BLP Partners with Mosaic and Ventana to Win Two Brandon Hall Awards


Bottom-Line Performance and its clients partnered to win two 2016 Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards. This year’s winners were an innovative compliance training program that connects business goals and product knowledge to an environmental, health, and safety training curriculum and a product launch training curriculum that uses game-based learning and the power of story to help reps show the value of a new product.

BLP and The Mosaic Company partnered to win Gold in Best Advance in Compliance Training. The winning project, “Phosphate Foundations,” is a new hire training and annual refresher training program that is helping Mosaic improve safety outcomes and employee engagement. The project was the only Gold winner in the Compliance Training category.

“We saw the redesign of the program as an opportunity to use an innovative approach to compliance and safety training and get people talking about Mosaic, and about safety,” said Linda Anhalt, EHS Training Manager at Mosaic. “Phosphate Foundations proves that compliance training does not have to be boring.”

“The partnership between Mosaic’s EHS Training department and Bottom-Line Performance (BLP) was truly a winning combination,” said Andy McGuire, Director of Operations – Learning & Development at Mosaic. “Linda Anhalt, came up with a new and innovative idea on how to deliver an engaging, interactive and integrated performance-based course for safety compliance training, which has historically been viewed as highly necessary but needing much greater participant engagement. Her and her team worked side by side with BLP to design a remarkable course.”

Phosphate Foundations uses compliance constraints creatively to show Mosaic employees how everyday safety procedures connect to its organizational mission of feeding a growing world. Learn about the curriculum here.

BLP and Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (Ventana), a member of the Roche group, won Silver in Best Use of Blended Learning. It was the second award win of 2016 for the VENTANA HE 600 product launch training curriculum, and the sixth win in the last two years where BLP has partnered with the Roche group.

“Our goal as a global marketing team was to deliver to our sales affiliates a truly turnkey, best in class commercial education program that would enable our sales and marketing colleagues to communicate fluently through powerful storytelling the value proposition of our innovative diagnostic system,” said Vince Wong, former Senior International Business Leader at Ventana and current Vice President of Strategy and Communications at Roche Diagnostics. “Thanks to our partnership with Bottom-Line Performance, we were able to realize this vision. The awards this curriculum has won provide further validation for the innovative commercial training model we pioneered at Ventana.”

The VENTANA HE 600 training curriculum helped support a successful launch… and it has set a new organizational standard for product launch training at Ventana. Learn more about the curriculum here.

“2016 is BLP’s third consecutive year with multiple Brandon Hall wins,” said BLP President Sharon Boller. “Submitting for and winning awards like these represents our commitment to leading the way in instructional design and partnering with our clients to create solutions that truly improve performance.”

The entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group Sr. Analysts and Executive Leadership based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation, and overall measurable benefits. Less than 20% of entries evaluated win a Gold, Silver or Bronze designation.

Bottom-Line Performance Wins Four 2015 Brandon Hall Excellence Awards


Bottom-Line Performance partnered with clients to win four 2015 Brandon Hall Excellence awards. BLP received recognition for its unique approaches to learning, use of games and its ability to design blended learning curriculums with many different types of solutions that drive learner success.

BLP and Roche Diagnostics partnered to win two awards: Bronze in Best Use of Blended Learning and Silver in Best Unique or Innovative Learning Program. In both categories, the winning project was the cobas® ReImagine Customer Training program. This curriculum was also the recipient of a 2015 LTEN Excellence Award and is currently a finalist in the CLO Learning in Practice Awards.


Blended learning was a common theme in BLP’s winning entries: BLP partnered with Dow AgroSciences to win Bronze Best Use of Blended Learning for the Enlist™ Product Launch Curriculum.


The Knowledge Guru game-based learning platform also earned another distinction: BLP and Ally Financial partnered to win Bronze in Best Use of Games and Simulations for Learning. Knowledge Guru was the recipient of three Brandon Hall awards in 2014, including two “Gold” distinctions.


“It’s been a banner year for us, both with the creative work our teams are doing and the success our clients are having with the solutions we provide,” says BLP CEO Kirk Boller. “It’s outstanding to receive this type of industry recognition for the work we do. We treat every client relationship like a partnership, and I think these awards reflect that.”

The entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group Sr. Analysts and Executive Leadership based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation, and overall measurable benefits.

How to Create Award-Winning Training Solutions


The after-glow of our three 2014 Brandon Hall awards is starting to fade away. Yes, excitement can only last for so long… and we are hard at work making plans to submit for 2015 awards. Many of the clients we talk to care about awards and would like to have the prestige that comes from having them attached to their training efforts.

But if you’ve never submitted for an award before, how do you know your learning solution is award-worthy? And what do you need to include in the submission to draft a winner?

The “Secret Sauce”

If you want to receive awards for the training you create, you have to be able to articulate two things: value and innovation. Too frequently training functions cannot articulate the value their solution(s) delivered to the organization. They cannot describe a problem or how their training solution helped solve or at least reduce the severity of the problem. That’s the secret sauce.


The folks in L&D who do gather up all the fancy trophies and industry accolades have submissions that describe innovative solutions that solved a quantifiable problem. Think about it in terms of submitting a “before and after” story. Here are some examples:

  • Before we implemented training, we had numerous safety accidents on the XYZ machine. It was costing us $X and X days in lost productivity as a result of accidents.  After training, our accidents decreased by X%, our costs were $X, and our days of lost productivity decreased by X.
  • Before training, we were spending up to 24 months ramping up a new-hire. Our team leads were self-reporting high levels of stress and our employee surveys indicated low job satisfaction for those in team leadership roles.  After we implemented our new employee onboarding training program, we winnowed down the ramp-up to 12 months—a 100% decrease in the time required to achieve full productivity. While we do not yet have the results of the most recent employee survey, a poll of team leaders indicates that they perceive stress levels to be “significantly lower” than before we implemented the new onboarding program.
  • We have 90 people in the director of recruitment role in our organization. Before training, the annual employee turnover for the director of recruitment role was 30%. It cost our organization $18,000 for every new hire we had to make, which meant our annual spend on the recruitment, hiring, and training of this role was $486,000. After training, we were able to reduce it to 20% AND decrease the time to full productivity by 3 months. Our annual costs for recruiting and hiring decreased to $324,000, which is a 33% cost savings.
  • Before training we were spending up to 3 months at a customer site following installation of our product. After we launched the revamped customer education program, satisfaction ratings improved from an average of 3.75 out of 5 to an average of 4.5 out of 5.  In addition, we reduced time on site by 30 days. This resulted in a cost savings of $8,000 per customer.

The common denominator in these stories is some form of data that identifies a problem, quantifies its impact to the business, and then quantifies the results obtained from implementing a training solution. Too often, training is not quantified.

So what can you do when you don’t have data? The simple answer is to get some, and here are some tangible techniques you can use to help you do that.

Probe more than once. Don’t accept the first answer as the final answer.

If you ask a subject matter expert or stakeholder, “What is the problem and how can you quantify it,” avoid accepting the initial response that might go like this:

“We don’t have any actual numbers, but I’ve been hearing from the field that this is an issue.  I’ve talked to our lab chemists and they  tell me that they are answering the same questions over and over. They are sharing basic information that field reps should really know themselves. If they were able to answer questions, I know it would be beneficial to us.

Your stakeholder or SME may well be right, but you should probe. If this is really a big issue that costs the company money, chances are that data is not as difficult to assemble as the SME thinks. Here are things you can ask to help quantify the problem and its impact on your company:

  • How many chemists are affected by a sales rep’s need to call for technical support?
  • Ask the chemists: In a given week, how many calls or emails from sales reps do you respond to and what are the most common issues? How much time do you spend on this per week – 30 minutes, an hour, 2 hours, etc.
  • Ask a handful of key distributors: How frequently do you ask a sales rep a product question that he or she cannot answer? If he or she cannot answer you immediately, can you quantify any dollar impact to your business? What about your perception of ACME as a supplier?

Ask for the stakeholder to give you a dollar value that they would associate with whatever problem they describe to you. Ask them: Is it worth $10K, $20K, $30K, etc? Why? What benefit will ACME get by implementing this solution?

