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We’re quickly moving right into 2018, and if you haven’t broached the subject of budgeting and projects slated for next year with your customers, your time to get in as their tech consultant of record is rapidly closing. It’s important to remember the perspective of your contacts. Pending their title CIO, CFOs, CISO, CMOs and/or IT Directors, they all have very different agendas. Schedule time now, find out what their priorities are and how you are equipped to handle them.

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Your LinkedIn network is an untapped resource for prospecting to new customers.

Access How to Market to Your LinkedIn Network SlideShare from TBI, the nation's largest master agent.

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The Worldwide IT spend (hardware, software and telecom) is projected to total $3.5 trillion in 2017, a 2.7 percent increase from 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. Though according to a Channel Partners and 451 Research Global Channel Survey, 45% of partners lack the personnel resources to sell outside the U.S.

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Failure paves the road to success. The best way to learn is to make mistakes and build off them to ensure they’re not repeated. While this is true, not enough is said about lessons learned from others’ mistakes. Case in point, there is much partners can take away from Amazon’s public cloud outage last month.

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As mobile technologies continue to emerge and evolve, businesses will invest more in mobility. According to Citrix, 71 percent of enterprises currently regard internal mobility as a top priority. That should come to no surprise when seeing the benefit it can bring to both employees and employers. Among many other perks, mobility enables employees to access critical apps and data remotely, allowing them to be productive when out of the office.

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How to talk your many customers' languages.

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With each new year comes new technologies and business opportunities to capitalize on. As we reflect on an exciting and successful 2016, we remind ourselves how we can better serve you, our partners, in 2017. The following is an internal memo that was sent out across TBI. Please know, we make every effort to do right by you and always have our partners’ businesses best interests at heart.

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The fast-paced technology landscape is ever changing, and as product sets continue to narrow and end users become more connected than ever before, it’s crucial to understand where the market is headed. Based off what we saw in 2016, here are common business challenges and solutions worth addressing with your customers at the beginning of next year. These range from easy-to-sell products that lead to greater sales to emerging technologies that will spark interest and truly add value.

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This article was originally published on Business Solutions.

Every industry is being affected by the convergence of technology in the marketplace as offerings broaden and shift to delivery as a service. According to Harvard Business Review, “IT-Driven innovation is reshaping industries and redrawing the lines of competitive rivalry.” Technology companies are rapidly expanding their portfolios through R&D or acquisition to provide new services to their clients. Facebook is developing Messenger to become its search platform. Google is architecting a fiber connectivity network. Dell bought EMC to create an end-to-end hardware and software powerhouse. Similarly, convergence is driving the VAR industry as telecom companies incorporate leading routing and security services into their connectivity offerings and now cloud service providers market solutions directly to the end client.

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Businesses depend on a solid network infrastructure. Every department within an organization relies on that infrastructure. A mismanaged network impacts almost everything from customer communication, data storage and retrieval and data analysis to collaboration and network security. Ultimately, data could be lost, productivity could lag, orders could stall and customer satisfaction could wane - all hurting the business’ bottom line.

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For years telecom agents have sold into one silo with one contact. Often it has been with a company’s IT director or voice manager, both relatively narrow focuses. As a result, when it comes to penetrating accounts wide and deep, many agents have had little success.

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We’ve been selling telecom services for years. Now our carriers like CenturyLink are having conversations with us on how they compete with the likes of IBM by offering professional services. Services such as consulting, managed services, system integration, outsourced IT and bundled IT packages: hardware, software and services with monthly pricing.

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Solving problems. While getting paid for it.

As a tech distributor or broker, for lack of a better word, we are in an interesting position. We hear from our vendors how they want to be more involved in the end-user conversation, entrenched in strategy building, to have the ability to understand needs and pain points before a quote comes in. At TBI, we teach and enable our channel managers to assist our partners with solution-selling, serving as a consultant, a resource, knowledgeable of all our providers to source the right solutions and meet business demands and solve real business problems. 

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vs. Going Direct to Carrier Sales Teams

We understand the perceived convenience of calling up a carrier directly.
However, working with a technology distributor like TBI changes the perception of convenience into reality.

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“How can I save my customers money on the things they don’t know they are paying for in addition to the things they want?”

This is a question agents should be asking themselves as they are trying to meet the technology needs of their business customers and strengthen their relationships.

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Collaboration helps people come together to accomplish what they couldn’t do alone. But what does “together” mean in today’s society?

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“How can I compete with a carrier direct sales team?”

That’s the question I often hear from agents looking to gain an advantage over their competition. What they mean is, “How can I compete with a team that has an arsenal of marketing resources, training support, and sales material at their disposal, backed by a huge corporation?” To our independent agents this is a feat that is intimidating at best and discouraging at worst.

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The telecom landscape is constantly changing with new, more efficient technologies being introduced to the marketplace seemingly every day. The scalable access to cloud-based offerings, fast-expanding use of video beyond conferencing, and machine-to-machine communication (M2M) are just a few of the services changing the dynamics of telecom today. These offerings are redefining the essence of how businesses communicate both internally and externally.

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Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I’m guessing that he didn’t arrive at his famous E=mc2 equation on the first try, and I’m sure he didn’t use the same steps each time he failed, expecting to get the right answer.

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*This article was originally published on channelpartnersonline.

Cloud computing has been pitched hard to enterprises as a means to achieve a lower total cost of ownership and a higher ROI while still meeting IT service needs. What isn’t always factored in is in-house manpower savings — it’s an often overlooked benefit in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) justification equation.

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