Obtain Revenue From Training Your Customers
How many times have you performed a long and complicated project, and then had to depend on an unknown third party to provide the training required for your customers’ employees to benefit from it? It seems pretty common, according to many of the VARs and systems integrators I’ve been talking to lately. Just as offering consultative analysis prior to the design and sale of systems earns you extra income, meeting the broad training needs of your customers can be a profitable business opportunity. While many VARs offer their own training for the solutions they implement, others are looking to provide education on every facet of technology for their customers. Resellers are constantly creating unique value opportunities for themselves with new solutions and services, and becoming certified to educate your customers is a way to ensure that each implementation is successful. Customer satisfaction is the one component that can cement a business relationship for the long term and help ensure your competitor won’t win the next project based on price alone.
A New Trend In Training And Education Sales
In the past few months, several vendors and distributors have introduced programs to enable VARs to resell training resources, including Web-based classes and on-site classroom instruction. Security and business software provider CA introduced the Vendor of Education and Training program in January to allow its partners to resell and (when certified) conduct authorized training courses. This means qualified VARs can wrap the end user training into their solution packages and receive a margin from that component as well. Certified resellers will benefit exponentially from the closer relationships with their end user customers, as well as the incremental revenue generated. For VARs concerned with bringing other partners into their deals, providing the training themselves may be a good defensive action to protect their customer bases.
The vendors also have a stake in building these types of programs. “Working with our global partners to better train our customer base will drive higher levels of customer satisfaction and reduce long-term support costs,” says James Hanley, senior vice president of worldwide partner sales at CA. Enabling VARs and systems integrators to effectively sell and deliver education and training contributes to the success of all parties involved in new technology implementation, from the vendors and partners to the end users. I expect to see more hardware and software manufacturers unveil these structured offerings within their partner programs in the future.
What are the key elements to selling education and training to your clients? First of all, make sure the related product offering fits with your current portfolio and provides a strong business opportunity on its own. “In order to justify the cost of being certified, you want to ensure that the products involved in the program are in demand and will provide a steady flow of training opportunities. CA has provided us with a steady pipeline of students from other resellers and a line of security products that made us comfortable with making a certification investment,” says Dallas Bischoff with authsec. This security services VAR does on-site training for its clients in addition to Web- and classroom-based education for CA, Nokia, and Check Point programs at its facility.
While you need to evaluate each part of your solution from its inception to implementation, support afterward is the key to its success. Do you feel confident entrusting the education and training stage of your next new project to someone who is not your own employee? If not, you’d better explore the options available from your vendors or distributors, or investigate the possibility of creating your own custom program for your solution. If you don’t, your competitors may.