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MasterMinds: TBI’s Training Tracks Evolving Sales Model

MasterMinds

**Editor’s Note: MasterMinds is a biweekly feature in which we invite leading master agents to share information, insights and expert opinions about what’s going on in their agencies, the IT/telecom channel or the business community in general. Today’s article was submitted by TBI.**

In today’s workplace, the decision to implement a new technology no longer rests solely with IT teams. Marketing, sales and other departments now have a say since a new integration will likely affect the way they operate. Because of this, it’s imperative for partners to position solutions in a way that all lines of business will understand. Instead of discussing the specifications or features of a technology, they must be able to communicate the tangible business outcomes it can produce.

TBI is actively coaching its partners on the basis of this new orientation in the sales process.

Because the channel is rapidly evolving, the master agency found that its clients were having a hard time keeping up with convergence, emerging technologies and new ways of doing business. Its solution? Hire educators to deliver the hands-on training partners need to stay competitive, and create resources they can leverage to further their knowledge and become better salespeople.

TBI's Dave Landsberger“We created our training department two and a half years ago as a reaction to the environment,” said Dave Landsberger, the training manager at TBI. “We saw that the buying process was evolving, so we decided to act on this change and create training programs around educating our partners on how to effectively communicate the value of solutions, and which providers to use.”

A former college professor, Landsberger was brought to TBI to build a training department that could effectively guide partners through their journeys with the master agency, from beginning to end. In his short time with the company, he’s put together a robust team that has completed a number of successful trainings on various topics.{ad}

TBI makes it a priority to deliver in-person training for its partners, regardless of where they are located. Landsberger and other members of the department will hop on a plane to conduct face-to-face sessions on a topic of the partner’s choice. This ensures they get the hands-on educational experience they need to fully comprehend the complex subject matter. If more convenient for the partner, these trainings can …

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… be conducted virtually, too.

“At the core, our main focus is to help partners communicate the value of a product to the end user so they can build trust with them,” said Landsberger. “We’re willing to go to great lengths to ensure this happens because when they win, we win. Even after they’ve proven they can consistently sell one solution, we work with them to determine another they need training with and take it from there.”

As a result of TBI’s ability to make complex topics easy to understand, these personalized educational sessions have been well received, with a handful of partners praising the master agency’s ability to help enhance their comprehension of advanced subject matter.

“SD-WAN has been the most beneficial training for my team,” said John Hudson, the director of service provider solutions at IT consulting firm Lumenate. “The subject matter was presented so that anyone can understand what SD-WAN is and how it applies to helping businesses achieve better outcomes. I recommend this training to anyone wanting to understand the next wave of network disruption.”

To add to its training offerings, TBI launched its vendor-agnostic online university earlier this year. The University of TBI allows partners to learn from comprehensive courses on various technologies — from basic telecom to cloud — on their own time, and from any internet-connected location.

Because of its vendor-agnostic nature, the university focuses on ensuring users learn the right way the first time. According to Landsberger, a problem in the channel is that providers sponsor most of the training resources available. As a result, salespeople are proficient in a specific product, but not necessarily the technology as a whole. The University of TBI aims to correct this by providing an unbiased overview of a solution, which covers use cases, sweet spots, discovery questions, and more.{ad}

Landsberger also said that the resource makes a great onboarding tool for partner sales teams. Instead of investing money into their own programs, they can leverage the University of TBI to educate new reps on the technologies they sell. For example, in order to pass and obtain the TBI Solutions Certificate, users must complete a 100-question exam that covers materials from all of the courses, and score an 85 percent. Many partners have claimed that getting their reps TBI certified has helped increase performance.

To further assist partners in their quest for growth and development, TBI’s training and marketing …

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… departments collaborate to create educational content — from SlideShares to downloadable guides. These resources benefit partners by providing them with fundamental information on a technology, best business types to sell it to, key verticals to target, business outcomes it provides and discovery questions to start the conversation.

Additionally, the master agency produces bimonthly partner boot camps and hosts them at its headquarters in Chicago. Each focuses on an emerging or in-demand technology and features three or more providers that sell it. These events benefit partners by giving them a chance to meet face to face with providers and ask any questions they may have about their products.

“It’s important to keep on top of the latest trends and updates in the industry,” said Robert Gartner, the president of RJ Gartner Consulting. “The boot camps that TBI offers are critical for anyone trying to succeed in this business. Not only is the product knowledge a must, but the contacts and relationships build the groundwork for your future.”

Although it seems that TBI already has a strong educational foundation, it’s constantly striving to improve on its offerings. According to Landsberger, the training department has only scratched the surface in terms of the value it wants to provide for partners. Looking ahead, it plans to develop additional certifications on more advanced technologies for the University of TBI. Additionally, it wants to grow its national presence to have trainers in each major region of the United States.{ad}

“Right now, we have channel managers that service specific regions across the country, and we intend to do the same with our sales trainers,” said Landsberger. “Along with building beefier certifications around more advanced technologies, we want to have a trainer in every region throughout the country so our partners can have a local TBI representative for hands-on training. Essentially, we’re going to make it as easy as possible for partners to get the training they need to be more successful salespeople.”

Have a question or topic you would like considered for discussion? Submit it to buffy.naylor@informa.com


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