Traditionally, when I think of recruiters, sales training does not jump to mind. I think “this is someone who will save me the time of locating candidates.” Then, my next thought is, “but how do I know these are good candidates?” There is value in a recruiter, don’t get me wrong, I covered this in a previous blog. But what if that recruiter also provided training vital to future success and also continued the vetting process throughout that training as they watched them in action. This would be extremely valuable to a sales hiring manager.
Combining Recruiting and Sales Training
Imagine a recruiter who specializes in one single area. One so specific that they actually vet 100 candidates on the front end, arrive at the 16 best, and then…TRAIN them for 8 weeks. Usually recruiting and training don’t always go together. However, they should. At Techqualled, the standard program is as described above, vet candidates, train them in a 7 week program called LaunchPad for Veterans. This program provides training specifically for Technology Sales roles. I participate regularly in the role plays and can tell you, this is real world, challenging sales training at it’s finest.
Come for the recruiting, stay for the sales training
As Techqualled evolves, our hiring partners and our Veterans are seeing the value of the training aspect of the program. We are now fielding requests and building out programs to simply provide sales training for their existing employees. That speaks volumes to the quality of this program. So, expect more as you hire a recruiter. Don’t just ask for a stack of resumes, ask them to see the syllabus for their training program.
This was true until the day a Tech Qualled recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn. The message titled “Seeking Veterans for a World-Class Training Opportunity.” This grabbed my attention until I read the word “sales”. My first thought provoked an image of a car salesperson or the pesky telemarketer who will not stop calling. I was not convinced Tech Qualled was looking for top-tier talent with the word “sales” in their program. I did not want a sales career. Engineering, supply-chain management or information technology was my idea of a world-class training opportunity.
With over 35 years in technology solutions, company leadership, revenue production, investing, board service, and high profile consulting, Bob Dunn, CEO and Founder of Dunn Growth Experts joins forces with Tech Qualled to offer expert training and advice to candidates in the Launchpad Academy:
In 2015, I watched with interest as Jim Sherriff, former Cisco executive, and colleague, founded Tech Qualled, an organization with the worthy mission and intended purpose of recruiting and training elite veterans for a career in IT sales.
What Tech Qualled has accomplished over the last 4 years is revolutionary and here’s why:
Technology sales are among one of the most rewarding professions but also one of the most demanding requiring a broad range of skills, knowledge, and character attributes. Individuals in these positions will be challenged to learn and master complex products and technologies in an ever-changing marketplace. As many in the sales industry have begun to discover, the skills required for an Account Executive in the high-tech sales align perfectly with veterans who have proven leadership skills, adaptability, and a performance-oriented work ethic.
The Technology Solution:
Tech Qualled has mastered recruiting elite veterans with the intangibles to make them successful in sales and a 7-week training that allows them to outpace their peers when placed into these roles. With over an 80% success rate, it is clear that these veterans are positioned for long-term success within the industry.
Veterans face many challenges as they make the transition to civilian life, not the least of which is choosing a profession, getting a job, and supporting themselves and their families. The opportunity they have with Tech Qualled to break into such a profitable career with no post-military experience is really incredible. They served their country so all Americans have the good fortune to live and work in our great country. Contributing in some small way to their successful transition is the least we can do.
I’ve always wanted to help veterans and Tech Qualled finally provided the avenue, connection, and the platform to do so. Over the past couple of years, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the TQ team and sharing what I learned during my career. The opportunity I have to help provide outstanding sales training by interacting directly with the veterans and early in career professionals is a distinct pleasure.
Today, Bob Dunn is the father of two college student daughters, serves as the Chief Revenue Officer at InteliChart, invests and advises with a number of technology growth companies, and leads Dunn Growth Experts.
As CEO and founder of Dunn Growth Experts, Bob distilled his knowledge into the DGE Revenue Supply Chain™, a complete systematic end-to-end approach to generating revenue growth and creating enterprise value. Organizations that have applied the DGE Revenue Supply Chain™ have had proven results, earning multi-million dollar returns by structuring their business in and across the five DGE Revenue Growth Pillars: Corporate Strategy, Product/Solution, Marketing, Sales & Channels, and Customer Success.
