The 2010/02/25 at 16:05
Since 2006, Renault Academy has created 200 to 300 e-learning training modules for its sales staff, in the form of animated PowerPoint presentations. “All these modules were the same size, without videos or animation. But learners would lose interest after the 20th or 30th slide out of 70. Since our salespeople are generally from the Generation Y, Digital Natives born with Internet at their fingertips, I said to myself that we would have to renew our training catalogue,” explains Gil Simoncini, Head of Sales Training at Renault Academy. “In fact, 70% of our salespeople did not finish their e-learning modules. The wastage of online training on our sales staff was enormous.”
On the basis that the best salespeople are those that are best trained, the need for a new technology became clear. “So I designed a technological watch matrix which indicated that young people want 3D images, immersive and interactive universes, videos, sound and voice recordings using actors. In short, they wanted to go from passive to active pedagogy.” Taking advantage of a service set up to support innovative enterprises at Renault Academy, which organises Innovation Mondays twice a month for new start-ups to present their technologies, Gil Simoncini discovered the talents of Daesign. “Thankfully, and unlike what happens in large groups, we were able to make a snap decision,” comments Gil Simoncini who, barely 18 months later, took delivery of the game Conduire un entretien de vente (Conducting a Sales Interview). Which was crowned Best Game of the Year at the 5th Serious Game Expo in Lyon (France) in December 2009.
“Here, the salesperson conducts sales interviews in a virtual dealership with virtual clients, thus putting into practice the theoretical principles taught at Renault Academy via more classic e-learning tools,” indicates Damian Nolan, Sales Director at Daesign, the studio producing the game. “In the sales interview situation, the salesperson has to steer the avatar through an interface, called ‘intention piloting’, presenting two to six possible intentions that the learner will choose from. Of course, the client’s behaviour will depend on the learner’s choices and the questions that the learner asks to understand the client’s motivations.” Finally, the learner is presented a pedagogical assessment and a debriefing with another avatar, who is no other than the learner’s coach. So the main aim here is to identify learner strengths, errors, and ways to make improvement. Renault Academy makes this tool available to all learners enrolled in its on-site training.
“This game is targeted at our 18,000 salespersons throughout the world. This is a significant population. To reach out to them, I wanted to put in place a real media plan. I began with a viral buzz on our intranet, showing a preview before the game was launched,” details Gil Simoncini. “Next I posted a medley to show the different phases of the game. Then we called in about sixty heads of training from 37 countries to present the game to them and hand over a game marketing kit: a presentation package, a CD of the game, instructions, a booklet for training heads... All in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese. We really had to do this so that they would become the game ambassadors in those 37 countries.”
Things have never been the same since. The former e-learning PowerPoint modules used an average of 600 to 700 words. In the serious game, a huge leap has been made up to 45,000 words! Not surprisingly, for instead of a formatted and linear discourse, the game relies on a decision tree. The result is that each learner will play a different game from his or her neighbour. Moreover, the content of the decision tree was ameliorated after Renault Academy and Daesign produced a prototype that was tested in different target countries. The testers’ input accordingly helped enrich the game content. The upshot is that Renault Academy has made an excellent investment with its 150,000 euro budget – the same amount it would have spent to update its PowerPoints. “But as well as the game, for this price, we have the whole marketing kit, including the game preview,” insists Gil Simoncini. Essential elements for selling the game within the company.