"One of the biggest things our industry lacks is certifications," declared Louis Hayner, chief sales officer of Philadelphia-based Alteva, a provider of hosted IP communications services in a recent conversation with Enterprise VoIPplanet.
"There are certifications in every other technology business. There just isn't one for telecommunications or hosted VoIP or hosted UC," Hayner continued.
Alteva set about to remedy this situation, announcing, earlier this month, the launch of a six-day, in-depth course aimed at educating its channel partners in a more fruitful approach to selling cloud-based communications services.
"Over the last few years, we have evangelized the cloud and made the cloud the next thing," Hayner said. "Most channel partners would agree; they get it. They need to sell hosted VoIP services and they need to sell hosted UC services. The challenge comes in how to sell ithow to position it differently."
The accepted sales pitch for hosted VoIP and other communications services has stressed cost savings. And that, Hayner insists, only leads to 'a race to zero.'
"The world has changed, the technology's changed; you need to sell in a different fashion. The channel partners haven't really been driving the benefit-based sale," he said.
"What we've done is incorporate our sales model with the Sandler Instituteprobably the country's largest, if not the world's largest sales training organization. So it teaches the channel partners that go through the UC certification how to sell and position in a different way," Hayner said.
The full certification course consists of six days of on-premise training, divided into three levels, with two days devoted to each level.
Level One is a deep dive into the technologies underpinning unified communications and the evolution of those technologies. "They need to understand from the beginning to the end how we got to where we are," Hayner asserted.
With a clear understanding of telecommunications infrastructure in place, the training then moves to the sales positioning arena.
Level two training takes an in-depth look at the Alteva sales process. The curriculum focuses strongly on providing channel partners with unique tactical sales and communication skills, outbound call scripts, and techniques to use to control the buyer-seller dynamic that will help give partners a highly effective approach to prospecting.
One goal here is teaching channel personnel "how to run a first appointment in a different way," Hayner saidfocusing on benefits and 'pain points,' rather than cost savings.
Level 3 then moves on to impact training in which Sandler provides a formula for successful selling, by teaching several of its proven techniques. It culminates in a detailed examination of how to conduct a relationship from first call through closing.
In addition to the six days of on-premise training, there are four hours of Webinar training as a follow-up to each level, Hayner pointed out.
"What I want to convey about this program," he said, "is it's not an hour-long conversation that happens at CompTIA or Channel Partners conference. It's really in depth; it's really meant to transform the industry.
"A high tide raises all ships, and the fact that we're introducing this and making the content available, we're hoping that other service providers will pick up the ball and start having more pride and more integrity in what we do," Hayner commented.
"It's only going to help the entire industry, and at the end of the day, it's going to help the end-user."