Tag Archives: tech sales

Tech Qualled Announces Virtual Account Executive Track

Starting in July of 2017 (Cohort 7) Tech Qualled, will begin offering two tracks: the Account Executive (AE) Track and the Virtual Account Executive (VAE) Track. All of this is provided at no cost to the candidate.

The VAE Track prepares our candidates for careers in virtual sales roles in the B2B tech industry. Being on a virtual sales team carries a lot of benefits including greater predictability, a more collegial environment and no travel. For transitioning veterans that want to be in a competitive account executive role with closer leadership support but are looking for a bit more stability in their life, the VAE Track is a great option.

For more information or to talk to a Tech Qualled recruiter, please visit Get Qualled.


Transitioning Vets – MBA or Tech Qualled?

I first learned about Tech Qualled staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com at the Savannah SACC. I was immediately impressed by the incredible opportunity that Tech Qualled gives to transitioning vets and are considering transitioning vetstechnology sales. My background, USCGA 88′, Duke MBA, and 12 years as an MBA admissions director, gives me some insights into helping you pick your best path if you are deciding between an MBA or Sales.

First, getting out of the service is scary, because no one is going to tell you where to go and what to do next in your career. This apprehension is even higher for people who attend service academies because we basically ‘grew up’ in the military and almost all of our closest friends are in the service. We lack a large network of friends in the business world who can give advice and act as examples. There are so many career fields and companies to consider – it can be bewildering.

Due to this apprehension, going back to school is a comfortable path – You likely have the GI Bill. You’re good at standardized tests(GMAT, GRE, LSAT). You know you get good grades in school. Your friends and family will be impressed that you are going to a great school. Your business school is going to help you find a job. You know that school without uniforms, a huge book of regulations and Reveille will be a lot of fun!

Boom! Done! Easy Choice.

Before going to school know your options. There are career paths for which the MBA is practically essential for a transitioning service member to enter; Investment Banking, Consulting, and Brand Marketing. However, if you want to do high-level technology sales, a full-time MBA program is not a good path to get there for the following reasons:

•   Traditional two-year Full-time MBA Programs are very expensive.   Tuition + Opportunity cost (lost salary) = can be over $300K

•   Upon graduating with an MBA you will have two fewer years of civilian work experience than if you did not go to school.

•   MBA Programs teach a lot of business skills. Very few MBA programs teach sales skills. MBA programs rarely teach anything about new and developing technology.

•   Having an MBA without sales experience can preclude you from getting a job in sales. Sales managers might perceive you as a very smart and capable person, an analyst type, who should be back in the office, not in front of customers. They will likely not take a chance on you.

•   If you skip the full-time MBA format and go straight into sales, an MBA might still be in your future. Salespeople moving into leadership roles will often enroll in a part-time or executive MBA with company support. Also, with new online education formats developing, like Udacity, you will have options for continued business education besides a total MBA program. Giving you the right tools at the right time.

Since I want my fellow veterans to do well and have great opportunities, I’m very pleased that Tech Qualled has been created to help veterans enter technology sales. If you like technology and think that being in front of customers is something you will enjoy, this is a tremendous opportunity. Technology sales can be a very lucrative career path. As technology is changing so rapidly and has high complexity, it is an intellectually rich area for a sales professional. You will have to be a life-long learner to stay current and competitive.

I would expect that the vast majority of people that do well in technology sales will never change career fields. However, If after you are in technology sales for a few years, and you would like to move into marketing, operations, or some other field, those paths can still be open to you. Though you will likely make less money moving out of sales, sales skills and understanding customers have value throughout organizations. An MBA is always still possible if you want to get the degree later in your career. The average age for good Executive MBA for programs is 37 and many students are in their 40’s. I even admitted one student in his 60’s. He was also a combat veteran and the most accomplished student I ever admitted. Because he wants to, he is still working now in his early 70’s.

A good MBA program gives you three things – training, career assistance, and an alumni network. Tech Qualled provides you training to get started and career assistance to help you land your initial position after the training. While Tech Qualled is new and lacks an extensive alumni network, I can envision that as it continues it will develop an alumni network which will assist those in the program in getting hired and program alumni will be a strong network during their careers.

You also already have a strong network – your fellow veterans who will be glad to assist you. Veterans will take your call. I’ll take your call too. If you want to chat with me – connect with me on LinkedIn and send me an email at pgforan@gmail.com

Thanks for your service – I wish you well in your career,

Patrick Foran


MBA Note – The Duke MBA Program was a great experience and it gave me the opportunity to start a career in marketing. It was a good choice for my path.

