Comcast Business

3 Things I Learned About VARs While Getting My Cisco CCNA Certification

By 08.03.2021No Comments

Granted, this isn’t a tale of running 100 miles through the Wasatch mountains in 32 hours. It’s one that – for me – ranks right up there with one of the coolest/hardest things I’ve done in my life. So here you go!

We’ve been hearing about the convergence of the IT and Telecom Channels for a long time, but that convergence got personal for me when (after 12 years in telecom sales) I decided to cross the river and get a Cisco CCNA Switching and Routing and CCNA Security certifications.

Why would a Telarus co-founder and former VP of Marketing want to get a Cisco certification, you ask? Well, it’s like this: when we surveyed our sales partners we found that, by an overwhelming majority, their number one request of Telarus was sales engineering resources for large/complex deals. In fact, I’ve heard countless horror stories from our independent sales partners about them losing (or almost losing) a sale because they just didn’t have enough technical ‘kung fu’ to get past the CIO or CTO during a presentation. This especially holds true for the agent looking to provide impartial ‘carrier neutral’ advice at the early stages of the sales process – you can’t rely on a carrier’s sales engineers if the customers hasn’t yet decided which way to go.

So, it came as no surprise when Telarus management put ‘Sales Engineering’ on it’s 2014 road map. But who would start up the department? Engineers are expensive and even if you could hire one away from a carrier, at best all they’d know is, … THAT one carrier. We were in a pickle trying to figure out how to go about creating this valuable resource for our partners.

And then, somehow, my arm was up and my mouth was saying, “Hey guys, I have a masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. I know it’s been a few years since I’ve done anything technical (5 to be exact), but I’d be willing to give it a shot!” It was like an out-of-body experience. What did I just say!?

That day marked the beginning of the end of my tenure as the VP of Marketing. Although I still love SEO, building web sites, branding, and helping agents with all-things-marketing, we have better people here at Telarus (Austin Holverson and his team) who already have an expertise in this area. What we, and our partners, needed, was a VP of Sales Engineers – and quick.