A familiar business adage says that half of one’s marketing budget is always wasted, but one never knows which half! A similar level of uncertainty applies to training, especially from the point of view of continuous professional development. How can a professional IT reseller be sure that its investment in on-going training is well spent and providing the right people with the right skills to drive the business forward?
Tailoring training courses to the specific needs of an individual is an ideal that is difficult to achieve; rarely does one size fit all. It is time consuming and potentially wasteful to release staff for training courses. Some technical personnel may have to sit through sessions that tell them little or nothing that they don’t already know, whereas sales people may have to endure hearing in-depth discussions of technical minutiae well above the level that is necessary for them to close a deal.
Making matters more complicated is the changing nature of those making decisions about IT investments at customer level. The days when IT resellers spoke exclusively to IT managers are gone. Nowadays business decision makers such as Chief Executives and Chief Financial Officers are taking a much greater interest in the strategic importance of IT for their businesses. The sales pitch has to be modified to talk more about business benefits and potential improvements to the bottom line than about purely technical details.
At APC by Schneider Electric we’ve tailored specific training support for our partners to meet their individual needs, reducing the amount of duplication and unnecessary effort required. Our entry level of accredited partner, the Select level, comprises partners who focus mainly on SME customers ranging in size from 10 to 1,000 users. Such resellers concentrate mainly on delivering business benefits to their customers; the deployment of solutions is typically delivered in partnership with APC by Schneider Electric.
Needing to be familiar with how specific technologies and solutions benefit potential customers, sales personnel at Select partners must be kept up to date with the latest technology, market trends, available products, typical concerns of end-users and how solutions may be tailored to meet their needs. The training courses APC by Schneider Electric provides for this level are all delivered online and are user selectable so that there is no need for trainees to leave their office or wade through material that is not absolutely relevant to their prospects.
These online courses are designed to equip sales personnel with the information and support they need to have conversations with their customers about specific business challenges and how they may be addressed.
The difference between a Select and a Premier partner revolves around the level of technical skill and knowledge available among the respective partner’s personnel. Premier partners are more likely to be involved in the detailed design and specification of solutions for their customers and in the implementation and delivery of such solutions once the sale is completed.
Naturally, the level of technical knowledge required for Premier partners is such that online delivery of course material is insufficient. On-site face-to-face instruction in the technical details of new products and technologies is necessary. Such courses also equip sales support engineers with the knowledge of design tools and reference designs which can be used to build customised installations in line with the particular requirements of individual customers.
In a changing marketplace in which IT is becoming ever more pervasive and strategically important to the well being of every business, continuous investment in personnel development is both inevitable and desirable. At APC by Schneider Electric, we believe in supporting our business partners with the best possible training materials that can be delivered in the most efficient and appropriate manner possible. What is good for our partners is of course good for our customers.
Click here to find out more about the benefits of partnership with APC by Schneider Electric.