STEP - Sales Training for Electronics Professionals

ERA’s STEP program is a series of training videos that have been presented live at ERA’s annual live virtual sales training events from 2021—2023. Each year’s program consists of nine different videos that present a wide range of evergreen topics (browse the topics below), taught by a mix of industry peers and professional sales trainers.

These training videos will allow you to step up your sales and professional skills, and come away with useful takeaways, best practices and key tools to succeed in today’s ever-changing market. Viewers will be able to implement what they have learned right away and excel at their jobs.

Each year’s training library is $295 for ERA members and $395 for non-members. Take advantage of this opportunity to gain unlimited access to world-class sales training at a cost of less than $26 per hour!

Browse the 2021 STEP session topics.

  • Sales Prospecting: How to Use Value to Fill the Pipeline

Presenter: Neil Wood, Senior Consultant, The RAIN Group

Nothing has changed more in sales in the last decade than prospecting. It’s more difficult than ever to get through and get meetings. This session will dive deep into what works and what doesn’t to break through, secure meetings and win sales. If you want to be a top performer in sales prospecting, this session is for you.

  • How to Get More Done: The 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity

Presenter: Neil Wood, Senior Consultant, The RAIN Group

Sellers today are more distracted than ever. The never-ending dings, rings, and buzzes that interrupt their work flow every few minutes is killing their focus and productivity. And it’s killing your sales results. You need a highly-motivated and focused sales team that brings their A-game day in and day out. 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity teaches your sellers and sales managers how to get more done in the time they have, helping them to achieve exceptional increases in productivity and results.

  • Time and Territory Management

Presenter: Kate Rhoten, CPSC, Executive Director, MRERF/IPA

A simple but powerful method to improve sales performance is to assess how effective you and your team are at sales territory management, and specifically, managing your time. Many factors that influence sales results are outside of the sales reps control, but time is the one variable that sales reps have maximum influence over. This session will help you gain insight and understanding in how to best optimize your sales territory management strategy and use your time wisely in this new age of selling to hit your sales goals. Learn valuable tips that will ensure a productive and well-planned territory visit from this session that is taught as part of MRERF’s popular CPRM course.  

  • Utilizing Search Engines for Lead Generation and Winning More Business

Presenter: Sam Richter, CSP, CPAE, Hall of Fame Speaker, Leading Authority on Sales Intelligence, Bestselling Author

In this dynamic program, you will discover: how to use search engines, social media, and the Invisible Web as powerful sales and competitive “intelligence agents”; how to generate opportunities using sales trigger events, so you’re calling on the prospects who most likely need your solution, right now; how to leverage information in emails, phone calls, and social media outreach to make a great impression, ensure relevancy, and provide ongoing value; the Sales Intel Engine, and how you can use it to automate and implement what Sam will share.

  • Excel and PowerPoint 101

Excel Presenter: Byron Holloway, Sales Manager and Senior Application Engineer, Fralia Company & Associates 

PowerPoint Presenter: Jeff Weber, Senior Designer, Laird Connect

In this training module, you will learn the essentials of how to effectively use Excel and PowerPoint tools to help you be more efficient at your job. Enhance your understanding of these useful tools during this hard-hitting class and will provide you with resources and references that you can use to continue your education.

The Excel half of the session, led by a Microsoft-certified trainer for MS Office products, will concisely teach you how to navigate the program and the fundamental skills you need to successfully use it. You don’t need previous experience with Excel to be able to complete this course.  This session will start with basic skills, then move forward to more advanced features and techniques.

The PowerPoint half of the session, presented by a professional designer, will cover the basics of creating great slide designs. A key to an awesome PowerPoint presentation is to combine good content with great design. Sure, your presentation’s content is important, but it’s essential marry it with a great PowerPoint design so that your audience stays engaged. Attendees can expect to learn tips, tools and tricks to help make your presentations stand out from the crowd.

  • Foundations of Consultative Selling: Leading Masterful Sales Conversations

Presenter: Charlene DeCesare, Certified Sales Leader, Lead Consultant, The RAIN Group

When sellers bring valuable insights and ideas to buyers, they strengthen relationships, differentiate from competition and win more sales. Focusing on how to lead masterful sales conversations, this session introduces the strategies and tactics that are the foundation of successful selling, and provides you and your team with the skills needed to become top-performing sellers. Participants will learn how to: lead masterful sales conversations from beginning to end; inspire buyers with ideas that matter to them; use questioning techniques to uncover the full set of customer needs and desires; sell ideas, insights and perspectives that influence the buyer’s agenda and inspire buyer action; increase relationship strength by maximizing seller-driven value; use cognitive reframing and disruption questions to open buyers’ minds to new ideas; and maximize motivation, energy and execution for inspiring buyers with new ideas.

