Sandler has been a sales training leader for decades, ever since founder David Sandler developed the Sandler Selling System back in 1967. The company’s focus is on offering sales training and courses through their franchisees who run physical training centers, and through online courses that students can attend from home. Today, Sandler has over 250 offices across the globe.
Selling study books relating to the courses they run is the primary function of the Sandler shop and, prior to working with Acro Media, the shop setup was quite rudimentary. Sandler wanted to be able to offer specific books to their students that related to the course in which they were enrolled. At the time of writing, Sandler had 20,500 students enrolled around the world, so there were many product variations to consider. This created extensive user experience problems that Sandler looked to Acro Media to address.
Another key issue was that Sandler HQ could not track the students enrolled with their franchisees, and their inventory levels. This was leading to lost revenue for Sandler, something that quickly needed addressing.
"Prior to 2017, the site recorded around 360,000 sessions per year. Post-launch, there were nearly 1,000,000 sessions in 2017."
We began with a visualization process. This is a rapid iteration prototype that allows designers, engineers, and stakeholders to experience the requirements of the website. Page flow and usability can be quickly tweaked and edited to try out new ideas and accommodate changing specs, all before any investment in code is made. It’s a low-risk way to clearly establish all the required functionality prior to any software development. Once the visualization was mapped out and signed off on, we moved to the next issue.
In order to address the inventory and enrollment accounting issues Sandler was facing, we created a Single Sign-On (SSO) through Drupal. That would allow students to be registered on one system, meaning they could be accurately tracked and the appropriate learning materials could be supplied to them.
The key to making this happen was to create an integration with Totara, Sandler’s LMS (Learning Management System). That way, students and instructors could transition from viewing grades and course reports to purchasing products and assigning users to courses. We also created the ability to integrate with other systems, such as centralized authentication with LDAP for Totara and customer relationship management with Infusionsoft. This gave franchisees the ability to sign in from anywhere in the world; it also featured multi-language capabilities.
Integrating Totara with the store is done by selling seats to courses and managing enrollment of users in those seats. Actions on the Drupal site then control Totara via its API. This allowed us to make some user experience improvements, such as allowing a franchise to enroll groups in courses instead of just individuals.
The API integration also created the ability for self-registration. User-customizable landing pages allowed clients to register themselves. This saved franchises from having to manually collect and enter their clients’ data.
The performance of the website saw a huge improvement. Prior to 2017, the site recorded around 360,000 sessions per year. Post-launch, there were nearly 1,000,000 sessions in 2017.
With the site’s new functionality, Sandler has also noticed the increased efficiency of their processes. Plus, they now have the ability to continue to expand and develop. This resulted in greater revenue and sales, which are continuing on an upward trend. We continue to work with Sandler as we continuously develop new features to result in additional sales and increase productivity.