The Top 5 Skills Needed for Promo Product Suppliers
by Braeden Rogers, Director of HR, Delegate CX
Finding skilled hires in the Promotional Products industry is something we’re all feeling very keenly right now.
Yes, there’s an ongoing labor shortage fuelled by the so-called ‘Great Resignation’. There’s also a shift in the market whereby employees have the upper hand when it comes to job, salary and cultural requirements.
For Promo Product Suppliers in particular, there’s an additional challenge - the type of skills you need to master to be successful in the industry.
It’s why so many suppliers are falling into the trap at the moment of piling more and more work on to their superstar employees, because not only are they finding it impossible to track down talented new hires, but they also can’t afford the time to train up less experienced team members.
Part of the problem is that suppliers across the sector aren’t taking the time to step back from the day to day and understand the exact skills needed in new hires.
Well fear not, we’ve taken this task off your plate and done it for you!
In fact, we recently designed and developed a whole training program for the Promotional Products industry.
Check out our guide to ‘Promo Academy’!
Why we developed the only formal training program in the Promo Products industry.
The program is for entry-level hires and we call it ‘Promo Academy’ - designed to not only address the short-term need for skilled labor, but also the bigger gap in the market for longer-term skills training.
The great thing is that as we were developing the program, we were able to identify the key skills you need to succeed in Promo. We’ve listed them out below.
Top 5 Skills for Promo Product Suppliers
1) Client relationship skills
Top of the list are client relationship skills. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what we mean when we say ‘client relationship skills’, but it’s generally the ability to remain level-headed and calm when dealing with client inquiries. These skills also go for collaborating with other internal departments, especially when it comes to dealing with general sales support and tasks such as appointment booking. Managing these with a cool head and a courteous smile will go a long way!
2) Communication and responsiveness
Global supply chain issues are top of everyone’s minds at the moment. Being able to handle these issues requires very high standards of communication and responsiveness.
Whether it’s confirming an order quickly so that the customer doesn’t miss out on stock, or responding to last-minute swag needs for an upcoming event, juggling comms on both sides of the supplier table is key.
Never underestimate the power of great organization skills! Knowing that your appointment booking process is in safe hands and that your customer service inquiries are being dealt with efficiently means you and your team can focus on what you do best - growing the business! We tend to find that candidates with awesome organization skills also show great resourcefulness and lateral thinking - now who wouldn't want team members with that magic mix of skills!
Looking to fill your open roles and skills gaps?Learn more
Another skill that's really useful to have for Promo is the ability to think creatively about solutions.
This could take the form of providing valuable ideas to customers for virtual events or employee gift bags. It could also mean handling fulfilment needs for on-site conferences. Or it could be helping clients see what products are available that will meet their needs.
Again, it’s about thinking laterally and beyond the day to day to come up with innovative and interesting solutions whatever the brief!
5) Attention to detail
Everyone knows that working in Promo means you need great attention to detail – being able to spot typos in copy, adhere to brand guidelines, and get that PMS color just right.
Then there’s the client-facing communications for customer service teams and the like. Here, you also need great attention to detail – the ability to pick up on requirements from an email brief or make sure you haven’t missed anything in order to hit that ‘in-hands date’.
Attention to detail doesn’t just end with the client-facing roles though. It also extends to back-office tasks such as Sales Support and Appointment Booking. When the lifeblood of your business is based on getting those sales calls booked in correctly, then having an eye for numerical errors is absolutely critical!
With all of these skills, the important thing is to devise questions and tasks in your interview process that will test them out. It’s not enough to ask a candidate if they believe they are organized, for example – you need to get specific examples from them to demonstrate this skill.
It’s something we leverage in all of our candidate screening interviews – can the individual back up what they say with real-life examples, outcomes and results?
The great thing with these skills is that they are transferable, i.e. you don’t have to have used them within a Promotional Products setting to be able to demonstrate them. And if you’re experienced at using them in another sector, they can very easily be transferred across to Promo.
That said, Promo does have its distinct features and applications when it comes to using all of these skills – hence why we created the ‘Promo Academy’ program!