Hiring Veterans was never something I thought I would be doing. I have come to realize that Veterans have the determination, commitment, and drive to get the job done every time.
I was born an Army Brat. As a matter of fact, when I was born, the doctor put one of those “property of the US Army” t-shirts on me. My grandmother was irate and she made it a point to tell the Doctor that I was not the property of the U.S. Army! Little did she know that in a small way I actually was and wear it proudly to this day…
Fast-forward a few years…. after graduating from college, I landed my first job at a local express catering company and continued to hold various roles in operations until August 2007 when I was laid off by my family business. I ended up speaking with a recruiter who told me about a “cool company” where you could bring dogs to work, there was a beer cart every Friday and it had a very fun culture. I had no clue what tech sales meant and had zero sales experience, but how hard could it be with dogs and beer around?
A few interviews later this organization took a chance on me. Because of that, for the last 11 years, I have built a high tech sales career at Softchoice in various roles, and I could not be happier.
One of the unique things about Softchoice is that they partner with Tech Qualled to hire qualified, veteran talent. TQ graduates fit well into our corporate culture and have industry and tech knowledge from the get-go. They hit the ground running with minimal direction and become a producer for our organization rapidly. These Veterans are used to tough times and know they can climb out because they already have that grit and determination engrained in them. Most veterans have been in some of the harshest conditions and under extreme pressure in the military. Compared to that, Sales is easy even when it is bad.
I never had the opportunity to “pay back” my pops or the military for making me the man I am today, nor did it ever dawn on me that I could, until the opportunity to work directly with some of TQ’s veterans came along. I now participate in roleplays as a coach to offer up my guidance and support, while at the same time have the opportunity to see and recruit veteran talent for Softchoice.
I am giving back to something that has given me so much. At the same time, I’ve had the opportunity to see Tech Qualled graduates exemplify military ethos. They understand that it’s not just about their individual success and goals, but their team and corporation. They truly care about helping their teammates be successful and are willing to help support their colleagues for the greater good which ultimately creates a far more reaching impact within the company.
Truly, I cannot wait to get more Tech Qualled folks into our organization!
James lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two boys. He is a Field Sales Mentor and Development Coach at Softchoice, Inc, and continues to mentor Tech Qualled Graduates in the Launchpad Academy. In his spare time, you can find James at MKG teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and other martial arts.
Recommendations for Candidates Entering TQ or the High Tech Sales Industry:
I know it’s tough, but it’s not always about the salary and commission. Believe me, I have had some opportunities to make a lot more money but they were not the right fit for me because they lacked things like training, good culture, and reputation within the industry.
The next move you make is not your next job, it’s your next career. In my opinion, you don’t want to jump from partner to partner, vendor to vendor because eventually you won’t be hirable and each time you move you take one more step back from it being a career. All you have to do is look at me for that example…I came into Softchoice with no tech sales background, worked my way up from Inside sales, to Field sales and now as a mentor/development coach. If the future me went back in time and talked to the me who showed up at Softchoice that first day and said “in 10 years you will be coaching and mentoring field reps,” the past me would have probably told the future me you are CRAZY and that will never happen.
Find a great company, stick with it, and be great at what you do. Have grit, determination, and self-discipline. Be coachable, a continuous learner, and know the difference between being ambitious vs commitment. Finally, set daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. Do these things, and you will see enormous success.
The biggest thing I want our recruits to know is that a career in tech sales is tough! Those who haven’t been in sales don’t know how hard it actually is. You have some good days, but man is there a lot of bad days, months and years. (If you are successful your entire sales career I would like to know your secret sauce!) However, if you can get past each hurdle, every time they come up, it is one of the most rewarding careers out there.
