TBI’s 2021 Word of The Year: HUMAN

If there was ever a year that tested our strength as humans, it was 2020. The personal and professional struggles were indeed very real as our new normal was anything but. Our lives were uprooted, people dealing with immense hardships and mental stress. I found myself working more and having even less of a work life balance, not like I had much before. The lines of being a mom, boss, teammate, friend, coworker have all been blurred and I now have much greater appreciation for others trying to find balance in a world that seems uncertain and scary.

 

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The pandemic forced the entire world to realize the importance of connection, physical and emotional. We, I, took for granted how much I need my network. Quarantine, social distancing, the lack of congregating indoors, all of it has taken a toll. It’s taken a toll on business, friendships, partnerships and general relationships whether surface-level or deeper. The collective WE have tried to muddle through, head down, focus on overcoming, persevering in spite of economic distress. In doing so, we’ve been forced to combine our worlds…family and work. How to do both? Well, that is something we’re all trying to figure out, isn’t it? Nothing says reinvention or innovation like a pandemic, we’ve been forced into doing so, but it’s equally important to get back to the fundamentals. With 2021, TBI turns 30 years old. And I’m proud to work at a company that remembers that; place equal importance on what got us here as what will get us to the next 30 years. As I figure out how to market 30 years in business and what defines TBI, I reflect on our evolution, what’s changed, what we have morphed into.

We solicited feedback from our partners on why they do business with us. And it consistently comes down to the same things. The leadership team emphasizes quick response and resolution, the company stands for dedication to our selling partners and 1-to-1 connection. I never realized just how much of a differentiator that is until recently, in this pandemic. In a world where it’s easy to feel like just a number, a number waiting in the virtual queue for coffee pickup, waiting in COVID test car line, waiting for our turn for a vaccine…the idea of partnership, human connection and responsiveness feels more important now than ever.

One partner said it best: TBI’s unique competitive advantage is your people. Hence the word of the year, but more importantly, the engagement. For so many of our partners, time is more valuable above anything else; as one partner put it, our life is one big webinar right now, how is one hour more important than the other? What are you giving me that saves time and effort? And that’s where TBI shines. While automation has been hugely important in our growth, tools and algorithms only get you so far; automatically being quoted a provider only for a Channel Manager to advise you to use another or later receive a more accurate quote, is time wasted. Real feedback from a technical team and the quarterbacking of a deal from a knowledgeable Channel Manager is where the rubber meets the road…and frankly, no one drives faster.

It’s been told to us that our people, from operations department to trainers, engineers and our CMs, bring the greatest value. Well, a) that’s one of the reasons why I’m writing this and b) I think it’s important for the partner community, as well as our vendors understand where we continue to invest. We often reach out to our partners to find out how they are, what they need and assess how we’re doing. Another partner said that it’s a rarity for us to focus so much on personal and professional development, to get our sales team, for example, to rise through the ranks into leadership and stay with the company…that is rare when so many others focus on the next widget. In an age where tools are table stakes, what sets TBI apart? Obviously, I think about this often, but fortunately, I have awesome partners that tell me. I’m told that TBI people are smart and there has not been one person who has wasted their time with incompetence and that means something. As one partner put it, when you look at a world racing towards automation, IoT, AI, you lose the human element FAST.

Highest praise from a partner recently was that TBI is the standard. A clean reputation and proven track record. I love the analogy used; it’s like shopping for new appliances. We all look into the cool/techy models but ultimately, go to the brand that works…the one that’s been proven to be reliable and perform, one you can count on. It’s cliché to say that we work hard to be an extension of our partners’ teams, but perhaps the lesser cliché is to state what that partner continued to share: I know TBI will have my back in any fight due to your support from providers and long-standing relationships. You have the clout established and that matters to me, especially with escalations or channel integration.

30 years in business, wow! TBI has grown not due to significant pivots, but instead by investing in what works. We remain consistent and steadfast with a superior partner experience. We do that the only way we know how, by employing good, responsive and creative people. We’re here, so lean on us. Email or submit a quote request, learn about a new vendor, call to talk shop or just to catch up unrelated to work. We’re here for you and I’ve come to realize that is something special.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As VP of Marketing at TBI, Cohen is responsible for managing TBI’s marketing communications and implementing multi-channel branding and press strategies. In addition to driving TBI’s overall marketing strategy, Cohen directs both internal and external communications to ensure the delivery of valued products and programs to providers and partners alike. You can contact Corey at ccohen@tbicom.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.