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Continuing Sales Education Is Key

16 Sep, 2009 By: Rob Gilbert imageSource

Continuing Sales Education Is Key

Demands are at an all time high for salespeople.  They have sales quotas,
leasing to deal with, paperwork and commissions to calculate, and all of the
other things that take up their work time. They also need to be aware of product
changes, software updates, new hardware models and features to memorize, let
alone researching their competition and dealing with customers still nervous
about the economy.

More than ever it is increasingly important that sales reps keep current with
trends, tools, processes, and methods that can help them be more knowledgeable
in order to become more profitable in their territories.  The office dynamic is
changing and sales reps need to be better prepared to communicate and consult
far more effectively in today’s fierce office environment. Or they (you?) will
be out of the loop, especially with programs such as Print Management and the
strategic MPS sales process that is required. 

Self-Paced E-Learning

With limited amounts of time available to take salespeople out of the field
and still have them being productive, is a major concern for most dealers.
Concise in-house training is one solution to consider. Another tool that is
becoming increasingly popular is online training courses.  The ability to study
online affords the sales rep or student the ability to learn at a pace that they
control, and still produce measurable results for the dealer principal. 
Salespeople all learn a little differently, and e-learning lets them each work
toward a particular goal or certification without having to worry about
finishing within a set timeline or hour of the day. 

Self-paced curriculum lets you read, re-read, and review each piece of
material before moving on to the next task.  E-learning also keeps your reps
close to home, and allows you to bypass the travel related expenses normally
associated with sending people away for training.  You also get the added
benefit of having salespeople that become certified in a given set of skills,
and can utilize courses or certifications as gates toward commission increases,
promotions, specialization in your dealership, and marketing to specific sets of
clients based on the accreditations you have.  

A good e-learning course will be set up to assess rep competence along the
way and provide the opportunity for review and correction toward completion. 
You want to look for a course that will cover all aspects of a given field and
provide salespeople with in depth knowledge for use in the field.  In the field
of Managed Print Services, you want to have a course that teaches all aspects of
the MPS process including telemarketing, setting appointments with C -level
contacts and building rapport with decision makers.


Courses should move to the initial call, building trust and providing a
value proposition to the client, with focus on positioning your dealership as
experts in the field of MPS.  Interestingly, a MPS certification from an
e-learning class can help you do this.  Teaching reps how to interpret data
taken from an audit read, building a TCO (total cost of ownership) and floor
planning should be included in your overall curriculum. 

Courses, when they are self-paced, allow a student to absorb much more
information than a one or two day class with a room full of salespeople. 
Building a strong case for a takeover and delivering a complete proposal are
other key elements that should be included in an e-learning class. 

Reps, returning “students” of all ages, should also learn how to overcome
objections and get validation from findings they have obtained during the
discovery phase of the process.  Implementation, account reviews, and future
farming opportunities are also beneficial to learn about, as they will help
dictate the pace of the relationship going forward with the customer.  These
issues should be addressed in course work.

Dealers should be interested in providing good continuing education for their
employees, and establish a way to measure success results for the dollars they
are spending on personnel.  Consider good online courses for your team.  It’s an
investment that allows staff to learn on demand at home or work depending on
preference, at a pace that doesn’t need to interrupt your business flow, while
adding credentials to your sales team. Among training programs available
consider Rainmaker Strategies that offers a comprehensive MPS e-learning course
(training available 9/30/09).

Whether you choose to have specialists that will sell MPS, or want to have
your reps have a working knowledge of the MPS process, online training will give
you the most freedom to conduct business as usual and still develop your sales
team, telesales team, senior management, etc.  It will also give you a
competitive edge with prospective new hires by letting you show them a training
and career path based on attained specialized training.


E-Learning provides major benefits to the organizations & individuals

  1. Reducing environmental impact: eLearning allows people
    to avoid travel, thus reducing travel and time expenses as well as the
    overall carbon output of fuel. That it takes place in a virtual environment
    also allows some reduction of paper usage. With virtual notes instead of
    paper notes and online assessments instead of paper assessments, eLearning
    is a more environmentally friendly solution.
  1. Quality education, made affordable: The fact that
    instructors of the highest calibre can share their knowledge across borders
    allows students to attend courses across physical, political, and economic
    boundaries. Recognized experts have the opportunity of making information
    available internationally, to anyone interested at minimum costs. This can
    drastically reduce the costs of education, making it much more affordable
    and accessible.
  1. Convenience and flexibility to learners: In many
    contexts, eLearning is self-paced and the learning sessions are available
    24x7. Learners are not bound to a specific day/time to physically attend
    classes. They can also pause learning sessions at their convenence, not
    interrupting their daily work environment.

Rob Gilbert Sr., President, Rainmaker Strategies International,  has 23
years experience in the office equipment industry, implementation of CPP
programs from consultation to implementation, and performs sales & management
training and consulting including MPS program setup. Contact him at:
rgilbertsr@gmail.com.  www.rainmakerworld.com.

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