Apptix provides hosted business communication, collaboration, compliance, and IT solutions to businesses that range from small office/home office to Fortune 500, and the company has grown into a leading provider of cloud-based Microsoft communication and collaboration services. The cloud services market has experienced significant growth over the last several years. The recession forced resource-constrained companies to more rapidly adopt cloud services given their cost efficiencies, accelerated time to deployment, and increased business agility. To respond to this opportunity, in 2011 Apptix initiated a Channel First strategy with the objective of signing national or regionally dominant channel partners to resell Apptix’s services. Prior to this time, their sales were almost entirely direct.
Apptix was highly successful in signing several major channel partners that brought with them thousands of sales people; but many of these sales agents had never sold cloud services. In order for Apptix and the channel partners to see a swift return on investment, they needed to quickly and successfully train their sales agents on cloud services and how to sell them. A comprehensive training solution would not only provide Apptix managers and employees with the cloud services knowledge they needed, but would allow Apptix the flexibility to perform training for those new channel partners with insufficient support staff to do it themselves. For these reasons, Apptix needed a complete cloud services training solution that offered both flexibility and depth.
The ABR Solution
Apptix engaged Accelerated Business Results (ABR) to create and implement a comprehensive, repeatable, and scalable sales training program incorporating on-site, online, and on-demand training with interactive and measurement capabilities to enhance both direct and channel partners’ sales efforts. Components of the blended Cloud Services Training Solution included:
- eLearning module: Cloud 101
- Product videos
- Classroom training
- Job aids
- Knowledge checks
- Quick reference guide
- Sales training portal
How ABR Helped Apptix
The Cloud Services Training Solution had a noticeable and immediate impact on Apptix’s finances in 2012. Overall, Apptix increased topline revenue by 6% to $42.9 million with an 80% increase in positive net income and helped grow its user base by 13% to over 380,000 users. And in just one year, Apptix doubled new indirect sales bookings from 15% in 2011 to 30% in 2012.
The training program has also benefited its main audience, the channel partners. There is a complexity with new services like cloud, and channel partners needed to be fully up to speed at launch. ABR’s training solution makes this ramp-up process truly seamless. One of the channel partner facilitators said that the Apptix/ABR solution gave them at least an 80% increase over the other vendors in ramping up to facilitate—and shortening ramp-up time in training means getting to market and generating revenue sooner. A Systems Solution Executive for one of Apptix’s channel partners estimated that the solution reduced training time by 25-30 percent.
The Cloud Services Training Solution also earned recognition when Apptix and ABR were awarded with the highest honor, the “Gold” distinction, in the 2013 Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards. The Brandon Hall Awards Program is thought by many to be the most prestigious in the industry. Award entries are evaluated by a panel of independent senior industry subject matter experts and practitioners based upon the following criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, usability, innovation, and overall measureable benefits.