Industry best practice sales advice available to channel

CompTIA adds to its skills crusade with new sales toolkit

IT Trade association CompTIA has released the new sales toolkit based on experiences of companies that have achieved notable growth, and provides IT organisations with guidance, templates and tools to help optimise their sales operations.

“We’re seeing that whilst Solution Providers are obviously very technically savvy, they sometimes require the sales skills necessary to generate new business,” said Kris Nagamootoo, senior manager, Vendor Relations at CompTIA.

The collection of IT hiring strategies, Service Level Agreements, sales tools and budget planning aims to provide a template for smaller channel firms seeking growth.

“We are often asked to put on sessions at our events that address sales techniques, so the sales toolkit is a resource a solution provider can refer to at any time and addresses many issues they may come across during the sales cycle,” continued Nagamootoo.

“Through our constant dialogue with the UK channel, we’re seeing that a lot of organisations are seeking advice on sales best practice, and this adds to our ongoing efforts to help channel companies achieve business excellence,” said Leanne Johnson, engagement manager, CompTIA.

Indeed the company has been active in various initiatives in 2015 to improve skills across the channel including introducing a Future Leaders Community.

The new toolkit is split into three key areas;

Business Owners: Guidance on hiring strategies to budget planning and what sales tools to use

Sales Professionals: Advice on navigating the sales cycle – from set-up to pre-sales to post-sales

Tools and Templates: A comprehensive library of tips and tricks on how to write proposals, thorough contracts and SLAs

By utilising these tools, IT organisations can be more confident of a gaining a competitive edge, CompTIA says.

“Members can now make the most of guidance based on industry standards on how to travel along the sales journey, help them to recruit the right people, promote themselves correctly and safeguard against contractual issues, leaving them to focus on their technical abilities,” continued Johnson.

The library of ‘best practices’ is estimated to be worth £3,200. In addition to this toolkit, CompTIA has also revised some of its education materials including their executive certificate in Financial Management and Quick Start Guides on managed IT services and managed print services.

Worries about skills and quality in the workforce are rife in the industry, CompTIA says. Back in May the organisation claimed that only 14% of those firms quizzed globally were where they wanted to be with skilled staff and 86% acknowledged the need to improve the level of skills. One of the answers seems to be improving the talent that is already onboard with just shy of half of employers already using e-learning tools and 44% using instructor led classroom courses.

CompTIA has also returned to grass roots this year by providing a Skills Boost programme which target parents, teachers and students to underline the message that ‘a tech career is not a dead end but in high demand’ and has been active in encouraging more women into the industry with the Dream IT scheme.

This initiative not only highlights the broad number of career opportunities in the IT sector but also attempts to challenge some of the stereotypes about it being a ‘geeky’, male dominated world.

"There is a misconception and not all the jobs in tech are technical. There are roles in finance, accounting, sales support and many others that exist in a tech company," said Todd Thibodeaux.

According to Thibodeaux, the new toolkit will help the channel to encourage firms of all sizes to polish up not only on knowledge and expertise in IT skills but in important marketing skills needed in any supply and service industry.

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