This guest blog post is by Articulate EVP of Sales & Marketing Mark Schwartz.
Ah, coffee. I love a rich, full-bodied, hot cup of coffee. It’s the elixir that not only warms my body, but warms my soul. I admit it – I can’t quit drinking coffee. And why would I want to?
Sure, home brewing can be a real pain — the coffee grinds, the filter disposal, the spilled water, the wait while brewing. But that was before Keurig® came out with its Single-Cup Brewing System in 1998. Keurig’s innovative brewing system lets people brew the perfect cup of gourmet coffee in less than a minute, without having to grind beans, measure coffee, handle filters, or clean up. In 2006, Keurig, Incorporated was purchased by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR), the first roaster partner to put gourmet coffee into K-Cup® portion packs for use in the Keurig system.
GMCR has been well known since 1981 as one of the world’s finest, socially and environmentally responsible coffee companies. It wasn’t until I purchased a Keurig brewer several years ago that I became aware of, and developed my admiration for, the company. In fact, my entire household would be absolutely lost without our Keurig brewer and K-Cups. The no-hassle system is used in our house around the clock.
Articulate & GMRC
Because I’m such a fan of GMCR’s company values and great products, it was with great pride that I learned that they are Articulate customers. I only hope that they love us, as much as I love them.
“I love Articulate products, I love their people, and I love the Articulate community,” exalts Laura Fried, sales learning manager, Specialty Coffee business unit, for GMCR. “In just under two years I’ve evolved from e-learning beginner to e-learning expert — thanks to Articulate’s intuitive, flexible solutions and the Articulate community.”
Hooray – I think we are members of the mutual admiration society!
Above: Laura Fried (2nd from left) with Articulate Community team, Tom Kuhlmann, Jeanette Brooks, and David Anderson.
GMCR is on the move. After all, they are ranked as Fortune Magazine’s 2010 2nd fastest growing company in the world. Fried works with training colleague, Ethan Waldman, to plan, develop, and deliver online training for GMCR’s Specialty Coffee business unit. Waldman is responsible for developing internal online training primarily focused on human resources and manufacturing.
“My department develops training for our internal sales organization as well as for sales people throughout our North American distribution channel,” said Fried.
Fried and Waldman needed a training solution that also moved fast — allowing them to create engaging online training quickly and effectively.
Articulate Studio ’09 Pro to the rescue
“We use Articulate Studio ’09 Pro to develop on-demand, web-based courses to train our sales people on internal business processes and to train them on products and programs to build awareness of our strong company values and overall value proposition in the specialty beverage market,” notes Fried. “We did an exhaustive survey of the marketplace, took advantage of the free 30-day trial, and knew almost instantly that Articulate Studio ’09 Pro was the right solution for us.”
Fried also needs to track who takes the training and how they score on assessments. Articulate Online was selected and provides course hosting and tracking. “It couldn’t be simpler to use and provides us with what we need right now,” adds Fried.
There is so much more to love about my Keurig brewer and coffee K-Cups. I also use my Keurig to brew delicious K-Cup teas (mandarin orange spice is my favorite) and K-Cup hot cocoas. Without K-Cups, it also serves as a great hot water brewer for other hot water treats such as instant grits (I don’t expect anyone from outside the southern U.S. to understand).
“I like to think in metaphors,” said Fried. “It’s like this – Articulate is the holiday on the calendar, and the community is the pile of presents — every day someone from the community shares an idea through a Screenr screencast or forum post.”
She cites an example where Articulate Customer Support Engineer David Fair posted a Screenr on how to embed a YouTube Web Object. “But, he didn’t stop at the technique. He found a way that would allow a user to embed a video and auto-play in the Articulate player, or start from a certain place in the video. He hit the business problem on the head — how can I host my video somewhere else but maintain control of how the viewer sees it? Now that’s making it relevant to our end user — the student.”
“As with any growing Consumer Packaged Goods company, we sometimes need to make quick changes to our product offerings,” said Fried. “We recently rationalized products across our brands and needed to quickly prepare our sales force to answer any customer questions. I was tasked with building an online course in two days. Having just spent a couple of days with Tom and Dave, and having seen their presentations at conferences, I was familiar with their Rapid Situational Interactions (RSI) methodology for course design. I built a short online course in less than three hours that included three rapid situational interactions, leveraging a theme, characters from eLearning Art, and basic PowerPoint features. The feedback from the students was overwhelming. Again — appealing, pertinent, rapid.”
Since deploying Articulate, satisfaction with training is up over 70%. Management cites the training her team is creating as a “secret weapon” in providing a sales competitive advantage.
“It’s nice to know that as a trainer you can be a linchpin — driving success in small, quiet ways; helping to translate complexity into simplicity,” Fried says. “Our work supports the sales team and they can leverage the training with their customers, which ultimately brings us closer to our consumers. That is at the heart of sales.”
I lift my hot cup of Green Mountain Double Black Diamond™ Extra Bold coffee and toast Laura Fried and all the employees of GMCR for building a great company with great brands, and I’m thankful that Articulate is playing a role in that success. If you don’t have a Keurig brewer, go ahead and get yourself one, and you’ll be toasting with me as well.
And, if you don’t have Articulate products or use the Articulate community or support resources, get those while you’re at it. After all, with all that coffee you’ll be drinking, why not create great e-learning while you’re up?