Retail & Corporate at Petit Bateau.

At Mazda, just like at Sisley, mobile learning complements other tools and traditional training methods, because it’s better suited to field teams.

“We were looking for a more fun and flexible solution which would allow us to easily post regular content, but was also accessible by smartphone. That was very important to us,” explains Tristan Brun. Mazda uses mobile learning before face-to-face training to assess team skills and prepare adapted content, but also after training to help sales associates retain their knowledge with quizzes.


"Mobile learning makes it possible to connect with our field and frontline teams."


The COVID-19 pandemic: mobile learning to the rescue

While most in-person training sessions have been cancelled and have become almost impossible to organize, mobile learning is the ideal solution for continuing to train teams remotely. “In this particular context, mobile learning makes it possible to connect, to continue to train our sales associates, and to provide them with updates,” says Tristan Brun.

The pandemic has forced many brands to reinvent themselves very quickly, and mobile learning can help organizations boost their agility.

For example, Sisley has launched some new services, and mobile learning has enabled them to train their teams quickly. “The app has allowed us to train our sales associates in some new skills: online masterclasses, or responding to the chat on our e-commerce site, for example,” explains Tiphaine Bouteille.

“Mobile learning is agile and flexible, just like retail, so it adapts perfectly to this environment,” concludes Adèle de Pimodan.


"The involvement of management has been key. We were fortunate to get management interested and involved in the project."


Involving management, combining engagement and training: key factors for success

In order to effectively train teams with mobile learning, it is crucial to ensure high adoption rates by properly onboarding your field teams.

Petit Bateau uses the YOOBIC app not only for training, but also for internal communications and field team engagement. Combining training and internal communications is a key factor to the success of this project, because it allows teams to keep using the tool on a regular basis. “The app combines both communications and engagement, and it also has this more rigorous training and skills development side,” explains Adèle de Pimodan.

For Sisley, the involvement of management in the project has been a key factor in the successful launch of the app. “Beyond just training, we use all the other features of the YOOBIC app: the news feed, the chat, contests, etc. We were fortunate to get management interested and involved in the project. Our CEO posts and comments every day, he’s our most active YOOBIC user!” says Tiphaine Bouteille.


“The feedback has been very positive. We have more than 80% active users on the app”


Monitoring adoption to measure the success of mobile learning

The number of active users, the participation rate and the most popular courses are all indicators that organizations can use to measure the adoption and success of training, and above all, to adapt the available content.

Mazda follows these indicators closely to assess adoption and follow up with users who have not yet completed important training. “We send notifications to encourage our salespeople to complete the training, and we also rely on our regional teams,” explains Tristan Brun.

“The YOOBIC dashboard provides a plethora of insights that allow us to evaluate the app’s adoption rate and results. We carry out regular assessments with the administrators of different countries in order to provide them with best practices. We want to know what knowledge our teams have gained, we look at the quizzes with results that aren’t so good so that we can come up with more targeted content,” explains Tiphaine Bouteille.

Although using the app and completing training courses isn’t compulsory at Sisley and Petit Bateau, the field teams have quickly adopted the new tool. “The feedback has been very positive. We have more than 80% active users on the app” concludes Tiphaine Bouteille.


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