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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.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 ScriptLogic's products.

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.

About the Author

Jim Airdo is director of worldwide systems engineering and training at ScriptLogic Corp., a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner based in Boca Raton, Fla., that provides network administration software for Windows-based networks.

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