Law School Note – The things that are true about business school are more true about law school. Do not go to law school because you are not sure what you want to do and being in law school impresses people.  Going to law school is great. The law is a fascinating thing to study. Being a lawyer is often not so great. Talk to a lot of ex-military practicing lawyers before you go down this path.

Initiatives Aim to Bring Vets to Tech Startups

BreakLine and investors help former service members transition into tech startups

After serving as a rear-detachment commander in the U.S. Army, Kymberly Penson wanted a job at one of the Silicon Valley tech startups

But the University of North Carolina business school graduate didn’t have a network on the West Coast, and explaining her military background to a tech recruiter was all new to her.

“I didn’t know everything from storytelling to personal branding,” she said. “I didn’t quite register how important that was.”

Ms. Penson was one of the first veterans to participate in BreakLine, an initiative founded by a former Stanford University administrator that aims to help veterans find work in tech companies. In July, Ms. Penson started her job as a customer success manager at Box.

BreakLine is one of several recent initiatives in Silicon Valley to retrain veterans leaving the military for roles in the technology industry. Conventional recruiting software and procedures often leave veterans out or fail to account for the years of work experience they have in the military. BreakLine, venture-backed company Shift and some investors are working to help startups and more established tech companies understand the value that veterans can bring to their workforces. This month, Betts Recruiting and Sandboxx will partner to help connect veterans with sales jobs at technology companies through an app and emails.

As tech companies strive to attract more diverse talent, some of their initiatives include recruiting veterans. Several companies include veteran statistics in the diversity reports that they release that also show the percentage of women and minorities the companies employ. However, Bethany Coates, BreakLine’s founder, says it is inconsistent across companies.

“When you work in the military, you don’t get to choose your boss or the team you work with, but you’ve got to get the job done,” she said. “They tend to be really effective and outcome-oriented.”

Stereotyping is often a barrier. Ms. Coates said some employers think veterans won’t be able to adapt to Silicon Valley’s culture or work well independently after working in the military’s regimented environment.

But Ms. Coates wants to highlight the skills veterans bring to the table. She said many recognize veterans have strong leadership skills and can work well as part of a team.

Don Dixon, managing director of Trident Capital Cybersecurity, learned of the myriad challenges that veterans face when watching his two sons, Andrew and Peter, trying to find jobs at technology companies after leaving the Marine Corps. He saw how difficult it was for them to navigate the job search—even with family connections and degrees from Princeton University and the University of North Carolina.

“It changed the lens of how I look at my past experiences,” he said. “It gave me the confidence that I can succeed in this field.”

tech startupsDon Dixon, Andrew’s father, said certain sectors in technology have been more receptive to veterans. He noted cybersecurity is an area where veterans can thrive because the companies’ missions are often aligned with national security interests, and there are more direct applications for military experience. Peter Dixon had a security clearance that proved helpful when he started his first technology job at cybersecurity startup ThreatMetrix.

The Dixon family has recently launched Veterans Hire Veterans, an initiative that seeks to identify best practices for hiring veterans. They’re working with a range of companies, from the technology sector to more established companies like McKesson .

Another organization that is gaining traction in the industry is Shift, which is backed by the startup accelerator Expa. The company has talent advocates that try to translate military skills into experience that makes sense to private sector recruiters.

Shift Chief Executive Mike Slagh said veterans are especially challenged when moving into growth-stage startups that may be preparing for an initial public offering. He said because those companies have little margin of error for who they hire, they tend to recruit candidates who resemble other employee profiles and that may omit veterans.

“Paradoxically those are the companies where veterans can have the most impact,” Mr. Slagh said.

Mr. Slagh said growth-stage companies can allow veterans to use their leadership skills. He also said leadership changes rapidly at these companies, but veterans are used to getting assignments that frequently change.

Some veterans say they are seeing more buy-in by some executives. After serving in the Navy, Don Faul came to Silicon Valley to attend Stanford and wanted to break into the tech sector. When he joined Google in 2005, he knew only one other veteran there.

At Google, he was involved in starting the company’s first group for veterans and went on to develop similar initiatives in the early years of Facebook . After being hired as one of the first 50 employees at Pinterest, he helped the company consider recruiting veterans. Today he is chief executive of the wearables startup Athos.
“There are so many more veterans today in the technology industry,” Mr. Faul said. “The more people we have, the easier it is for a new crop of veterans to find a job.”

Correction: Stanford Ignite is a veterans program at Stanford Graduate School of Business. An earlier version incorrectly described Ignite as a predecessor of BreakLine. (April 10, 2017)

Article originally published in the WSJ. See full article here.