Recommendations for Potential Clients Hiring TQ Graduates:
What I hear the most, even within Softchoice, is that the TQ grads are sometimes too green, and that can’t be denied- they don’t have enough sales experience. However, what I always challenge is the fact that I can teach/coach sales to anyone. When you break it down, it’s a really easy thing to learn, but what I can’t teach or at times is very difficult for reps to learn is the discipline, the grit, that “no quit” attitude and how to be a team player. Give me the latter vs someone that has been in sales for a few years any day. ____________________________________________________________________________
For more information on the Launchpad Academy or Hiring Tech Qualled graduates, reach out to us HERE.
Ok, so this is a topic that I get easily excited about. So forgive my, “passion” here today. I often hear HR managers or Sales Managers say, “we are hiring sellers!”…”oh, but we don’t pay recruiting fees.” This is when I get “passionate.”
According to a recent study done by the Society for Human Resource Management, the cost to hire and retain a quality seller is $4,129 plus 42 days to fill which undoubtedly has a cost associated with it as well. Whether you are giving a fee to an agency or not, trust me when I tell you, that you ARE paying for it! Let me explain this categorically.
The Role of H.R. in the recruiting process
So if your company is large enough to actually have a recruiting department, I want you to close your eyes for a minute and think about this organization. Think about the process from building job postings, to soliciting, to reviewing resumes, to scheduling interviews, to negotiating offers. Now think about all the tools, people, etc. that go into this process. Take a rough guess at the cost of this. Probably a sizeable number. OK, I get it, this is probably a sunk cost, so how does this justify further recruiting fees? The answer lies in the accuracy of the process here. HR is the tip of the funnel in identifying talent. This comes in the form of resumes and job fairs. No offense to HR people, but I will bet you most sales managers don’t have a high opinion of their ability to identify quality sales talent. On top of that, I spend time mentoring young sellers on interviewing, and I have seen some really creative resumes. I don’t know how an HR manager could truly pick the right 10 resumes out of a batch of 100 submissions in this day and age. Oh, you use AI systems to filter. Hah! Trust me, I love AI! I am currently writing this blog in a 15×12 office which contains both an Amazon Echo AND a Google Home Hub. But, Alexa doesn’t select my sales reps for me. To really get underneath the justification here, there is a bit of taking cost out of the process, but more it’s about the cost of making a bad hire, which we will cover later in this blog.
The Role of the Sales or Hiring Manager in the recruiting process
OK sales managers, I am calling you out here. After managing salespeople for 20 years now, I feel comfortable doing this. Let me start by asking you a similar question to the one I did above. What is your involvement in the hiring process? How much time will you spend? Assuming you answered the second question with 40 hours or more, I would ask yourself, how much are 40 hours of your time worth to your company? A recent study showed that an average company loses 1-2.5% of its total annual revenue based on the hiring exercise. Spending time recruiting, interviewing, calling references etc is a fairly taxing exercise. It’s also typically elongated when left to a manager who doesn’t usually have a stack of resumes and contacts to draw from. So now you are talking about the loss of dollars based on having an empty territory. So sales managers, if you really are good salespeople, you should understand the cost benefits here of a recruiter, and be able to sell yourself on the fee, or your HR department.
The Cost of Making a Bad Hire
Thinking back to the processes I described above. If you are hiring from unknown candidates, stacks of resumes, you know how much guesswork can go into hiring a salesperson. Typically when you get down to final candidates, it’s usually a second interview and then offers. So this is maybe two hours with someone and a call to the references he or she has teed up to say great things about them? I have made bad hires. This category is likely the most costly of them all. Not only the wasted salary you will put on someone for six months before letting them go, but also the lack of results. Recruiters have their reputation at stake and also have a superior vetting process to the ones you might employ. Thus, the likelihood of a quality hire should be much higher.
The Cost of Hiring Entry vs Seasoned Sellers
This last one is a bit unique to the TechQualled recruiting and placement process. I spoke about this in depth in my last blog. This is basic math. How much would you say you would pay an entry level sales person in year one? $60K base? $85K On Target? How about a seasoned seller? I know the answer to this one, because 25 years into this, my friendship circle is comprised of people who fit this bill and are moving around. The going rate is a base of $150K, and OTE at $250 plus. And the key here is, they do not have the patience for a year one miss of OTE while they build the territory. So why does this matter? Again, basic math. If you can bring in someone that is an experienced professional at a $85K base, OTE of $150, and a patience level that it may take 12 months to build out the territory to get to OTE, then why can’t you build the case for the recruiting fee? You are spending less than you would on a proven experienced hire.
