Pro AV is a competitive market, and new value-added resellers (VARs) are joining the industry every year. Of course, the success of your own business revolves around several key factors, including your technology offering, expertise, and pricing. However, the knowledge and level of service offered by your VAR staff can be just as vital, so it’s important that they have a firm grasp on the pro AV industry and all its components. Are you training them in a way that will help them succeed?
When planning your training approach for both new and seasoned VAR employees, here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Start with the technology basics.
Your staff members likely have plenty of experience selling technology systems. However, it’s important that they fully understand the unique systems that fall under the pro AV umbrella, as well as the verticals in which you’ll be working.
For new staff members, as well as those who are unfamiliar with pro AV, host a training seminar that covers the technology basics. Cover the main product categories—including digital signage and video walls, meeting rooms, video conferencing, and audio and recording systems—and explain the various components that are involved in each system.
It’s also vital that your employees familiarize themselves with the benefits that pro AV technology offers each market, since they’ll likely be doing a lot of customer education on that front. Be sure to cover your own markets in depth and explain the role of pro AV in each of those markets. Whenever possible, share success stories and give specific examples that will help staff members understand the benefits that these technologies offer.
2. Get training support from your product vendors.
For VARs with a larger staff, you might consider looking to your product vendors for ongoing training support. The majority offer sales training and installation seminars—some on-site, others online—that are instrumental in getting VAR staff up to speed on a certain technology. Contact your manufacturer partners to find out about the training they offer and consider if it would be beneficial for your own team.
3. Ingrain your staff in the pro AV industry.
In order to stay on top of the latest industry trends, customer preferences and technology innovations, encourage your staff members to really dive into the pro AV industry. They can join industry associations such as InfoComm International and subscribe to trade publications like Digital Signage Today and Commercial Integrator in order to stay knowledgeable on the latest trends. When possible, send team members to industry tradeshows and other events so they have the opportunity to network and experience pro AV technologies in person.
4. Make training a continual process.
Training shouldn’t be a one-time item for your employees to check off on their to-do lists. It should be a continual process that helps them stay up to speed on such a rapidly evolving market. Depending on the size of your sales staff, you might opt to put it through a quick refresher course every couple of years or do a more intensive training every five years or so.
What other steps do you include when training new staff members on reselling pro AV systems? What tips do you have for VARs that are just getting started?