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Case-based Learning
The Client:
GenentechGenentech logo

The Challenge:
In the late 1980's, The Training Alliance was hired to develop sales and product training at Genentech for sales reps who were selling a drug called Activase to physicians and hospitals. The client was definite about three things:
  1. The typical "spray and pray" lecture approach was not to be considered
  2. Whatever we developed had to be "real life"
  3. The course had to teach higher level sales techniques as well as product information
The Solution:
We designed an innovative, interactive case study using a board game as the learning methodology that would be the most realistic and challenging to the audience.
The Results:
Here's what one of Genentech's most experienced sales reps said after participating in the simulation (he was considered one of their "hard sells"):

"The Activase Clinical Challenge was great. It is basically two days of drawing on all the strategic planning knowledge you have ever used or had. The game gives you exercises in making decisions about whom to see, how to find information sources, how to use the information once gained, how to use the information to overcome obstacles and objections you will run into. You get to use all the information in conjunction with any and all presentation skills you have learned in your entire career. All this time you are trying to think of a strategy to score more points and at the same time stay in touch with reality. There is a temptation to view this as just another game until you get dinged for not sticking with reality. I came away with several new ideas to try on some of my more troublesome cardiologists.

NOTE: The Training Alliance went on to use this approach with another pharmaceutical company. Then, in 1993, Sun Microsystems hired The Training Alliance to translate the game to the high tech industry. The end result was "ExcelleraSIM: Selling Enterprise-wide Solutions." This learning strategy was so successful that it was used for six years and evolved into two new games: "Island Getaway" and "Jungle Adventure." The Training Alliance has since used this approach in other high tech companies.

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