Smart lights have gone a long way from automatically switching on or off. Redwood’s intelligent lighting system uses a network of smart sensors that collect and analyse temperature, motion, and brightness data to deliver energy and cost-efficient, dynamic lighting.
Such an elaborate, smart system requires even smarter experts at the helm, whether for sales or for installation and maintenance. Your distributors and resellers aren’t only expected to promote a technically complex product, but also know how to install, properly configure, and service it.
An efficient training program will be an important cornerstone of this ecosystem. To be able to design one that drives growth for customers and satisfies end users, let’s begin by exploring the nuances of technical product training.
What Makes Technical Products Different From Regular Products?
End-user training is different from customer training
When your PC won’t boot, returning to the retailer you bought it from probably isn’t the first thing you try to do. Maybe you tinker with it yourself, aided by online tutorials. Maybe you contact the store’s support email directly.
Either way, you don’t expect the attendant who sold it to you to fix the problem. Sales partners on the floor need training that teaches them how to sell technical features–a completely different job from troubleshooting BIOS problems or fixing improperly connected power cables.
Installers will have different responsibilities. Yet their performance also affects your customers’ revenue, making them a part of the sales network. Competent, certified technicians win user loyalty and keep them coming back.
There’s a lot of theoretical and practical knowledge between these focus areas. Well-designed technical training programs can break that information down into distinct courses that meet the needs of the specific audience, whether that’s sales, marketing or technical.
You’re not just providing basic support
Twenty years ago, even simple troubleshooting issues would be phoned through to customer support. Now, with the abundance of wikis, FAQs, and forums, the modern end-user is much savvier, able to solve basic problems on their own.
This has altered the nature of tickets that do come in. The majority of technical support calls have risen in complexity. Sales partners need knowledge outside of what can already be found on the product’s page. You also need to keep in mind that you’re providing support to developers who understand the code behind the software, or engineers who have an intimate grasp of the mechanisms of field equipment.
Training equips partners with the ability to provide technical and personalised support–something beyond the capabilities of your average chatbot. Technology may be efficient, but end-users are still looking for competent, human agents with the emotional awareness to work with them through their problems. Trained experts can provide better support experiences, not only solving problems but also winning confidence in your customers’ abilities.
Why Is Training Important For Technical Products?
Certification grants authority
Car owners know that you never get a new car serviced outside an authorised dealership, as that will void the warranty. You’ll find similar stipulations in the Service Level Authorisation agreements for technical products like machinery and equipment.
Training allows customers to provide end-users with expert support within the bounds of a warranty. This builds trust and repeats business: a certification means distribution partners will be the first port of call for end-users.
Beyond supporting warranties, certification lays the groundwork for a network of qualified experts. These trained individuals will be your partners in selling, promoting, and servicing products.
Technology changes fast
We live in a time of rapid technological change. Every year brings a new spate of upgrades and improvements. Patches and driver updates roll out frequently throughout the year. In industry and computing, newer models can bring twice as powerful processing capabilities as the last.
It’s the principle of accelerating change in action, and manufacturers have to be able to keep up. Third-party sales partners can’t be left with outdated information. Precision and timely responses are crucial for troubleshooting critical systems, as well as building trust.
In terms of sales, partners continually need up-to-date knowledge to allow them to connect product specifications to the needs of the customer.
The training you give your sales partners directly impacts sales. In retail, associates who receive adequate product training can sell 87% more. People are also more confident when they feel like they know what they’re talking about, and that self-assured enthusiasm helps instil trust.
End-users of technical products are naturally even more discerning. Equipment, software, and machinery are substantial investments. Operations are reliant on these systems working as needed, and so sales partners need to appear competent enough to understand the technology and its importance to their needs.
Technical experts recognise new opportunities
Innovation stems from expertise. Before you can suggest improvements to a system, or a new way to use a product, you have to be able to know it inside out.
Trained sales partners can provide valuable insights for end-users. They know how to ask intelligent questions, thereby uncovering opportunities where they can position the product against a user’s needs.
It’s easy to lose benefits in the jargon
Scary fast and scary faster–these are the words Apple uses to describe the latest line of Macbook Pros. The laptops are equipped with the brand’s first-ever professional-grade processors, along with a host of other features. It’s easy to simply list down these impressive specs and leave them to speak for themselves, knowing your target market already understands what they mean.
But that’s not how effective selling works. Purchasing decisions are driven, at their core, by emotions. Making that emotional connection can be trickier with technical products. Associates need to know how to seamlessly bridge the gap between technical specifications and benefits for a particular end user.
Training for technical products can have as many moving parts as the products themselves. Product training doesn’t only touch on effective ways to sell and connect with users, but also on how to set up, maintain, and troubleshoot problems. It’s a whole network, with expertise at its core.
With 20 years of experience in designing product training for customers and their third-party sales channels, we can help you build that network of competent specialists. Contact us here to get started.