Sales Quiz App: A Novel Way to Train Employees

Modern teaching methods using a quiz app

Most companies train workers in the classroom or through e-learning. Classroom instruction is a good way to get close to participants but it’s relatively costly and time-consuming. Online training is less expensive and can be used with larger groups of people with less time investment. But it does not always go down well with staff as they are often expected to complete a large number of online modules. To add variety to staff training, Cora Schaal developed a sales quiz app for her company sponsor, Telekom Shop Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH (Sales Company / Deutsche Telekom). The project was part of her master’s degree at the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship (SIBE) at Steinbeis University Berlin.

According to a 2013 study called Initiative D21, 33% of German workers access their employer’s IT systems when away from the business. Despite this, only 17% of major companies use mobile teaching methods as part of their company training programs. This gap has now been filled by Cora Schaal at the sales company Telekom Shop. Schaal works in the company’s HR Development department and is currently studying at the Steinbeis School of International Business and Entrepreneurship at Steinbeis University Berlin. Her sales quiz app was developed as part of a degree project in collaboration with a new startup company from Berlin called qlearning. Schaal is responsible for planning, piloting, and implementing the app.

The app is an innovative way to check and consolidate people’s knowledge, to share knowledge playfully, and to revise specific areas of training relating to the activities of the German sales department. Employees work in pairs to collect points on their smartphones by answering sales questions. This also bolsters their knowledge. The app can simply be downloaded from Google Play, App Store, and Amazon Store, but it requires user registration (closed group use) and a quick verification process.

The app gives company staff access to a variety of features on sales topics. It gives them the choice of starting a duel on a specific topic or accepting a challenge from another user. Alternatively, users can browse rankings of the best scores, view the top 20 scores by topic, and send a challenge to a colleague. Challenges consist of five questions, each of which has to be answered in 30 seconds. To enhance the learning experience, after each challenge players see their own scores and the scores of their opponent. They can also go back through the questions and answers and review explanations of the answers. If a new topic is made available through the app or a user receives a challenge, users are sent a push notification directly to their smartphone.

The sales quiz app was launched at the beginning of this year as part of a six-week proof of concept trial. Five hundred external sales partners were asked to use and test the app on their smartphones. The feedback was so positive – not just from managers but also from other people in sales – that it was decided to keep using the app for internal training. Following a couple of technical enhancements, a second proof of concept phase started in July, which involved 100 employees. The plan is to make the sales quiz app available to all sales people working at Telekom Shop and negotiations are already underway with the works council.

Thanks to the sales quiz app, it’s now possible for staff to learn new facts whenever they feel like it and control the process. This modern angle on teaching is going down well with workers and managers alike. The sales quiz app works especially well as part of “blended learning” methods and can make a significant contribution to staff training initiatives by complementing classroom training sessions and internetbased instruction, ensuring content is remembered in the long term with fun reminder questions. The sales quiz app won second place in this year’s HR management awards organized by the Federal Association of German HR managers (BPM).

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