Sure there is a fee associated with hiring a seller from TechQualled. However, I think the TechQualled approach goes a long way in justifying the numbers based on the categories above. More so than both a do it yourself hiring model, or a traditional recruiter. Let me provide some bullets here:
Cost of HR – No sifting through resumes, looking for candidates, training them. We have them, and they have been thoroughly vetted and trained.
Role of the Hiring Manager – No lengthy search for candidates, interviews, references etc. Simply look through a cohort of vetted candidates (typically 12-16), select the ones you want to review and then carve out a full or half day to watch them in their role plays. Better than any interview you will put together. I promise.
Cost of a Bad Hire – Not a shot in the dark here. These people are proven leaders in their roles in the service and have now been fully trained as sellers. This, plus the ability to witness them in action mitigates the risk of a bad hire.
Entry vs Seasoned – These individuals had serious responsibilities and leadership. You will not struggle with having to spend time daily guiding them on what to do next. Additionally, they are not a seasoned seller who EXPECTS a baked territory and $300K OTE in year 1.
In summary, the value in all of this far exceeds the cost of the fee. If we can help you build out your sales team and overcome the objection on paying a fee, please reach out to us. Or just join us for a roleplay session online or in person (Fort Worth March 20-21).
Is it time to reevaluate veteran talent? For decades two parties stood on either side of a chasm staring at one another. On one side, the sales leaders and executives in the burgeoning IT space. This included “old tech” (Cisco, IBM), “new tech” (Google, Twitter), “small tech” (startups) or the vast middle of Value Added Resellers who don’t have household names but command a huge market share of the business-to-business IT industry.
On the other side of the chasm stood elite, transitioning military veterans. The veteran talent with or near a college degree, a hunger for rewarding challenges, possessing excellent communication skills and the grit to survive the rigors of high tech sales. Both recruiters and leadership knew that veterans could be a rich talent pool, but always for “other-than-sales roles”
Our country is in its tightest labor market in decades, across all industries, but specifically within the innovation economy. In the battle for high potential talent, should thousands of organizations be making blanket assessments that exclude talent without the data to prove it? What if the data actually disproved their judgment?
Three years ago this month, Tech Qualled embarked on a focused mission to change that logic; to bridge that chasm and simultaneously give high tech companies a new type of talent for their revenue-driving roles while opening these rewarding sales roles to a subset of the population with unique and sought-after intangible skills, but who have just “never sold before.” Over one hundred of Tech Qualled’s veteran graduates are in high tech organizations today meeting or exceeding quota, thereby proving that previous sales experience is not a prerequisite for success in complex sales environments. The right intangible attributes plus the right training will bridge that gap.
And three years into this mission, we are excited to have partnered with Koru, the world’s leader in predictive hiring solutions. and creator of the famed “Koru7” skills test which measures for seven critical attributes in high potential talent. Together with Koru, we looked at hundreds of active sellers across high tech, including the most successful Tech Qualled veteran graduates, plus others with traditional career paths. We wanted to compare the attributes of successful sellers industry-wide.
What were the results? There are absolutely overlapping attributes between all successful sellers, but veterans in particular score substantially higher on Ownership, Grit, and Curiosity. Tech Qualled-trained Account Executives scored 10-22% higher than successful non-veteran AE’s in these three skills. Across three of the other four skills (Polish, Teamwork, and Impact) they scored 17-30% higher than the national average.
The conclusions: First, elite veteran intangibles plus the right blend of dynamic training bridges the gap. Second, not only do elite veterans come to IT with the skills universally accepted as necessary to succeed, but they bring greater quantities of those skills than their non-veteran peers!
