So, a few weeks ago one of the line managers sends my manager an email recommending that the sales people (like me) attend a Software training session. She sends this out to all of us (me and my peers) and says we should attend. i responded asking for her reasoning, as I'm not a software salesman, and cant see what benefit I may get from this. She replied that if I want to sell the support services around the software, I need to know what the software does. Huh? Are you kidding me? More proof that satans daughter has no idea of what it is I / we do!
Basically, if a client is buying new / updating his software, he may ask me to assist with implementation services / support services. All I need to know is the name of the software. I then take this info back to the office (with any other information I will have got from the client, and present a request to a support person - I need a skill to implement / support etc. a XXX software implementation at YYY customer. That person then gets the contract together, identifies the required skills, prices, QA's and releases the contract to me. I get it back to the client, agree the price terms etc, and get it signed!
So, at which point do / did I need to know what the software does? In fact, I don't care if it makes coffee, services Ferrari's, or manages the clients payroll. All I had to do was provide assistance around the product.
Anyway, she said it was mandatory for me to attend. So I signed up. A whole week of training, at the Hilton in Sandton! Lunches were great!!! the course was interesting - at times - depending on the presenter. I aced the daily tests, even the first day one for which we were supposed to prepare and I didn't, and got a 89% on the final test on the Thursday afternoon! i wasn't tops, but was in the top 15 in a class of about 55!!! And then we had to do a presentation on Friday morning around an actual opportunity, adding to it anything we had learned in the week. For that I got 14/15!!!!
So, overall a very successful week, not that I was interested. But, I did learn that software basically sells itself. if your client tells you his problem, what he wants / needs to do, you can go back to the office and find a) someone who has the product, b) research the intranet, and either present the client with a solution, or take a specialist in the specific field in to meet with them.
On the basis that we have thousands of products available, it's almost a given that we will have something to meet the clients specific requirement. And then it's a doddle!!! However, as per usual, there is still the problem of lack of skills / resources to assist with the implementation / support of the product. This is where we fail the most, and this is why my job is so much harder....
Anyway, what this course has shown me is that maybe I can do more than just what I have been doing, and if approached, I could / would consider a position selling software. Why not?