Education, education, education

Education, education, education

Peter Orr of Servassure

Peter Orr of Servassure

The move from traditional to IP technology is underway, but, asks Peter Orr of Servassure, what are companies doing to make sure their sales people and staff are keeping up with the changes?

In recent months I have seen a real lack of drive within some areas from those who should be investing in the development of their staff into new technologies.

While education and training may be costly and time-consuming, it is a vital element if a company is to succeed in the newly converged telecoms world.

When I started work at Rank Zerox we were put on a six-week residential sales course which you either passed or failed; there was no middle ground and no excuses.

The skills which I learnt on that course have stayed with me right through my career and I am sure that all the people I have managed since then and have gone on to big jobs in the industry, would say they have felt the benefits as well. So what has happened to sales training, or indeed management training?

 

How many times do we see a good sales person promoted to be a sales manager without any formal sales management training? In my experience it is hardly ever.

We need companies to bring back more training and investment into individuals and can guarantee the benefits will be felt all round.

Training should never be viewed as a desirable item on your wish list if you had money to provide it, nor as an after-thought that you can slot in if you find the time.

Needless to say you will never justify the expense and the time would never be scheduled into your work’s calendar.

You need to take education and training seriously and view it as an integral part of your staffing and business strategy.

Sales people are a reseller’s bread and butter, but they are often under-skilled and under-trained in areas where they should actually excel.

They are the face of the company, the ambassadors bringing new companies on board and upgrading current customers on to new technologies.

Company bosses need to make sure their sales people and internal staff fully understand new technologies entering the market and how vital they will be in the future successes of the company.

And this training is not necessarily generic, in fact in the telecoms world it needs to be quite the opposite.

Every company I know has a variety of bespoke offers for partners and direct customers and an untrained eye could easily confuse the two, three, four or more offers on the table.

It goes without saying that it is vital for your salesforce to understand your own company’s proposition inside out.

It doesn’t matter where this training comes from – it may be in-house, from a supplier, or a combination of both – as long as your staff know the offer inside out and back-to-front.

Nor does it matter how you decide to train your staff, it may be through bespoke courses and training modules, instructor-led discussions, demonstrations and hands on exercises.

You need to look at your workforce and decide which method will work best for you and if it doesn’t work first time round don’t be afraid to change tack the next time.

But first you must make sure your proposition is fit for market. Resellers need to think about their audiences, consider their needs, find a product that will satisfy their telecoms needs at the right price and then offer them a simple easy to understand package.

Only when this proposition is ready and fit for market should you consider training staff and sales people to meet requirements.

Convergence has been on us for four or five years now, there is nothing new in regard to hosted applications and IP telephony so why are people being slow about it?

There is much market share to be had for the person who gets it right and to do that requires education and training.

What’s more, it will also give you a major competitive advantage, as by providing a competent stable, well-led workforce you will be in a prime position to beat off your competitors in what has always been a very competitive market.

 
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