The competition for talent is of epic proportions, especially in the innovation economy. The results are in and the data is substantial. There should no longer be a conundrum for hiring managers and recruiters around veteran talent, especially when their skills are measurable by Koru and they are vetted and trained through a program as rigorous as Tech Qualled’s.
Sometime toward the end of 2017 when I knew my military career was coming to a close, life was very uncertain. I had been getting advice about making the transition for years, but never really took it seriously. Then all of a sudden, BAM, life happens. I was doing everything in my power to set myself up for success. Like the skies parting and the angels singing, Justin Ossola from Tech Qualled (who I later found out was one of the founders) contacted me via LinkedIn about a possible Account Executive Job and training program.
At the time I had never heard of the program and was extremely cautious about committing myself to anything. Justin explained what being an account executive in the technology industry was. I found that my career experience was uniquely matched with being an account executive. I had spent two years in recruiting, the closest you can get to sales in the military, and I had over eight years of Signal/IT experience. When Justin explained the career field and what it consisted of it was as if he’d just described peanut butter and jelly.
I was hesitant still and unconvinced of the viability of the program. I used the techniques learned while in Army Recruiting to conduct research on anyone and everyone associated with Tech Qualled, and I unexpectedly found that this was a very serious program with some amazing results. Within days I was fully committed to the selection process. It was challenging and required serious effort on my part, but when I received the acceptance phone call I knew my life had changed in a way that I never predicted.
The most challenging part of the training was fully immersing myself in it. Like I said, life was happening and Tech Qualled is very serious about their training. The time requirements were very reasonable to complete the training; however, I knew I was making a complete life change, so I used the resources and tools Tech Qualled provided to fill all of my available time.
I went through the program between March and June of 2018, and I had never met or even heard of any of the members of my cohort. During those few weeks, I’ve made life-long friends and have an open line of communication to anyone in the cohort. In fact, I’ve reached out to multiple other cohort members and they’ve all been like an open book. This is definitely one of the most beneficial aspects of going through Tech Qualled, I was never alone in my journey into an account executive job.
Finally, as the training ends and life started to hit (I just started terminal leave), the big question was what’s next? There were multiple opportunities and lots of concerns about “fit”. Every person at Tech Qualled would hear my concerns and answer my questions. I felt embarrassed by my lack of knowledge/experience, but they really carried me through.
Overall, my transition from the military was incredibly smooth. Except for CIF (central issuing facility/ where you turn your equipment in). I left the Army knowing I had a new career ahead of me and that the team at Tech Qualled genuinely were going to work their hardest to see me be successful. It was an absolute blessing and miracle that I was afforded the opportunity to go through the Tech Qualled program, and get an Account Executive job.
Erik McAndrews is a former Army Officer and Tech Qualled graduate. He is now in an Account Manager role at Splendid Technology Services and is based out of San Antonio, TX.
Chris Yenias is a former Naval Aviator and Tech Qualled graduate of the Launchpad Academy. He is now in a Territory Account Executive role at Winthrop Resources and is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
FORT WORTH, TX AND MINNETONKA, MN – (July 2, 2018) – Tech Qualled, a U.S. military veteran training organization, and Winthrop Resources Corporation (Winthrop), a division of TCF Bank and an indirect subsidiary of TCF Financial Corporation (TCF) (NYSE: TCF), today announced an ongoing partnership to help veterans secure jobs at the technology company via Launchpad Academy.
Tech Qualled was started in 2015 to teach veterans the skills they need to assimilate back into the workforce in an industry that can have a high barrier of entry due to lack of experience or training. The original premise was that military veterans with exceptional leadership ability and innate soft skills are uniquely prepared for careers in high tech sales. The technology space must frequently address high attrition and turnover costs – especially in sales roles. Tech Qualled is focused on creating a talent and training platform that identifies “high EQ and IQ” veterans and puts them through a comprehensive training program to develop the skillset required to sell high-tech products and services.
