In charge of SBC U, and Specialized's technical representative, is Richard Salaman, who has moved across from the telesales team.
Specialized University aims to provide Specialized IBDs with "clear direction and education for selling Specialized products," said Specialized UK's Richard Hemington.
"The more knowledgeable dealer's staff are of the products they are selling, the more confident they are with customers, thus enabling a higher average selling price to be achieved. With the innovations we have for 2004 and beyond it will be more important than ever to communicate our features and benefits."
The role of telephone sales vacated by Salaman is to be filled by Chris Atkins, latterly with Nike and previously with Hargrove's Cycles in Southampton, a Specialized stockist.
The sales team reports to the recently promoted sales manager, Barnaby Postance, who has been with Specialized for 12 years.
The launch of the IBD training programme coincides with Specialized's move to a purpose-built, 26 000sq ft. building in Chessington, Surrey, double the size of the company's previous HQ.
The new building features a 4000sq ft showroom, decked out with Specialized bikes, kit and PoS materials and modelled as a concept store. It will be used in the SBC U's merchandising training. Inhouse shows and workshop training will also take place in the new showroom.
"It was a five minute discussion with Mike Sinyard [chairman and founder of
Specialized] to rubber stamp this move," said Hemington.
"He is more than aware of our position in the UK market and the commitment given to the brand by our dealers."
"The UK is very important to us as a brand, not just for the revenue and profit generated, but for the development of the product line. We are excited about the opportunities ahead and are pleased to make this investment in the UK."