Channel Test Factory aims to grade partner sales skills

Tibor Shanto, VARCoach and chief sales officer at Renbor Sales Solutions

Tibor Shanto, VARCoach and chief sales officer at Renbor Sales Solutions

Vaudreil-Dorion, QC – Solution providers looking to enhance the sales skills of their team may well be interested in a new service that aims to identify sales people’s strengths and weaknesses and provide a path to improvement.

Introduced at ChannelNext Spring 2012 here this week, Channel Test Factory is an alliance between UK-based The Test Factory, event hosts Technoplanet, and Technoplanet’s VARCoach team of channel-focused sales experts and trainers.

“Top sales professionals have to be both competent and confident,” said Carl Jones, head of sales for Channel Test Factory and a business consultant with The Test Factory, at the event. “To make sure they are, you can’t just do training, you have to understand their individual requirements and act accordingly.”

Channel Test Factory uses a two-step evaluation program. In the first step, sales reps go through a set of technology-specific sales questions, all of which are true/false or multiple choice. At the end of that exam, partners can see how their sales reps stack up against each other or against the broader industry average. The report also identifies preliminary strengths and weaknesses for all sales reps that take part in the program.

The second step offers a more in-depth analysis, using more open-ended questions crafted by sales consultant and VARCoach Tibor Shanto of Renbor Sales Solutions. Sales reps’ answers to those questions are assessed by VARCoach members, and partners end up with a tailored approach to boosting their team’s sales capabilities, Shanto said.

The Test Factory’s background includes developing partner training and examination solutions for a variety of major technology vendors, including Cisco Systems and Microsoft, so the company has a solid grounding in working with solution providers on sales issues, Jones said. And it’s noticed some general trends in those regards. Most notably, most VAR sales reps tend to be good closers, but often fail earlier in the sales cycle.

That’s especially troubling because falling down earlier in the sales cycle generally means that they aren’t able to get to the part they’re good at – closing the deal, Jones said.

The program costs $1,750 for solution providers with up to 10 sales resources, and includes access to a dedicated member of the VARCoach team. Attendees of ChannelNext were extended a special promo, with the first 50 registrants getting in for free. The program is currently available in English, but will launch in French within the next two months, Jones said.