“The leadership team at Winthrop understands the benefits of hiring former service members and are committed to ensuring their success,” said Nick Breedlove, co-founder and CEO of Tech Qualled. “Conversely, military veterans see opportunities that await them in the technology industry, especially in the tech finance space. Tech Qualled sales training imbues our candidates with a desire to outwork and outlearn the competition and the result is a new generation of hyper-trained, sales professionals hungry to make an impact at organizations like Winthrop.”
“Winthrop recognized the unique characteristics that military veterans bring to a sales organization and has thus, made it a priority to bring them onboard,” says Chris Yenias, a former Naval Officer and graduate of Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy who is now a Territory Manager at Winthrop. “These traits are tenacity, grit, teamwork, and goal-orientation. Having these will provide a great foundation for anyone looking to get into technology financing which can be a very long sales cycle.”
Brian Slipka, head of sales for Winthrop added: “Winthrop and TCF have long relied on the strong leadership characteristics that are fundamental to military experience. The Tech Qualled platform helps us accelerate our development and training efforts with people who have demonstrated what it takes to succeed. This is a win/win for both of our organizations.”
Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy curriculum is specifically focused on teaching veterans industry-relevant concepts such as data center solutions, basic networking, cloud computing, software applications, and hands-on sales training, effectively equipping them with marketable skills for employment. To date, Tech Qualled has successfully trained more than 140 veterans and helped launch them into careers in the technology industry.
The Tech Qualled program has achieved an 80 percent success rate of graduates meeting expectations in their first full year after being hired. “The success rate of our candidates is largely attributed to our sales training. We focus on teaching the foundational building blocks that all early-in-career sellers need to have,” said Justin Ossola, co-founder and President of Tech Qualled. “Our training is proven to produce sales reps that stay in their jobs longer, have a shorter ramp time, and ultimately produce above-average results; and that is something we are incredibly proud of.”
About Tech Qualled
Tech Qualled is an innovative training company that focuses on preparing early-in-career professionals for careers in high tech sales through the Launchpad Academy. For more information on Tech Qualled, visit www.staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com. Follow Tech Qualled on Twitter @TQualled.
TCF is a Wayzata, Minnesota-based national bank holding company. As of March 31, 2018, TCF had $23.4 billion in total assets and 318 bank branches in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona and South Dakota providing retail and commercial banking services. TCF, through its subsidiaries, also conducts commercial leasing and equipment finance business in all 50 states and commercial inventory finance business in all 50 states and Canada. For more information about TCF, please visit http://ir.tcfbank.com.
Winthrop Resources Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of TCF Bank and provides financial solutions that make how you pay for and use technology a competitive differentiator for your business. Founded in 1982 and one of the largest bank-owned technology finance companies in the U.S., Winthrop serves a growing client base across all industries with custom-crafted lease, utility and as-a-service financial offerings leveraging award-winning client care processes and lifecycle management capabilities.
I never imagined in a million years that I would choose sales as a profession. Without Tech Qualled, my newly found passion for technology sales would never have been realized the same way. For that, I am forever grateful.
In 2015, we welcomed our beautiful daughter into this world. I knew my priorities would no longer be the same. After many late night conversations with my supportive husband, I knew that I needed to transition out of the Army for my family. It was not an easy decision.
Transitioning was nothing like what I had initially expected. I thought I was doing everything right. I went to one of the top business schools to get my MBA and was accepted into two elite military programs with two Fortune 100 companies, but I still felt lost. I had lost a sense of purpose. I was no longer part of a team like the teams in the Army. I focused so much on “winning” in terms of getting into great programs, but I never once asked myself if they were the right fit. In the military, we often have little influence on job choices. Due to our competitive nature, we want to be the “best” even when the “best “might not bring us the most joy. Through my research and my recent corporate experience, I knew I wanted to get into sales, but was faced with the challenge of getting hired into sales with no previous experience.
A year ago, a former Tech Qualled graduate told me about the program that trains transitioning veterans in high technology sales. I thought it was too good to be true. I was afraid that my introverted nature would make me a bad fit. I was also somewhat unsure due to my lack of knowledge and background in technology.
