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9/12/2011
11:54 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Microsoft Trains Windows Phones Salesforce

Will educating salespeople in mobile phone stores translate into increased Windows Phone sales? Microsoft thinks so.

While those familiar with tech are comfortable walking into a phone store and buying a very specific product, the average consumer often needs a bit of help. Without specific training in the features and advantages of Windows Phone, store personnel will often fall back on previous training in other devices or personal experience. Microsoft aims to change that, though the effort may not be big enough.

Even phones as popular as the iPhone need a bit of a sales job when a consumer walks into the store. They need to understand they can get their email on the device, their music collection will work with it, that they will be able to exchange pictures with friends and family, and more. With an iPhone, that is an easy sales job. The store clerk can show the consumer those features and more in 10 minutes or less.

If that same consumer walks in the store with Windows Phone in mind, based on commercials, an article they read, or a recommendation from a friend, that same salesperson may shrug and say "well, it sounds like you need an iPhone." That sale is gone forever.

It isn't necessarily the salesperson's fault. There hasn't been a lot of in-store training on the devices and some store managers may not ensure there are charged demos in the store that customers can play with. I wouldn't sell a device I knew nothing about either. Who wants to look stupid when you can't answer any questions about the phone. You go with what you know.

The same goes for salespeople that work with the enterprise. They won't sell what they don't know.

Microsoft plans to turn that round, though I am not sure the effort will be enough. In a recent report by Bloomberg, Microsoft claimed it may surpass current estimates that Windows Phone would exceed 20% share by 2014, a feat that would put it in second place behind Android. In the report, Microsoft said it would be training "hundreds" of salespeople to better equip them to show off the platform's capabilities.

Obviously they aren't going for the guy on the floor at your local phone store with just "hundreds" in the plan. There are hundreds to train in the Seattle area alone.

Unless the software giant is training the people at the carriers, that in turn train the fleet salesmen and store personnel, the "hundreds" trained will fall substantially short of what the company needs to inject some life into the platform's sales figures.

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