Cat Zakrzewski writes about technology for The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VentureWire in San Francisco. Her coverage areas include cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, consumer technology, and virtual reality. She is also interested in policy and regulatory decisions that affect startups.

Tech Industry Opportunities for Veterans

Tech Qualled and Venture Technologies are creating opportunities in the tech industry for US Veterans

Building on to Venture Tech’s investment in the US, we recruit from Tech Qualled to find the best and brightest –America’s own military veterans who are bringing the leadership and problem solving skills they learned in the service, into the tech industry.

“We understand returning veterans have a drive to continue serving our country and they bring the dedication, focus and drive that aligns with their military background,” said Venture Technologies Business Applications Group President Paul Demes. “They’re able to thrive in high pressure environments, build solid customer relationships and motivate those around them.”

The US tech industry is extremely challenging for service members to break into if they don’t have deep experience; however, the lingering shortage of high quality, high tech B2B salespeople has created a talent gap.

Co-Founder and CEO of Tech Qualled, Jim Sherriff, started the company in 2015 as a way to give veterans the skills they needed to assimilate back into the workforce in an industry that many didn’t have access to due to lack of experience or training. Sherriff spent more than 30 years in executive leadership roles at both HP and Cisco.

While Jim and his wife Karen were participating in the Fellowship Program at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative, they met Nick Breedlove and Justin Ossola, both graduates of the United States Naval Academy and Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Together they partnered to develop the innovative, mission-driven company.

Tech Qualled’s mission is to enhance the lives of military veterans by training and placing them into rewarding customer-facing careers in high technology.

“We made a commitment to create this program for veterans, providing them with a customized learning environment and access to new, previously barricaded career paths in high technology,” said Tech Qualled Co-Founder Justin Ossola. “Venture Technologies has hired more candidates than any of our other partners. Their enthusiasm and involvement with our Launchpad Academy is a testimony to their dedication and commitment in getting our returning service members hired in fulfilling, lucrative roles.”

The Tech industry’s approach to hiring and training Veterans

Venture Tech is following the lead of several partners and tech giants like Cisco, Oracle, and Microsoft in the commitment to hire and train veterans.

Cisco is a founding member of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of companies committed to hiring 300,000 veterans by 2020. In addition, Cisco’s Veterans Enablement and Troop Support (VETS) employee organization provides mentoring and support to active and retired military personnel and their families.

Cisco Networking Academy courses at military bases have helped more than 66,000 military personnel develop information and communications technology (ICT) skills since 1997. In addition, 330,000+ veterans have been hired through the Veterans Job Mission, of which Cisco is a founding member.

Oracle also supports a broad range of efforts that provide veterans and injured veterans with opportunities to build professional networks and find civilian jobs that build onto their skills. The Oracle University Workforce Development Program (WDP) is a global program with over 140 partner schools in North America. Partner schools range from large universities to small and mid-sized private training companies.

How Venture Tech supports the Reshoring Initiative

Hiring and training military service members aren’t the only ways we aim to make an impact. Venture Technologies has its own US-based data centers managed by US help desk support. We will continue to keep hires in the US and partner with companies doing the same.

The mission of the Reshoring Initiative is to bring good, well-paying manufacturing jobs back to the United States by assisting companies to more accurately assess their total cost of offshoring.

Whether or not recent economic policies have an effect, the fact is many companies are hiring more US workers — and quickly. Companies are increasingly recognizing that costs, risks and strategic impacts previously ignored are large enough to overcome the shrinking emerging market wage advantages.

Tech companies known for their large-scale repatriation of US manufacturing include Oracle, Google, Intel and IBM.

The Reshoring Initiative aims to balance the $500 billion/year trade deficit, thus bringing back four million manufacturing jobs to the U.S.

Reshoring Objectives 

  • 4 Million manufacturing jobs
  • Cut US budget deficit by 50%
  • Reduce unemployment about 4% points
  • Strengthen the middle class
  • 30% increase in manufacturing
  • 25% extra annual capital equipment investment (If spread over 20 years)
  • Allow productivity and growth in manufacturing employment

Original post can be found here.

Veterans and the Speed of Trust Importance

I recently read an interesting book called the Speed of Trust that outlines the impact of trust in organizations. Coveting trust as the single greatest asset any company can have, the author, Stephen Covey, argues that without trust an organization cannot operate at optimal speed and will therefore lose efficiencies and increase costs. Think about it — trust is critical to almost any relationship we have: in the office or at home, with our doctor or our elected officials. Naturally, certain relationships require more trust than others, however, the absence of trust is disabling.  I’m sure most of us have experienced how difficult it can be to lose the trust of someone else. Decisions become fraught with suspicion, simple communication turns complicated and everything slows down. This made me wonder how trust plays a part for military veterans that are taking off the uniform and assimilating into civilian life.

