Many companies in the IT and High Tech sectors talk of selling solutions matched to their customers’ problems or issues. Surely a pre-requisite for solution selling is that the sales team (in its widest sense) have a basic understanding of the customer’s business environment and the issues and problems that the customer in his particular industry is likely to be facing. In addition it is advantageous to understand and use language / terms that relate to the customer’s business. Once the salesperson has this knowledge they can have intelligent conversations with business executives and frame questions to gather relevant information. Based on this they can propose targeted solutions.
However in my experience (I was recently involved in developing and delivering business role plays for sales training for a leading IT supplier), the salespeople rarely have this level of knowledge, are unable to develop and ask the right questions and because of a confidence factor drop back into the IT technical gobbledegook where they are most comfortable, and which is totally inappropriate for business executives. One solution of course is to employ people from specific industries into sales and / or support roles. However these people may not have the necessary IT sales / technology skills, will be industry specific (e.g. somebody from the Aerospace sector will not necessarily have relevant knowledge for the Pharmaceutical sector), and the knowledge should be across the sales team – sales, pre and post sales support, implementation and indirect/ third party sales – not placed in one individual. IT companies themselves rarely have the resources, or knowledge to deliver an industry specific training programme across a wide range of different industries – each industry has its own language, structure, processes, issues, problems and opportunities, etc. And of course this information has to be kept current and relevant since for example, industry issues and structure change frequently – e.g. new players enter the market, new technology is developed, mergers and acquisitions change the industry structure and competition, new legislation is introduced.
As a solution sales person in the past I would have done anything to get this sort of training, and in the end took a Masters programme in advanced manufacturing systems. Fortunately, this extreme is not necessary for today’s sales teams, since an e-learning industry knowledge programme has been developed by respected industry consultants CAMBASHI. The programme already in use in some global companies for direct and indirect sales, addresses eleven industries and is maintained and kept relevant. The programme is self paced and can be integrated into existing learning management systems and the content can also be trainer led or a combination of e-learning and trainier led. For more information contact Roy O’Neil on: 0208 826 8262 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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