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** This article was originally published on CRN.com.

The midsize business market – defined as those companies with 25-100 users, more than five corporate locations, and $5,000 in monthly recurring charges (MRC) – offers alluring opportunities for driving significant channel revenue growth in the years ahead.

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When we talk about our technology being smart, I think of Buzz Lightyear. Specifically, I think of Buzz in his more delusional days in the first Toy Story film, when he genuinely believed that the laser pointer in his arm was a dangerous laser beam and not simply a red beam of light.

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Here we are: 2015. A new slate, a fresh start.

Closing the book on another year, not only is it human nature to look back at the past 12 months and measure your personal successes and setbacks, it’s also prudent business practice. The best way to set constructive and realistic goals for the new year is to take a good look at the past year.

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While high-level catch phrases won the day in non-IT circles this past year, the emergence of unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) — packaged telephony functions integrated with messaging, mobile, and productivity apps — made 2014 the year of voice.

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In the last five years, 90% of companies began turning to (or at least began investigating) the cloud to build infrastructure, store data, address business continuity and disaster recovery issues, and to run applications. This according to a new study published by IT industry analysts at CompTIA.

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WAYNE, Pa. — December 09, 2014 — Evolve IP™, The Cloud Services Company™, today announced that Telecom Brokerage, Inc. (TBI), a leading national technology Master Agency, is offering Evolve IP’s complete suite of award-winning cloud services including: virtual data centers /servers, disaster recovery, virtual desktops, unified communications, and contact centers.

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One of the things we talk about often is how to help our agents become complete technology advisors to their customers. The idea is that when you sell just one product or service, you are inevitably leaving a significant chunk of change on the table. Whatever 'silo' you as an agent are primarily in - whether it's IT consulting, telecom sales, managed services, etc., with TBI as a Master Agent, you are capable of providing any of the other technology services that are outside your 'silo'. In fact, there is no reason you can't be providing your customer with all of his technology needs.

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Just yesterday I was attempting to put together a Christmas list. I’m a voracious reader; I read every day for at least an hour, so my go-to gifts are always books. So last night I hopped on Amazon to look up some books that I may be interested in. The problem is, there are so many books on Amazon. So instead of randomly searching a novel in the literature canon or the flavor of the month young adult dystopian adventure novel, I went to the suggestion bar that said “Customers like you also bought…” and after scanning through about 5 pages I had a new book to add to my Christmas list.

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The small and midsize business (SMB) market (1 to 99 employees) offers many opportunities for driving significant channel revenue growth in the coming years. The challenge for VARs is understanding that companies in this market have unique business requirements and technology needs that are sometimes overlooked.

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As a Product Support Specialist at TBI, I am charged with managing one of the company’s most valuable assets: Our relationship with our agents. I work with agents on a daily basis, delivering quotes and responding to requests quickly and accurately. My job is focused on continuing to build on the trust that agents have put in TBI.

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Getting ready to pitch telecom? Finding the perfect phone and internet service for your customer is a no-brainer with these simple discovery questions:

Download "10 Telecom Questions to Ask Your SMB Customer".

 

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Step One: Don't Dump the IT Director

** This is a partial recap of the fourth webinar in our convergence series, How to Sell Cloud as a Business Technology Adviser: Part 2. You can watch the whole recorded webinar here.

Many of our agents have been told by industry “experts” that in order to close a cloud deal with an enterprise company, they’ve got to jump over the IT director’s head and speak directly with the C-suite. While speaking to the C-suite is more often than not the end goal, we’ll argue that the IT director is still an extremely valuable relationship for you to cultivate.

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This morning TBI announced a very exciting business partnership: An exclusive relationship with Houston-based Teligistics.

Teligistics is in the telecommunications sourcing and expense management business. They assist Fortune 1000 companies reduce the complexity of purchasing telecom services and work to keep service providers honest by making sure they adhere to the fine print details of multiyear, often multifaceted and confusing, contract language.

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CHICAGO and HOUSTON – November 11, 2014 – Chicago-based TBI, the nation’s leading third-party distributor of technology solutions, announced today an exclusive agreement with Teligistics, the leading telecommunications services sourcing firm. The agreement allows TBI to offer Teligistics lifecycle management solutions on an exclusive basis through its nationwide network of more than 2,000 independent partners selling a range of IT, network, and communications services to end-user business customers.

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Goals and Skills

** This is part two of “4 Steps to Building a Strong Partnership”. You can read part one here.

Partnerships are essential to any business in any industry. Our partners are the lifeblood of our own business and we would venture to say the same is true of you and your customers. As we discussed in part one of this series, the first two steps in building a strong partnership are Open Communication and Clear Expectations. Now, we’ll delve into the last 2 steps to making your good partnerships, great.

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Partnerships are key to TBI – and to you

** This is part one of “4 Steps to Building a Strong Partnership”. You can read part two here.

Partnerships are essential to any business in any industry. Our partners are the lifeblood of our own business and we would venture to say the same is true of you and your customers. In this two-part series we’ll explore the four steps to building stable, successful, and mutually-profitable partnerships.

Whether it’s with another business, within your own organization, or with a customer, the relationships you create can be beneficial to you in both the short term and long term.

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Last week, we hosted the third webinar in our bimonthly series focused on technology convergence and what it means to the channel community (watch the recorded webinar here).

In, “How to Sell Cloud as a Business Technology Adviser: Part 1”, TBI Director of Sales Adam Knudsen and Sales Trainer Dave Landsberger discussed how partners can serve their customers as a technology navigator, guiding them through the cloud landscape.

With cloud in particular, according to Knudsen and Landsberger, there are three things channel professionals must understand about their customers that will enable them to offer the strategic and consultative technology solutions that will set them apart from their competition:

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Last Thursday and Friday, October 23rd and 24th, TBI held its inaugural Partner Advisory Council at our new company offices in Chicago. The goal of the Council is to drive conversation around the state of the industry and technology trends – all while learning of ways TBI can better serve our partner community.

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Being in the right place at the right time: that’s how I feel about TBI attending the final event of the 2014 ASCII Summit Series in Bally’s Atlantic City.

I’m here at the show with Channel Manager Seth Woodward, speaking with ASCII members and explaining the value TBI brings to the table in the form of a strategic partnership. Looking from their business point of view we’re showing ASCII members that working with TBI allows them to offer their customers a complete technology solution, which adds exponential value to their current customer relationship, while also setting them on a level above their own competitors who don’t offer these technology services.

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TBI First Master Distributor to Join New WOW! Business Partner Program

ENGLEWOOD, Co. – October 22, 2014 – WOW! Business, a communications and cloud service provider, has signed a channel sales agreement with TBI, the nation’s leading third-party distributor of technology solutions. The agreement makes TBI the first third-party distributor to join the new WOW! Business Partner Alliance program and fortifies the regional communication service provider’s ability to meet growing demand from business customers in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast U.S.

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