The Value of Reseller Training Centers
Starting up a training center related to your services carries with it high cost and lots of work, but the return on investment can prove to be worthwhile.
- By Jim Airdo
- July 01, 2006
Deciding to develop a customer-training center is a big step for any
reseller. When executives consider opening such centers, they first see
expenses: They need dedicated trainers, well-equipped facilities and the
ability to offer a set of comprehensive courses. Operating a center requires
an ongoing commitment to updating courses, improving the facility and
recruiting customers to fill seats.
However, establishing a training center can be among the most rewarding
decisions that resellers make. The effort starts with identifying products
that ar e either vitally important to many customers or are in demand
in the vertical markets your company serves. Often, such products are
critical for closing engagements with new clients. Once you identify those
solutions, creating a training center will allow you to offer classes
on that vendor's technology to customers, prospects and other consultants.
Despite the work involved in getting a training center up and running,
the rate of return on investment can be extremely high. Here are six compelling
reasons in favor of launching such a facility:
- Competitive Advantage. A training center gives you a unique
selling point, proving to prospects that you've got advanced expertise
in the products on which you're training customers.
- Increased Product Knowledge. Having specialized trainers in-house
will also spread product expertise to your sales force. In fact, the
"IQ" on a given product should rise across the organization.
- Increased Revenue. You may be able to resell your training
curriculum to your customers. In addition, training center students
are often prospective clients who will purchase additional services
and products after completing the class.
- Augmented Customer Database. When you offer training for a
particular product, you can expect the vendor help you fill your classes.
Vendors typically invest marketing resources and use their sales databases
to augment such efforts. Meanwhile, your sales team can capitalize on
cross selling, creating another avenue for increased revenue.
- Increased Customer Loyalty. Customers tend to feel more loyal
to integrators that not only sell products, but provide education and
deep expertise about how to best use them.
One of our resellers, DynTek Inc., has capitalized on the advantages
of creating an authorized training center. That's partly because DynTek
avoided some common mistakes that resellers make in undertaking such initiatives.
DynTek wasted no time after preparing its trainers for classes; it held
its first class on the day its center opened. (Generally, we recommend
that resellers hold their first class within 30 days of the training's
completion.) DynTek also picked a trainer with real-world experience with
We returned the favor by introducing DynTek to some of our existing customers
and by providing marketing muscle to fill the training center's seats.
For instance, our marketing team creates monthly promotional mailers advertising
new classes being offered at our reseller partners' facilities. As a result
of launching its training center, DynTek has gained customers who weren't
previously aware that DynTek is a full-service integrator. Training also
allows the company to provide a complete solution for its customers.
Ultimately, opening a training center is an ideal way to add significant
value to the produ cts and services you provide.
Jim Airdo is director of worldwide systems engineering and training at
a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner based in Boca Raton, Fla., that provides
network administration software for Windows-based networks.