  • How to Develop Joint Customer Action Plans Between Sales Reps, Manufacturers and Distribution

Moderator: Walter Tobin, CEO, ERA

Panelists: Lisa Dietrich, Distribution Sales Manager, Conley & Associates; John Drabik, Senior VP, Sales and Product Marketing – Americas, TTI Inc.; Dave Foster, Director of Sales, Ohmite Manufacturing

With the need for collaboration between sales reps, manufacturers and distributors more important than ever before, this moderator-led discussion, featuring a panel of industry experts, will address the need for, as well as the “how-tos” for successful interaction between all three “legs of the stool” to help service the end customer. This robust discussion will provide attendees with best practices covering such things as quoting, buddy calls and doing effective branch product training.

  • The Six Essential Rules of Sales Negotiation

Presenter: Charlene DeCesare, Certified Sales Leader, Lead Consultant, The RAIN Group

Negotiations are all around us. From negotiating an important sales opportunity to negotiating with your kids at bedtime, we’re constantly working to reach agreement with others. In this session, participants can expect to learn how to negotiate the best solutions, win sales, and enhance the strength of their relationships along the way. Attendees will be provided with tools and takeaways on how to negotiate the best deals, shorten sales cycles, and improve close rates, along with a downloadable Sales Negotiation Planner.

  • How to Profile an Account

Moderator: Brooks Mattice, General Manager, Mel Foster Company
Panelists: Lou Copley, Area Sales Director, Avnet Inc.; Zach DeVillers, CPMR, CSP, Director of Sales, Brainard-Nielsen Marketing; Bob Gourdeau, Vice President of Sales – Americas, AVX Corporation

In this moderator-led panel discussion will teach the basics of how to profile an account today. This group of panelists, an expert cross-section of respected industry leaders consisting of a manufacturers’ sales rep, manufacturer and distributor, will provide insight to such questions as where and how to start to profile an account. Attendees will walk away from this session with a checklist of best practices to help them start implementing the tools that they have learned immediately.

Browse the 2022 STEP session topics.

  • What Sales Winners Do Differently!

Presenter: Charlene DeCesare, Certified Sales Leader, Lead Consultant, The RAIN Group

Sellers who ultimately win the sale don’t just sell differently — they sell radically differently than the closest second-place finishers. In this session, you will learn: how sales winners sell differently than the second-place finishers; what buyers report is most important to win their business; and the three top areas where winners excel, and the others fall short.

  • Value-Based Selling: How to Sell More by Competing on Value, Not Price

Moderator: Bryan White, CPMR, VP of Sales, Catalyst Unity Solutions

Panelists: Tom Galligani, Global VP, Supply Chain, Future Electronics; Mark LaPointe, VP of The Americas & Global Distribution, SMC Diode Solutions; Chuck Tanzola, VP, Business Development, Fusion Sourcing Group

The value-based selling approach allows a salesperson to showcase the total value of what their company brings to the customer. Other areas beyond price should enable the customer to have a better picture of your total-value solution vs. just looking at the price you are offering. In this session, a panel of ERA industry experts will discuss the concept and approach of value-based selling, and provide useful strategies to attendees so that they can better communicate this concept to their customers.

  • Tips & Tricks on Setting Appointments with Emails, LinkedIn, & Referrals

Presenter: Charlene DeCesare, Certified Sales Leader, Lead Consultant, The RAIN Group

Nothing has changed more in sales in the last decade than prospecting. It’s more difficult than ever to get through and get meetings. This session will teach you how to convey the value for the meeting to help you break through the noise to secure more and better meetings and how you can use referrals to warm up every outreach. In this session, you will learn to: succeed with email prospecting; what works and what doesn’t; understand how to make your LinkedIn profile boost your reputation among your prospects; the email message framework that gets meetings; apply the power of referrals to generate more effective connections.

  • Pre-Call Sales Planning: How to Get Great at It to Increase Your Opportunities & Win More Sales

Presenter: Jenny Smith, Ph.D., President, JMS Synergy

Effective pre-call planning helps you gain more customer and grow your sales. The need for pre-call planning is more important than ever, whether the call is in-person or face-to-face over video. This training module will give helpful points regarding pre-call planning and preparations to ensure that the calls go well, and you reach goal.

