Hills Industries Caps 60 Years of Innovation With Online Training

May 13, 2016

Hills Industries Limited is an Australian business legend. Founder Lance Hill established the manufacturing company in 1946 as a backyard operation for the “Hills Hoist” rotary clothesline. Since those humble beginnings, Hills Industries has diversified into a number of business segments, including electronic security and entertainment, building and industrial products, and a broad range of hardware, environmental, and healthcare products.

Challenge: finding the right training solution

Hills Industries supplies more than 200,000 products to a diverse customer base of distributors, retailers and end consumers across Australia and New Zealand. Many of these customers are shared amongst the company’s business segments. In late 2006, Hills Industries began rolling out SalesLogix, a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, to provide its sales and marketing staff with a tool to assist with account management, reporting and automated workflows. As with most software implementations, the biggest challenge was gaining user acceptance, which Hills Industries felt would be best achieved by providing high quality training and ongoing support.

With more than 400 sales staff located across Australia and New Zealand, many working away from the office, Hills Industries’ Information Technology department staff knew that following initial training, in-person training was logistically difficult. Ian Brand, third-party software manager, and Tom Twelftree, CRM project manager, went in search of a remote training solution to accommodate their needs. The company had been using VNC and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol but Brand and Twelftree knew that neither product had the ease of use nor collaboration features necessary to complete the task ahead.

Solution: implementing GoToMeeting

Brand and Twelftree, already long-time Citrix customers, discovered GoToMeeting from Citrix Online while rolling out SalesLogix. They found GoToMeeting offered considerable advantages over their previous remote training solutions. Because GoToMeeting is delivered as a hosted application over the Internet (Software as a Service), Brand and Twelftree liked the fact that they did not have to pre-install the program on sales employees’ computers. They also saw real value in the solution’s collaboration features, such as screen sharing, for staff training and development. After taking these benefits into consideration, Hills Industries implemented a one-year pilot program using five licenses of GoToMeeting.

"GoToMeeting satisfies all of our online meeting tool requirements because it is an anywhere, anytime solution."

- Ian Brand, manager for third-party software, Hills Industries Limited

Using GoToMeeting, Brand and Twelftree could support the sales staff’s ongoing training needs following the implementation of SalesLogix. They often held up to 15 sessions per week, offering a combination of troubleshooting and one-on-one sales training sessions. Because GoToMeeting is extremely intuitive, no formal training was required to use it.

Hills Industries employees have found an array of uses for GoToMeeting, ranging from online management meetings to ad hoc sessions with colleagues.

Online training made easy

For Hills Industries, training sales staff how to use and get the most out of SalesLogix was a must, and GoToMeeting offered them a leg up in the training process. Rather than getting sales staff together in one training room—which would be nearly impossible given their various locations throughout Australia and New Zealand–training is done quickly and effectively online. “GoToMeeting satisfies all of our online meeting tool requirements because it is an anywhere, anytime solution,” Brand said.

Hills Industries has also found that demonstrating SalesLogix software using GoToMeeting provides a better learning experience for sales staff. “GoToMeeting offers us a way to train our staff more quickly, and we can reach a lot more users at the same time,” Twelftree said. GoToMeeting is visually interactive and allows Brand and Twelftree to walk through the unique features of SalesLogix over the phone while simultaneously demonstrating them online. During a GoToMeeting session, trainees can take control of the mouse and practice using the SalesLogix software themselves. The screen-sharing and interactive capabilities improve the learning process. “The screen-haring capabilities of GoToMeeting are fabulous,” Brand said. “GoToMeeting gave sales staff visibility of the software in use.”

With the installation of any new application like SalesLogix, technical difficulties are bound to arise. With GoToMeeting, Brand and Twelftree can train sales staff on how to resolve technical issues easily and on the fly. “GoToMeeting makes training a lot simpler. With online meetings we can assist users more quickly than over the phone, and with a lot less frustration. Troubleshooting has never been easier—there is no other way to do it,” Twelftree said. “It is so easy. I can train anybody, anywhere. I just send the person an email or link to the website and away we go,” Twelftree said. In addition, Brand and Twelftree can teach sales staff how to resolve technical issues themselves using the screen-sharing capabilities of GoToMeeting. This method of training empowers staff to solve future IT issues on their own. “With GoToMeeting, we make the employee the presenter and then talk them through the solution while they are operating the keyboard and mouse,” Twelftree said. “Salespeople like it because they can see how to fix problems on their own—it empowers them.”

“It is so easy. I can train anybody, anywhere. I just send the person an email or link to the website and away we go.”
- Tom Twelftree, CRM project manager, Hills Industries Limited

Key benefits

  • Expedited rollout of mission-critical CRM solution to sales team
  • Increased the efficiency and simplicity of the training process
  • Delivered rapid return on investment
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