Sometimes, the act of asking them to assign a value will help the stakeholder or SME realize they need more data before jumping to solution design. After all, the data might help create a better solution!

In truth, if it is worth $10K or less, then you are not looking at a very robust learning solution…and if you are not looking at a robust solution, will you truly affect performance change? Even if a solution is 100% designed, developed, and delivered internally (no vendors), the cost is likely to quickly approach at least $10,000 when we factor in the time for a training person to design and build the solution, the time a SME will spend providing content expertise, and the time all the employees will spend completing the training.

What about innovation?

This is the other element to the “secret sauce” of winning awards You have to go beyond defining a problem and quantifying results. You need to think about how you did it DIFFERENTLY than others have done. How is the solution an advancement in the field? What new approaches does it use that might be a model for others?


Of course, the “innovation” must be relevant to the topic you are submitting the award for. If you have submitted your project for a “Best Use of Blended Learning” award, but the results of the project are not at all related to the blended learning approach, then your chances of winning are lower, even if the results are good.

In the award we submitted with Cisco, the “before” problem they identified was a challenge with getting new sales associates to retain large amounts of product and technical information. Through learner surveys and learning objective completion rates, they were able to determine that the spaced repetition built into Knowledge Guru games had a meaningful impact on solving their problem. In this case, the way gaming was connected to learning science was considered “innovative,” and the innovation mattered because it drove results for Cisco.

So, You’re Saying There’s a Chance?

In the end, there’s no guarantee that a particular learning solution will win an award, no matter what organization you submit it to. A small percentage of projects will win any given award, and even fewer will win a “Gold” distinction. Whether you plan to submit your work for awards or not, adopt an award-winning mentality by showing measurable results and using innovative designs and approaches to drive those results.


Bottom-Line Performance, ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Win Brandon Hall Award for “MobileConnect Guru”


Bottom-Line Performance and the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud won a coveted Brandon Hall Group bronze award for excellence in the Best Use of Games and Simulations for Learning category. BLP and ExactTarget’s win was announced on September 10th, 2014. The winners are listed at

The winning solution, MobileConnect Guru, was created using the Knowledge Guru Game-Based Learning Platform. Knowledge Guru is a cloud-based platform for designing serious games that link engagement and motivation to the science of learning and remembering.

ExactTarget’s employees, resellers and partners played the game to gain mastery over mobile terminology and product features and benefits – mastery that is critical to effectively selling and supporting a product. The game reinforced other rollout efforts and provided a “just before launch” reinforcement.

“We are continually looking at ways to innovate on our learning initiatives,” said Scott Thomas, Director of Product Enablement at ExactTarget. “The Knowledge Guru platform was a fun and new way for us to reinforce the training we needed to do with the launch of our new product. Our clients loved it, and the training led to meaningful business outcomes.”

“ExactTarget Marketing Cloud was truly innovative in the way they incorporated the Knowledge Guru platform into their training,” said Sharon Boller, President and Chief Product Officer at BLP. “They are a best-in-class example of how games can be integrated into a broader product launch training effort. We are proud of the award but more proud of the business results MobileConnect Guru helped drive for ExactTarget.”

The entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group Sr. Analysts and Executive Leadership based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation, and overall measureable benefits.

About the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud

The ExactTarget Marketing Cloud from (NYSE: CRM) is the leading 1:1 digital marketing platform, connecting companies with customers in entirely new ways. Learn more at

About Bottom-Line Performance, Inc

Bottom-Line Performance is a learning design firm serving a wide range of corporate, nonprofit, and government clients. Since 1995, we’ve helped clients choose the right learning solutions for their learners, while also helping them to design and develop learning tools effectively. Areas of specialization include product launches, customer training, customer service training, and safety and compliance training. BLP is a certified woman-owned business.

About Knowledge Guru

Bottom-Line Performance is the creator of Knowledge Guru, a game-based learning platform that uses learning science to increase employee knowledge retention and improve performance. Use it to create a single serious game teaching foundational knowledge or an extended play experience that incorporates performance challenges to help players acquire and practice new skills. The secret? Every game mechanic and game element is carefully linked to the science of how we learn and remember.