On a discussion today about certification training for agents under the TCA umbrella, we talked about what kind of training will it be.
Years ago, there was a CSP certification for agents that was created by Virgo (Phone+), Dale Stein of TAG, and Scott Levy. It didn't get much traction. Some think because of the money, but I think it's because agents don't want training.
How many agents think about the Industry, the Indirect Channel? How many agents think about ways to improve their business?
Does the 1099 contractor status of our industry mean affect how we think about the business?
You have to admit that the telecom industry as a whole is a lot like major sports leagues: players change teams often. Attending conferences is at least partly to collect the new business card from the personnel that cycle through companies. I'm not sure what that says about our industry.
Sales folks tend to think that they know all they need to know, which is a problem. Jeffrey Gitomer, sales author and trainer extraordinaire, says that salespeople might think they know it all, but they forgot a lot and don't apply enough of that knowledge regularly.
That's one more reason that sales training or certification meets resistance.
I think that when you are selling replacement services (mainly TDM products) then agents probably have all the product knowledge they need. As we move into the IP services realm, sales is vastly different. Certainly, you can quote out Internet Access to replace an out-of-contract pipe, but the Advisor role comes in when you realize that the prospect needs faster access to Europe, or a particular route, or precise ASN, or a choice number of end points like the financial markets.
Another example is UC. It's such a broadly applied term that without proper knowledge of both product and sales process, selling it will be very challenging. Without knowing the parts and pieces of UC - voice, video, email, chat, conferencing, mobility, collaboration - how do you even know what questions to ask the prospect? Or what keywords to listen for? Or what solution to propose? Sure, you can bring in a sales engineer but not for every prospecting call. You need a healthy combination of IP aptitude, product knowledge and sales skills. Come get some at TCA!