MCAA’s first webinar of the year featured yours truly giving details of our Sales Training program which is online and self-paced and can result in Certification as a Measurement, Control & Automation Sales Professional (MCASP) or just a Certificate of Completion. I was gratified to learn right after the presentation that 6 more inside salesmen will be enrolling from one channel partner company and others from both manufacturing and channel firms are ready to make similar moves.

This training program is one way that MCAA serves our industry in ways that other organizations simply cannot match. Sure, there are other sales training programs. And they are good sales training programs. But they don’t have any information for a salesman in our highly technical industry on the technologies or on the industries that we serve. Having that knowledge gives those who take these courses through MCAA the edge.

As Jenny Levatino, one of our first graduates said “The technology training was hard for me, but it made a lot of the stuff I do everyday make more sense! I know I learned a lot, and the training will definitely help me do a better job. As inside sales, I know how to talk the products and could answer the basics but didn’t understand the technology behind it. Now I do—and I feel confident when talking more in depth with customers.” Hey, folks! THAT’S the reason you want this training for yourself or your sales team–COMPETENCE not just confidence!

And on the other end of the sales process—customer service—MCAA offers an inexpensive and robust way to survey your customers or your channel partners. 22 companies have surveyed their customers in the annual group survey effort and I will be reporting in our March 28 webinar on what we learned from that effort as I do every year. It’s critical that you get feedback from your customers. Even if ISO certification (which requires such customer feedback) is not something you care about, you should care about what your customers think. Because we’re a not-for-profit, the cost of $500 to survey 250 customers is almost better than you can do on your own without all the hassle and with a survey template that was developed by an expert in this field. Couple it with the fact that you place your results in context by seeing the overall group results and, well, I think there is nothing that surpasses this MCAA offering. I hope you’ll contact Christine Cottingham ( and let her tell you about how you can conduct your own customer satisfaction surveys during 2012 with our “On-Demand” survey options.

We’ll be heading off to the MCAA Board retreat in Charlotte in two weeks. The Board will work with staff to make sure we get the right information to the right people at the right time and to find even better ways to make membership in MCAA the best that it can be.