Maybe it was out of desperation, one day I took the courage to reach out to Justin Ossola. I bombarded him with questions. He was so patient, professional, and passionate. I applied to the program as soon as I got off the phone with him. The interview process was very thorough. It delved deeper than standard behavioral interviewing. In the end, I was beyond excited to hear the good news that I was accepted.
During the 7-week training, I was very impressed with the TQ team’s commitment to helping us and I was blown away by the work ethic of my peers. In 7 weeks, I learned more applicable skills than in my MBA program. The training was also more challenging than I had initially anticipated, which also made the whole experience so much more rewarding. Every week I was pushed out of my comfort zone by the instructors and my peers. The lessons learned and the advice I received will be invaluable for the rest of my life. The entire experience was truly life changing.
Today, I work at an IT reseller in Texas and I truly love my job in technology sales. I have an amazing boss who’s a great mentor and I am part of a great team again. The best part is, our job is to help solve problems for our clients. I feel like I am serving again, in a different way, and I have regained a sense of purpose.
If I may offer any advice, ask yourself and your family what success looks like, a 6 (or 7) figure paying job? Good work and life balance? Should you capitalize on your strengths or follow your passion or both? Finding the right fit is so important.
If you enjoy problem-solving, especially in helping businesses solve their most complex problems with technology, then you should absolutely explore Tech Qualled’s technology sales program. You will never find a better team who cares as much and supports you, your family, your transition and your career growth. Tech Qualled truly changed my life.
Leah Naish is an Army veteran and Tech Qualled Cohort 11 graduate. She is now in an Outside Sales Account Executive role at Sigma Solutions and is based out of Houston, TX.
I first heard about Tech Qualled about six months before I was planning on going through my military retirement. The plan to separate was hatched about two years before that, but I didn’t have much luck finding a job that fits with my unique background. Some of my friends who separated had jobs lined up that corresponded to a degree they received or working for the government in a job that corresponded to the work they did in the military. However, like many other jobs in the military, I really didn’t have a “pipeline” I could get into post-military. I had to get creative, and Tech Qualled found me at the perfect time.
Tech Qualled reached out to me via Linkedin. At the time, I hadn’t considered going into sales at all. In fact, I really didn’t know much about sales. After my first conversation, I went on a sales research blitz and found out all I could. Right from the get-go, I loved everything I read and heard about it. I knew from that point on, sales were where I wanted to be, where I belonged. I also knew from conversations I had with graduates I found on Linkedin that Tech Qualled’s training program was not only legitimate but that it set the bar for the sales industry. Thankfully, I was accepted into Tech Qualled’s training program right before my military retirement. I found the selection process very educational, and it helped set my frame of mind going into the training that followed.
The training itself was much more difficult than I expected. That being said, I absolutely loved it. I’m not a big fan of abstract concepts, I want to learn things I can use, and I feel the Tech Qualled curriculum is designed to be this way. I thought the final week, named “Sales Boot Camp”, was aptly named. It reminded me of Officer Training School, because there is a lot of information to learn and things to do and not much time to do it in. In a way, it felt like an appropriate transition from the military, as the military trains you to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
One of the best parts of the training that I didn’t expect going in was how much I connected to my fellow cohort members. Everyone is going through a difficult time together, many of us took a huge chance leaving the military and going into a career we didn’t know much about. All of us go through the discomfort of the first few role-play sessions, and we see each other develop. We all meet up in Fort Worth and go through Boot Camp together, another tough test, and feel the euphoria of graduation together. Those experiences bond people for life.
Now that I’m on the other side, I am so lucky I found Tech Qualled before my military retirement, or more appropriately, that TechQualled found me. If you are a transitioning veteran and are on the journey I just went through, look into sales! If you need someone to talk to about sales, Tech Qualled, or just transitioning, find me on Linkedin, I would be happy to talk to you!
Frank is an Air Force veteran and Tech Qualled Cohort 11 graduate. He is now in an Outside Sales Account Executive role at Softchoice; a leading IT solutions provider.