  • Engagement Selling: How to Warm Call with Confidence

Presenter: Michael Pedone, Founder & CEO of

When executed effectively, this outbound warm call strategy can work wonders for your business and drive revenue. Although there’s already a prior contact with your lead, you still need to put effort into engaging with your lead and converting warm leads into more prospects. This session, presented by Michael Pedone, Founder of, will help attendees understand how to prioritize their leads to help them grow sales and learn how to convert a warm lead into an order, and. most importantly, a warm customer into a key account.

  • Effective Communication: It’s More Than Just Talking!

Presenter: Sannah Vinding, CEO & Founder, B2B Marketing Consulting

Communication is at the heart of everything we do each day. It involves not only talking, but also attentive listening. Listening is twice as important as talking and one big important part of effective communication skills in business. Attentive listening will ensure you are hearing your customer’s intended message. Becoming a better listener takes practice! This session will focus on improving your communication skills in order to meaningfully  connect with other people and increase your capacity to retain information and communicate better to help you win more sales. Presented by Sannah Vinding, sales & marketing strategist, this session will provide tools and insights on the best ways to improve your communication and listening skills.

  • Digital Marketing: Cutting-Edge Techniques to Help You Up Your Game

Moderator: Tim Kilfoil, President, JF Kilfoil Co.

Panelists: Ellen Albright, Marketing & Communications Director, E-T-A Circuit Breakers; Heather D’Amico, Marketing Manager, Brainard-Nielsen Marketing; Rob Tavi, CEO, IBS Electronics Group; Rob Tavi, President, IBS Electronics

Today, digital marketing is pervasive. Great digital marketing is often hard to define, but we all know it when we see it. What does digital marketing it mean to you? To your company? How do you do it well? Who is your target? How do you evaluate it? How do you determine its effectiveness? How can it help you grow your brand (both professionally and personally)? This session will provide real-world applications and specific solutions to help take your digital marketing to the next level.

  • Bridging the Gap: Relationship Building & Collaboration in Today’s Multigenerational Electronics Industry

Moderator: Brooks Mattice, General Manager, Mel Foster Co.

Panelists: Kevin Flaherty, Regional Sales Manager, Ohmite Manufacturing; Rachel Rieser, Field Sales Representative, Sager Electronics; Hunter Starr, CPMR, CPSC, Territory Manager, Performance Technical Sales

What are the keys to relationship-building inside our multigenerational industry? In this moderator-led panel discussion, you will hear perspectives from next generation manufacturers’ reps, distributors and manufacturers on how they communicate effectively and respectfully in our multi-generational industry while leveraging differences to build stronger relationships inside and out. Come prepared to listen and gain new tools on how to successfully build relationships in today’s electronics industry. 

  • A Peek into the Academic World of Supply Chain MBA Curriculum: What Are Tomorrow’s Supply Chain Leaders Being Taught and What Does This Mean To You? How Can You Help Them Achieve Their Goals and Grow Your Sales at the Same Time?

Presenter: Jane Siegler, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, Butler University – Lacy School of Business

What are supply chain professionals being taught in today’s dynamic environment? This session will give attendees a peek into the curriculum that today’s supply chain leaders are being taught. Jane Siegler, Ph.D., will provide a brief summary of some of the aspects of an MBA curriculum on supply chain. This session will help guide attendees to better understand what goals supply chain managers have so to improve the value that our companies deliver to them.

Browse the 2023 STEP session topics.

  • 13 Golden Rules of Writing Emails that Get Attention

Presenter: Charlene DeCesare

There’s good news for sellers who send prospecting emails. Eighty percent of buyers prefer to be contacted by sellers via email, and 77 percent have responded favorably to such an email in the last year. The bad news is that the same buyers receive a high volume of emails. Unsurprisingly, writing an effective prospecting email is a must-learn skill. In this session, you will learn how to use emails in a coordinated attraction campaign employing the 13 Golden Rules that help get your emails through the clutter.

In this session you will learn to:

Use research to customize your emails to the intended buyer
Craft the best emails that stand out in a buyer’s inbox
Improve email response rates and secure more meetings
Avoid the most common mistakes that destine your emails to be immediately deleted

  • 21st Century Prospecting

Presenter: Daniel Litts

The selling environment has changed how sellers’ prospect and interact with buyers across multiple platforms. We’ll explore prospecting strategies to fill your pipeline, leverage technology, set better appointments, and build a cookbook outlining your prospecting actions. Participants will receive the Prospecting Activities Tool.

  • Anatomy of a Lousy Pitch: The 10 Worst Presentation Habits & How to Avoid Them

Presenter: Tim Wackel

Whether you are speaking to an audience of one or one thousand, it’s crucial that you engage your listeners. As the presentation coach for some of today’s fastest growing companies, Tim Wackel knows exactly what it takes to deliver messages that get results. This program reveals the 10 worst (and most common) presentation habits and gives participants specific ideas on how to conquer them.

