The art of selling

Vendors are arming the sales staff of their partners for better results

Tags: Avaya IncorporationFujitsu Technology Solutions - UAEJuniper Networks IncorporatedSymantec CorporationXerox Corporation
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The art of selling Sreekumar, SanDisk.
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By  Andrew Seymour Published  February 16, 2011

Revenue booked through the channel will naturally suffer without the right level of sales training and education, which is why vendors are prescribing new programmes and techniques to arm the sales staff of their partners with the skills they need to flourish.

Belonging to a part of the world renowned for its fierce trading heritage, it is little surprise that the art of selling has never really been an issue for the Middle East IT market. Add the sort of lofty growth figures that the region has enjoyed during the last decade into the equation and it is easy to see why so many sales people in the channel sport grins like Cheshire cats.

But with the market now facing a fresh set of challenges dictated by the cautious spending habits of end-users, the very individuals tasked with bringing in revenue for their organisations must now be far more informed and astute than ever before.

This change in circumstances is not lost on the vendor community. Manufacturers might have slashed budgets in all sorts of areas over the last 18 months, but their appetite for ensuring partners are adequately equipped to sell their products shows no bounds.

With competition in the region intensifying and the pressure to meet quarterly targets constant, vendors are working hard – sometimes in conjunction with independent IT training providers – to educate sales staff working in the channel.

Juniper Networks recently implemented a new tool called The Juniper Networks Learning Academy, which is focused on enablement programmes for sales, pre-sales and post-sales partner resources.

“The Juniper Networks Learning Academy is an online learning centre designed to provide channel partners with sustainable and valuable sales and technical curriculums in a variety of on-demand formats including online testing, podcasts, videos and virtual demonstrations,” explains Taj El-Khayat, director of channel and general business sector at Juniper.

El-Khayat says that training is offered free of charge to partners and that the academy features customisable education resources, as well as a targeted course curriculum and an easy-to-use point system for tracking and gauging company and personal progress. He makes no secret of the fact that channel partners need to ensure their sales people have the right skills to drive true value add in the market.

“From a local SI perspective, pre-sales is a major component as it is essential to be able to position a solution that meets the customers’ needs, as well as have the skillset to implement and operate post-sales,” he explains. “From a distribution perspective, it is important to think in a true value add sense by creating a pre-sales and technical pool of resources that will enable partners to scale and jump on the trend that is reshaping the market. So, in simple terms, it is the solution and technical know-how that is most important and can add value.”

Like Juniper, IP telephony specialist Avaya has become increasingly focused in the way it provides sales training to the channel, a move that reflects the intensely solutions-led nature of its portfolio these days.

Tarek Hassaniyeh, regional channel leader for emerging markets at Avaya, says the firm now operates a ‘competency model’ around its core solutions, enabling partners to specialise in IP office products, unified communication, contact centres, data products and video solutions through simplified training modules.

“This programme will arm the sales people with the qualifications to position our technology with the customer and show how it will add value in terms of efficiency, productivity and cost reduction,” says Hassaniyeh.

2469 days ago
Vinod Mehra

Brilliant initiatives however such initiatives lack measurement. Further the initiatives focus on products, technology but rarely focus on selling methodologies.

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