Training & Education: Navigate the Information Highway

Dec. 12, 2014
Taking advantage of manufacturer training can help dealers and resellers connect with their end-users

As video surveillance and security technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate, end-users have more product and system configuration options available to them than ever. High-performance analog solutions and popular trends such as networking clearly deliver new and previously unavailable performance and operational capabilities. These new functionalities and choices, while beneficial as a whole, can make the selection process more complex, given the number of variables that affect system performance.

The ability to make the right decision for which system configuration is best for a specific application depends on your ability to ask the right questions to get the information you specifically need. To do so requires a solid base of knowledge on these new technologies, and therin lies a major issue in the professional surveillance and security industry — the transfer of knowledge from manufacturers, to dealers and resellers, to end-users. The communication path is simple, but if one link in this chain slows down, the entire information highway slows and suffers.

The irony of the situation is that there is almost too much information to make it simple. Marketers are not making the information chain any smoother with endless and overwhelming messaging that can confuse rather than facilitiate the decision-making process. Even well-intentioned campaigns can clutter the information landscape. Not surprisingly, failure to reach the end-users effectively leaves the door open for competitors to supplant one’s business.

The Training Advantage

Strategic training by the manufacturer presents a prime opportunity to expand the knowledge base of the channel community through to the end-user. In the video surveillance and security industry, an improved knowledge base at the channel level offers several benefits, including improved performance and more productive business relationships.

Training is also vital to further improving the state of an industry that has traditionally lagged in technology innovation behind IT, telecommunications and broadcast.

Manufacturers can better ensure a smooth communication path as well as alleviate many of the pain points through a commitment to education excellence.

The Manufacturer’s Strategy

The video surveillance and security business environment is constantly evolving, and manufacturers are focusing on developing products and services that will expand the sales channel’s capabilities and competencies to meet developing demands. Making the commitment to a defined sales process and a comprehensive training program can reinforce the strategy and help ensure a more desired outcome.

As in any marketing endeavour, the mission needs to be defined with an objective and measurable goals. In this case, the objective is to develop a training philosophy that encompasses the organization’s values and beliefs. If this is not imbued in the teachings, participants are more likely to revert to incorrectly positioning the product and selling on price, rather than value. This positioning is even more necessary for the complex systems in a video surveillance solution.

Measurable goals can range from a specific increase in sales to the number of participants to be trained to the frequency of training. Whatever the goal, it should be in line with the capabilities of the manufacturer and the participants.

Content Development

Once a strategy or course of action has been developed, the next step in achieving education excellence is in content development. Simply put, it needs to be relevant.

Training sessions of the past were all about disseminating information on new products. In many instances, that same information could have been distributed via a new product bulletin and the same result achieved with much less effort and expense. While information about new product features and implementation and installation tips is still important, it is only a portion of the curriculum that the channel needs to be more efficient and successful in positioning and selling video surveillance and security solutions.

Curriculum content needs to be relevant to today’s real-world issues, and one of the ways to achieve this is by re-thinking the definition of subject matter expert. In today’s real world, the installing video surveillance dealer and customer can offer valuable insights and knowledge to supplement the expertise of the manufacturer’s sales and engineering teams. The combined knowledge can and should be incorporated into training programs to provide attendees with the information they need most.

Revising and updating material also plays a role in creating content excellence. In addition to addressing new product information and keeping training fresh, content may need revising based on how effective the outcome of previous training has been or the amount/kinds of feedback received from participants.

In addition, good best-in-breed training programs offer Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits. A CEU is a unit of credit equal to 10 hours of participation in an accredited program designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice various professions. At Samsung for example, training courses are BICSI-certified with 5 CEU credits upon completing and passing the course. These credits can be applied to various certifications. Training programs that offer CEU credits not only meet industry standards, they provide an added incentive for individuals to participate.

Information Delivery

Any class is going to be populated with participants with a range of learning styles. Some are visual learners who acquire and process information through visual images, while others are auditory learners who learn best through listening. Still others are kinesthetic learners, who learn best with hands-on activities.

The purpose of training however is to make learning possible and that requires delivering the information in a variety of ways. No one wants to spend two hours being lectured on the history and benefits of wide dynamic range. Rather, wide dynamic range technology information can be presented with an engaging presentation that includes visual images, key bullet points and the opportunity for hands-on evaluation.

In other instances, segments on specific technologies — such as wide dynamic range, P-Iris, motion detection, etc. — can be developed and made available on the manufacturer’s corporate website. Resellers can learn at their own pace and as their needs dictate. Courses can also be developed and delivered as part of an overall training program that, when completed, earns the participant CEC credits which can be utilized for industry recognized certifications such as ASIS and BICSI. These classes can be made available online or presented live in a classroom environment. On-site customized courses for the end-user may also be offered by the manufacturer in conjunction with the authorized reseller.

There are multiple ways to deliver information and make learning possible but the process does not end there. Comprehension testing, hand-outs and other follow-up actions that reinforce the training can all help to ensure success for those involved.

At Samsung we have made a commitment to education excellence and invested in education programs and materials to help keep our partners up to speed on the latest developments in systems technologies and products. Ultimately, it is a win-win-win for Samsung, our resellers and the end-user as well as the industry as a whole.

Janet Fenner is Senior Marketing Group Manager for Samsung Techwin America. To request more info about the company, please visit