Anatomy of a Lousy Pitch helps sales professionals learn how to:

Avoid the #1 mistake most presenters still make
Grab their listener’s attention in the first two minutes
Organize their ideas in a clear, concise and compelling approach
Avoid the fatal trap most presenters fall into on “the big day”
Eliminate death by PowerPoint
Leverage the two most important (and overlooked) elements of successful presentations
Ask the critical question that will win your audience’s approval

  • Asking Great Questions & Listening Actively to Build Strong Relationships with Customer

Presenter: Charlene DeCesare

Sales are won and relationships built based on the conversations you have with your customers.

You need to differentiate yourself and learn what is important to your customers by asking great questions—questions that inspire buyers to think differently, talk about their hopes and desires, and build their relationship with you. Otherwise, your customers are going to have the same conversation with you that they’re having with your competitors.

Of course, it is not just asking the questions but actively listening to show you understand that allows you to develop the relationships that keep your customers loyal to you. In this session you will learn the specific questioning and listening techniques and skills you need to lead the most effective sales conversations and connect with customers.

  • Building Resilience: Why It’s Important to Your Success at Work

Presenter: Anna Baldwin

In today’s ever-changing workplace, building resilience is essential to thriving in the face of challenges, setbacks, and disappointing outcomes at work.

Resilience is the ability to endure and learn from adversity and adapt to changing and often competing demands. This allows for growth and opens the door for opportunities to flourish in the workplace and beyond. Resilience is not a fixed trait, but a dynamic process that can be learned and developed. It involves solving problems effectively, making informed decisions under pressure, and taking responsibility for how you “show up.” Becoming resilient translates to communicating effectively and learning how to respond to others, creating a deeper sense of purpose and optimism at work.

In this session you will learn proven strategies to build resilience in the face of challenges, avoid burnout, and begin to identify what gets in the way of your success, setting you on a path to more sustainable and rewarding outcomes.

  • Job One: Trust

Presenters: Cesare Giammarco & John Simari

Trust is the basis for almost everything we do. This session will examine the importance of trust in the sales process. We will explore the elements of personal trustworthiness and how it impacts your business interactions and relationships. The discussions will address the importance and value of being a trusted advisor to clients, principals and channel partners. We will also examine different methods for retaining and rebuilding trust.

  • Quotes Are a Necessary First Step to an Order: How to Maximize Your Hit Ratio of Quotes to Orders Booked

Presenters: Walter Tobin, Tim Davis, Holly Good & John O’Brien

The art of the quote follow-up is an important part of the sales process, but one not often talked about. This discussion, featuring a panel of industry leaders, and moderated by Walter Tobin, ERA CEO, will address best practices in qualifying, processing, delivering and following up on quotes. This is not a “one size fits all” process. Attend this session to help you better understand how to increase your close ratio of quotes and turn quotes into orders.

  • How to Take Control of Your Time & Technology to Help You Work Smarter

Presenter: Steve Turner

In this session, Stephen Turner will show you how you can use your calendar even more effectively to be more organized, save time, and ultimately close more sales. He will demonstrate how combining advanced time management with technology makes for a powerful combination to achieve more success. Laptops, smartphones, tablets and apps can be powerful tools for sales professionals, but they can also be a time-wasting distraction; Stephen will show you how to use them all more effectively to save time and improve your sales results.

ERA Member Bonuses: Each ERA member firm who attends will receive a link to schedule a complimentary (no charge) consultation after the session, as well as 15 percent discount for any services you purchase from Turner Time in 2023. You will also receive links to three valuable PDFs — “The Daily Wrap” (15 Saves 60), Quick References for Outlook Users (both Windows & Mac) and a Gmail Quick Reference.

  • Using ChatGPT & AI to Improve Your Sales Game

Presenter: Matthew Amato

Ready to level up your sales game? During this session, speaker Matthew Amato will dive into the incredible world of AI & ChatGPT and uncover how, if used correctly, it can supercharge your sales efforts. Forget about boring, one-size-fits-all approaches — we’re talking about using this powerful language model to find new customers, engage with prospects and grow your business.

Why should you care about AI & ChatGPT and what does it mean to you? ChatGPT can be used for sales to automate initial outreach, engage prospects through personalized conversations, and qualify leads efficiently. Let’s explore the game-changing potential of AI and ChatGPT in the realm of sales. From prospecting to closing deals and even customer retention, we’ll delve into how ChatGPT can be leveraged to create a competitive advantage for your business.