Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Customer Training - The outlook is good

For the past few years I have encouraged distributors to get into the training business. In spite of their best efforts, community colleges and other traditional technical training organizations continue to fall short of the needs of our customers. They have a difficult time hosting anything besides the most fundamental of courses – technology manages to keep just a few car lengths ahead of them.

There is a growing demand for training. To illustrate this point, the US Department of Labor recently announced that America will need to train more than 270,000 new electrical workers by 2016. This statement mirrors those made related to a number of other skilled trades.
No one understands the local needs of customers like distributors. Often distributor Specialists have not only a working knowledge of products, they have deep understanding of the problems faced by their customers.

I believe using Specialists to conduct training offers a number of benefits:

1. Students (customers) have a tendency to share internal problems with the person conducting training. A traditional trainer uses this information to better his/her class materials. Conversely, a Specialist uses the information to develop the overall value proposition of the wholesaler. This information spills over into strategic plans, sales management and new product additions.

2. Specialists, who are part of the sales team, gain access to customer contacts that are normally shielded from sales via purchasing, union contracts and a number of other gatekeepers. This provides deeper connection between the wholesaler and his customer base.

3. Training offers an additional source of revenue which can be used to build the distributors competitive advantage. Further, this source of revenue allows for migrating into other “pay for services”. .

massive need for electrical training

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The organizations that offer the best trained people win in the future. It's as easy as that.