Continuing education is a primary focus of ERA. Some of the most valuable learning occurs on an informal, rep-to-rep basis among members, but organized activities and easily accessible resources, like the following, are also critical.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE and other events for reps and manufacturers offer how-to and informational programs, workshops and networking focused on sales management, marketing and sales/industry trends.
STEP (Sales Training for Electronics Professionals) is an annual live, virtual event hosted for frontline sales professionals by a mix of professional sales trainers and by industry sales executives. Attendees can expect a unique blend of sessions that will provide useful tactical takeaways, best practices and key tools to succeed at sales in today’s ever-changing market.
ERA LIVE – These virtual information and discussion sessions take place frequently throughout the year and will feature electronics industry experts and peers who will present a variety of hot topics.
ERA PODCAST – ERA’s podcast series, ERA Talks, features informative and educational interviews with industry leaders in a quick conversational format.
WEBINAR LIBRARY – These interactive seminars cover a broad range of subjects targeted to rep firm and manufacturer personnel. The member cost per connection is $65, and a single connection can be used by multiple attendees in one location. Audio and PowerPoint files from all ERA Webinars to date are available for purchase at just $20 per program.
CPMR and CSP PROGRAMS are the standards of rep professionalism. ERA members receive tuition discounts on both courses from the Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF), which was founded by ERA in 1985 and now includes 30+ associations as sponsors.
The CPMR (Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representatives) program, for rep firm owners/president/successors, runs one week a year for three years (every January at University of Texas at Austin).
The CSP (Certified Professional Salesperson) program, for rep firm salespeople, is a multi-day class conducted in various cities several times each year.
CHAPTER PROGRAMMING and activities are ERA members’ local connection to their fellow reps in the same territory. The rep-specific educational and informational programming and events include: how-to seminars; presentations by leading manufacturers and customers; local trade show sponsorship; industry social events; scholarship programs; rep-to-rep exchanges; and outstanding networking opportunities.
THE REPRESENTOR magazine is a quarterly magazine that is sent in print and digital format to 3,500 reps, manufacturers, distributors and consultants. The content covers: field sales processes; rep firm and sales management; marketing; rep-principal relationships; legal, tax, public relations, sales and technology advice columns; industry news; and ERA chapter and marketing group news. ERA members receive a 20 percent discount on classified ads.
“REP FIRST BEST PRACTICES” are shared on a national and local level whenever ERA members come together. In addition, industry guidelines are available on the ERA.org on becoming a rep, operating a rep council, requesting split commissions, reporting POS and forging shared investment plans (for missionary lines). Also available are summaries of rep commission protection laws in effect in most states.
ERA CONTRACT GUIDELINES AND EVALUATIONS are available on ERA.org for agreements between: reps and manufacturers; stocking reps and manufacturers; reps and employees; reps and sub-reps. Also available are forms/guidelines for reps to evaluate prospective principals and for manufacturers to evaluate prospective reps.
The ERA PUBLICATIONS LIBRARY provides many other resources which are downloadable from the ERA website, including: a multi-year archive of The Representor magazine; resources describing why and how manufacturers benefit by selling through reps; reprints of industry publication articles; and a cost-of-sales spreadsheet (for manufacturers to compare rep versus direct costs).