Training Experience

Since my first day at the Gillotte company, I have been heavily involved with training. Initially, this was limited to one-on-one training of sales reps, but eventually grew to include the development of complete training programs and two to three day product seminars.   

Sales Rep Training:

At Gillotte, my main task was the one-on-one training of sales reps to identify opportunities to sell Oblique's range of office systems products. Our product line was originally divided into several product "groups:" Datastor™, Artstor™, Librarystor™, Formstor™, and Filing Conversions. Each group was simply a subset of the same products designed to meet the specific needs of a group of customers. The names are fairly self explanatory. However, after several months, I realized that the company's way of training reps was not as effective as it could be since we had no "leave behind" materials from which they could draw information.

I wrote the company's first training manual (on the Artstor concept) on spec, and presented to the company for their consideration. After seeing the manual, the GM asked to continue to project until I had written a complete set of manuals for all our products. These were then integrated into all sales training across the company. Each manual was broken into sections:

  • Product Info (all about our product line)
  • Target Markets (vertical markets where the product has been/could be sold)
  • Who to contact (names, titles, how to get in the door)
  • Prospecting for customers (various methodologies that have proven successful from cold calling to direct mail)
  • Overcoming Objections (teaching reps how to handle difficult situations)
  • Pricing a system (complete pricing information, including "cafeteria" pricing)
  • Competitive Selling (information on all competitors)
  • Comparative costs (sample systems priced using competitive solutions for "apples to apples" comparison)
  • Available support materials (samples of all support materials including brochures, case studies, etc.)
  • Glossary of industry terms (an overview of the language used by potential customers)
  • Additional Industry information (additional industry developments that might help reps with customers)         

At AECO, I was involved in training on two levels: 1) sales reps--using my knowledge of Oblique to handle this portion of the basic sales rep training course, as well as teaching reps about the marketing materials and sales tools that were available to them. and 2) customer education.

Sales Meetings:

As Director of Marketing at AECO Products, one of my major responsibilities was the Annual Sales meeting. The meeting usually took place over three or four days at a major resort, either in Georgia or Florida. I was responsible for all aspects of the meeting: from determining and developing a theme, deciding on the agenda, scheduling all speakers and activities, and booking all transportation and accommodations.

Because of my background in video and audio production, I also redeveloped the entire meeting format, including multi media presentations (as opposed to historic overheads), utilizing audio, video, slides, and eventually Powerpoint presentations. I created all content and wrote all scripts. I also was responsible for all collateral materials required during the meeting.    

Customer Education:

One of the challenges faced by all companies is educating customer about their products. At AECO, most of this was handle by sales reps. However, we faced constant change in the postal environment, as well as immerging technologies, such as recycling, that required a broader approach. To this end, I developed several seminars that I presented to end users. This included group from 200 to 200 at customer conferences, industry trade shows, and special events organized by sales people. Topics included:

  • "Designing Direct Mail for Maximum Impact"
  • "The Truth About Recycled Paper Products"
  • "The Impact of New Postal Regulations on Your Business"

Dealer Training:

While President of CMC, I was responsible for not only what training would look like, but where it would be held, the budget, materials, and much of the course materials itself. Our first endeavor was three regional "Spring Training" conferences held in the Eastern, Central, and Western Territories. The three days seminars were designed for two purposes: 1) to assure dealers that a change in company ownership would not affect the quality or our training and b) to bring the entire dealer network "up to speed" on where the company and product lines were positioned for the future. Although attendance was by choice of the dealer, we ended up training over 150 sales reps in a four week period at sessions in Lake Tahoe, Cincinnati, and Asheville, NC.

The last formal dealer training I developed and managed was designed when our company moved from an old, somewhat dilapidated plant, to a new facility in Irmo, SC. I was solely responsible for creating the content and all materials for the three day school. The computer based presentation was created in Powerpoint™ and also included video, audio and hands-on experiences for reps. Over a three year period, over 200 reps came through the school, approximately half the total sales force.      



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