PepsiCo developed a mobile-first solution to train and develop their international salespeople

By starting small and building a strategy to scale, PepsiCo has rolled out a global solution to meet their markets’ demands – both on and offline.

PepsiCo is the second largest food and beverage business in the world with products distributed across more than 200 countries and territories. Having expanded from its namesake product to 22 brands, PepsiCo includes notable brands such as Quaker, Walkers and Tropicana.




The challenge

PepsiCo has over 15,000 frontline salespeople spread out across Sub-Sahara and Europe. Almost all of their salespeople use their own device and are in regions with poor Wi-Fi and data access. 10,000 out of their 15,000 salespeople are in Turkey, Russia and South Africa – all places where internet access is unreliable at best. Upwards of 95% only speak their local language with a basic understanding of spoken English. With over 40 different languages to accommodate, PepsiCo’s plans for using technology to deliver their training was ambitious. But for PepsiCo and their learners, it was the difference between something and nothing – and for PepsiCo, that made the endeavour worthwhile.

PepsiCo wanted to provide induction and sales training they’d originally had to forgo or wait months to deliver. Efforts involved, travel costs, and disrupting work schedules meant training was infrequent. New learning was cascaded down in face-to-face sessions, from the head office to the regional and local, and then finally to the frontline managers and salespeople. This meant learning could get muddled and lose effectiveness. And though all talented at coaching and assessing, their frontline mangers weren’t always the best teacher, and so the quality of training wasn’t consistent.

A new approach to learning and development was needed, but for it be effective the solution needed to meet their salespeople’s work lifestyle. The solution needed to:

  • overcome internet and device challenges by being accessible via responsive platform or an app that worked offline, and the two had to integrate seamlessly
  • scale quickly and be cost effective to localise the platform, app and courses
  • be bite-sized so learning could be done between meetings and would be quicker to download and sync, saving data costs.


The solution

PepsiCo’s focus for their solution was on providing the right support and tools for their markets and learners so they could make the learning their own. By starting smart and scaling, PepsiCo was able to adapt to these needs, and as a result, it became evident the new solution could revitalise training and become an effective blend in which learners could practice learning in the field while being supported and assessed by their managers.

To meet demands for localised and accessible learning no matter where learners are based, PepsiCo chose the flexibility of Totara Learn’s platform, dominKnow’s offline app, and Kineo’s expertise to implement their Totara Learn and build an integration between the two solutions. The solutions were chosen because both were easy to localise and brand and were accessible on different device types and sizes. Depending on needs, PepsiCo’s markets have rolled out both platform and app to learners, whilst others have only done one or the other.


'What we like about Totara Learn is its Chameleon like ability to constantly morph to our ever-changing demands. As a result we have not needed to look beyond Totara as it has delivered on our needs to solve for 20+ countries, embed competency assessments and integrate an app, all without batting an eye lid.' - Jeremy Hoyland, Sales Capability Director




The development of an integration to sync information behind the scenes of the two solutions was essential to create a seamless experience. This integration means that when a course is uploaded to Totara and pathways are designated, the course is immediately viewable to the right demographic either via the platform or app when connected online – and can be downloaded to the app to take offline. To use dominKnow’s app offline, learners download courses when connected to Wi-Fi. Results sync back to Totara Learn whenever the learner is online again.

To generate excitement and global uptake by making training their training, PepsiCo hosted a competition to recruit local champions to narrate learning in their local markets, and also developed a process to localise courses by training markets to use templated Storyline modules. This process in addition to making bite-sized courses, kept costs down and made learning quicker to develop and deploy. A microlearning approach reduced internet usage and storage challenges for their learners, but it also meant that PepsiCo could meet the needs of their on-the-go learners by ensuring learning fit their schedules and could be put into practice in the field.


The results

PepsiCo’s goal was to start smart and scale quickly so that the solution met learner demands. Their new solution is proof that even the smallest solutions have big impact. As a result of this initiative to use technology for sales and induction training, PepsiCo has a new learning strategy which is supported by their mobile-first and microlearning approach and enables their learners do the theory in their own time and the managers focus on coaching and certifying in the field.

Reaction has been positive. Managers have reported they no longer need to focus on teaching theory and learners reported feeling more prepared for situations in their daily work. One learner praised that ‘…you can easily reach a piece of information when you forget it’. Many respondents in a survey said they revisited the material regularly to improve their skills and found the examples memorable. 95% of respondents also demonstrated a change in behaviour with a willingness to try new methods and increased confidence.

As for costs and uptake, the total estimated cost per course run in 2017 is $0.20 and 2017 has more than doubled 2016 figures for number of courses run. Over 40,000 courses were run through the platform in the first eight months of 2017 and another 40,000 through the app. When the UK only had two modules live, they halved induction training from ten days to five, saving costs and resources.


When Jeremy Hoyland, Sales Capability Director, reflected on the solution, he stated: ‘This is an exciting chapter in a bigger part of a story. We’re looking at where we go with this in regards to improving quality of content and adding additional functionality to make it that much better of an experience. Having never done learning like this before, it’s helped us completely change our thinking and approach’.


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