It’s a message that Ian Hunter, Head of Sales and Marketing at EDA Affiliated Member, Electrium Sales Ltd (A Siemens Company) is keen to share, and it’s central to his drive to align the professional skills and knowledge of his sales team with their key customer base – their Electrical Distributors. When lockdown started Electrium was straight in touch with the EDA to sign up 56 members of Electrium’s sales team on to the Association’s distance-learning training modules – the EDA Product Knowledge Programme.
“It’s essential that Electrium Sales has better relationships and is more closely aligned to the needs our wholesaler customers,” explains Ian,” and to do that we need to speak the same language as wholesalers, and their customers the contractors, and to incorporate this terminology into our thinking and content that we provide for our customers.
“How could we do that, and quickly? Well fortunately for us the answer was right in front of us: bespoke training that’s already been created for our sector – the EDA’s Product Knowledge Programme.
“The plan is that every member of Electrium’s sales team completes between three and five of the EDA modules as part of an Induction & Competency programme, “continues Ian, “this programme, which is the responsibility of Holly Smith Electrium’s Sales Support Manager, is aimed at ensuring that every one of our staff undertakes ongoing training and personal development to ensure that they, alongside our offer of products and services, remain fully up to date and market relevant. Electrium is fortunate in that we have people with decades of experience but we all know that you never stop learning.”
Here’s what members of Ian’s team had to say about the training and the benefits it has delivered.
In her newly created role as Sales Support Manager, Holly Smith, who will drive and manage the ongoing initiative to improve and maintain salesforce competence and learning commented,
Holly: preparing the next module order, “The feedback from all of the team has been extremely positive, both in respect of the content of the modules but also on how enjoyable and informative the team found them to be. We are currently undertaking a restructuring of our activity but as soon as this is completed I will be placing orders for the next batch of modules.”
With over 30 years’ experience in the sector, John Finnemore, one of Electrium’s 12 Area Sales Managers has achieved a Distinction in his first module, Introduction to the Principles of Electricity.
“You are always learning in this sector, you need to know your stuff. I am time-served but I did need a refresher on the basics. I regularly do presentations in colleges to groups of trainee electricians and that can be nerve wracking – I need to know at least as much, if not more than they do!
“It’s important that I inspire confidence in my customers and this training has certainly done that – it’s fantastic and I am keen to do more.”
Bespoke training for our sector
As Business Development Manager for part of the Northern Region, Julie Shabilla joined Electrium just over two years ago after well over a decade in the sector.
“Over the years I’ve acquired my knowledge through learning on the job and I’ve never been afraid to ask questions – I love acquiring new knowledge” explains Julie “ but nothing beats training that’s been specifically created for our sector like the EDA modules have.
“They are brilliant, and I am over the moon to have achieved a Distinction in both the modules I’ve completed so far: Introduction to the Principles of Electricity and Distribution, Switchgear and Protection. This result has given me a real boost of confidence and I’d recommend the EDA’s training to everyone in the supply chain, whether manufacturer or wholesaler, new recruits and experienced team members. You’ll get so much out of it.”
Strengthening wholesaler relationships
Bob French, Regional Sales Manager, added,
“I’ve been in the electrical sector for a long time but I am always open minded, and no one person knows it all. Without realising it you can become rusty in some areas and this EDA training has fixed that. My team of six, all of whom are very experienced, including one who is a fully qualified electrician, grabbed the opportunity with both hands and enjoyed it. In fact the results have set the bar rather high – they all got a Distinctions. I just hope we can keep that up!
“Electrium’s commitment to training demonstrates that we are aligning our business to that of the wholesaler, further strengthening the relationship with our customers. And that’s solid business sense.”