“Good salespeople are not born, they’re made!” declares the brochure for Spectrum’s ‘Campus’ Programme. It’s a statement that comes very much from the heart of a business that understands the importance of learning, growth and opportunity. After all, their current Executive Chairman started his career as an apprentice with Spectrum, so it’s certainly a company where people can rise.
Founded in Hull in 1983, Spectrum is one of only nine Canon Platinum Partners in the UK and is also responsible for the Canon Business Centre North East in Newcastle. They work with businesses large and small, helping them to take control of their print, documents and data. So, when Spectrum salespeople walk through the door of a new customer, they must be ready to learn about how this business functions from the ground up and have the knowledge to bring a solution – or combination of solutions – that is right for them. There is no ‘one size fits all’ here.
But experience and learning take time. No one can be expected to arrive at the door of Spectrum, fully-fledged and ready to begin designing transformative solutions for new customers. Canon products and solutions require specialist training, and there is also a whole suite of skills that salespeople need to be able to turn prospects into happy customers. Many might see this as a recruitment challenge. Sally Evans, Director of People at Spectrum, however, saw a huge opportunity. “Canon takes someone really special to sell it. So, our Sales Directors wanted to ‘grow their own’ salespeople, to train them,” she explains. The idea was to bring in a cohort of “career hungry” young people and offer them a year-long paid learning placement. Yes, you read that correctly – paid. They called it ‘Campus’.