Tech Data expands knowledge base

Certification in Cisco and HP for Tech Data staff aims to provide resellers with better service and seeks to offer channel training in future

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By  Mark Sutton Published  July 31, 2001

Tech Data is building up its knowledge base, by focusing on professional certification for its sales and support staff. Seventeen salespeople from Tech Data have recently qualified as Cisco Sales Experts (CSE), certification that comes on top of an in house IT training course and exam, and completion of a number of Hewlett-Packard’s STARs training schemes.

The training has been undertaken as part of a scheme to focus the resources of the company into a ‘Centre of Knowledge’, to be able to offer better service to reseller customers, said Eliot Shephard, marketing director, Tech Data ME. “We are trying to introduce an understanding to our sales and support team, to bring them up to a professional level,” he explained.

The CSE qualification provides sales professionals with fundamental networking, product and industry knowledge, so that staff can understand reseller partners needs, and provide them with appropriate solutions. The course consists of Cisco Business Essentials for a technological and product overview, and Cisco Sales Essentials to give customer and market knowledge.

Shephard said that although Tech Data plans to offer more partner training in the future, the company had to first focus on its own staff. “We are filling in the gaps in the resellers knowledge, and filling in the gaps in the information flow from the vendors,” he said. “Our salespeople can talk their language, so we are confident that we can spec the project right first time, we know what it requires, what components go with what etc.”

Tech Data will continue with the training scheme, which mirrors initiatives in the states where the company has just completed certification in three Cisco specialisations, to extend training across all of its major vendors. The company is aiming for more web-based training and examination, and staff are happy to improve their skills, said Shephard. “The incentive to learn is really passed down to our sales people,” he said.

“They invest their time to improve themselves, and the results are very good. Skills development is a win for our customers and a win for Tech Data as they can recommend and up-sell new technologies, driving our sales and making us the first choice for technology resellers.”

Roger Levenhagen, marketing manager at Cisco Middle East. “On-going training is the key to success in the technology market—only by being smarter and better informed can technology providers differentiate themselves from competitors. In the increasingly commoditised technology market, great service keeps customers, great advice means they buy the products that best suit their needs.”

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