We live and work during fascinating times in the security industry. Just when you think you are a seasoned veteran and have seen it all, a day can change everything relating to your perception of “working relationships” and the roles we are expected to play. I just had a day like that and dragged about 19 people along with me for the roller-coaster ride.
The learning playground was PSA-TEC 2014, held in May. This venue is open to the entire security ecosystem and never disappoints those who participate. Notice I didn’t say attend. There are those in this world who attend, and there are those who choose to participate — which are you?
Well, the specific day was about participating in unique and devious levels of challenges, competition, vertical market knowledge, teamwork, technical product knowledge, and business knowledge. All this, with about 300 combined years of security industry experience participating. It marked the debut, in a public forum, of my Train Like a Marine (TLaM) series, which engages the entire security ecosystem in learning, sharing, teaching and adding a “few” years of experience in a few short hours to a security sales, operations and management team. Did I mention it is a blast to do? Well it is. Just ask the participants or the PSA vendor partners (AMAG, Arecont Vision, Brivo, HID, March Networks, Seneca and 3xLOGIC). This was NOT a product info dump, however. It was a structured business application approach to designing network-centric solutions.
Putting fire hoses of experience and learning in the mouths of willing or unwilling sales teams has been my passion for the past 17 years. Applying just the right amount of knowledge pressure without blowing up the teams is part science, art, experience … and mostly magic. Now to make it even more complex let’s consider that the audience includes both sales veterans and those brand new to sales in the security industry. With such varying levels of experience, the trick is to keep their interest, attention and participation. What’s the secret sauce?
Strengthening Sales Relationships Is Key
We leveraged their strengths and weaknesses as a team, gave them a problem to solve, mixed in just enough structure to keep them from getting lost, blended in a fast pace, and backed it up with some good ol’ sales competition. And presto — complex design, product, and customer business value served up to the new age convergence channel sales professionals. But, you’re thinking, this sounds so complex; is this really necessary? Our conventional approach is still working, isn’t it? That depends if your people “attend” or “participate” in the learning session.
If you provide a logical, methodical and simple approach, both sales teams and their customers can work together more closely. Why? Because your team and their customers participate in the roller-coaster ride of decision making during the needs analysis and walk-through phase. Their relationship becomes much stronger and more adaptable as they solve problems together. Those are good qualities for both newbies and sales veterans.
So what do you think they got out of this tortuous day with a drill instructor? For starters, confidence and self-awareness of the complexities to selling a very converged and fast-moving environment. The process redefines the concept of roles, communications and takeaways for those who choose to participate. My role as a security consultant can add depth.
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