Having conducted thousands of informational calls with veterans and assisted them with various aspects of their transition, I’ve come to realize that building trust is a critical factor for them. Trust acts like glue, and just like in the military, relationships that lack trust can severely hamper your chances of success. I’ve found that veterans are not only perceived as being highly trustworthy, but they are usually very trusting of others as well. Here are a few tips for veterans on how to show (and not just say) to others that you value trust and, in the process, build trust with key stakeholders.

Get Better

Continuous improvement is not just a buzzword. If an organization is going to stay competitive in today’s environment, constant self-evaluation, market adaptation, and retooling talent are common practices. Resultantly, companies look for employees that take serious their commitment to self-improvement. The military’s commitment to providing its service members with continuous training and education allows veterans the opportunity to invest in getting better. And when you can display to others that you care about learning and growing professionally, you are signaling to them that you acknowledge the challenges of a rapidly changing environment. Taking an online course, working on a technical certification and getting involved with a mentorship program are all ways to actively get better. This shows that you care and that you are aligned with the dynamics that drive the market. Ultimately, it will help build high trust relationships with important stakeholders (and gatekeepers).

Confront Reality

Many would agree that the unique experience and, at times, brutal reality that many veterans have endured during their military service makes them easier to trust. One piece of advice I find myself repeatedly giving to veterans is to not rest on your laurels. As someone transitioning away from one ecosystem and into another, the reality is that there will most likely be a lot of gaps in knowledge and experience. People who don’t fully understand the mission and lifestyle of the military may not be able to fully understand where you are coming from. Don’t shy away from this. When developing relationships, it’s important to hit these gaps head-on. Turn areas of concern into trust-building mechanisms. Addressing the elephant in the room signals to others that you 1) are genuine and have the courage to tackle the “undiscussable”, and 2) you are comfortable opening up and see value in receiving input from others to solve problems. When I speak with veterans that are completely honest about their weaknesses and challenges, my stance immediately shifts toward “this person could really use my help” and “they clearly care about my input”. Being able to humbly and appropriately speak to past failures, current deficiencies and future concerns and fears can build immediate trust with others.

Keep Commitments

When I met my current business partner – who has hired many veterans over his 35-year career as a high- tech executive – I asked him why he felt military veterans made great employees. Now, that’s a tricky veteransquestion to answer, especially when the question is coming from a veteran and directed toward someone who isn’t. What surprised (and impressed) me most was the simplicity and confidence in his answer: “veterans do what they say they are going to do”. He followed up with a number of other qualities, but it was clear his primary message was that he felt veterans are very good at keeping their commitment.

Several studies have shown that keeping promises is the number one contributing factor in creating an ethical culture. Not surprisingly, breaking promises is the leading contributor to distrust in an organization. If you say you are going to forward your resume to someone by close of business, do it. If you promise to connect a fellow veteran with a professional connection you have, do it. Being a committed person means you can be trusted. Whether you are job hunting, networking or it’s your first day on the job, successful people find a value-added reason to make a commitment – and then keep it.


Justin Ossola is the co-founder of Tech Qualled, a boutique recruiting company dedicated to training and preparing transitioning veterans for success in the high tech space. He is a 13-year Navy veteran, U.S. Naval Academy and Harvard graduate and a former Oracle sales consultant.

Hiring The Wrong Person Can Cost You Thousands

Jim Sherriff (pictured) is the CEO of Tech Qualled, based in Fort Worth, Texas, an organization committed to vetting and training military veterans for careers in sales. He previously served in sales roles for Cisco, including senior vice president for its partner organization in the Americas. He also served as global vice president of Hewlett-Packard Consulting.

I have had the pleasure of hiring more than 500 salespeople during my career. Unfortunately, I have also had the agony of dealing with more than 100 hiring mistakes. I have worked for Fortune 25 companies and for a 700-person systems integrator, and in all environments, the pain and cost of dismissing a salesperson was very high.

When I ask sales leaders about the cost of a bad hire, I normally get responses ranging from $25,000 to $50,000. In reality, the cost for most companies in the technology industry tops $500,000, dwarfing the cost of bad hires in other front-line positions.

The primary costs of this mistake fall into three buckets. The first – and biggest – is the opportunity cost associated with the delay in bringing someone on board to cover a sales territory. The second is the lost investment in the dismissed sales rep. The third category is the cost of finding and onboarding a replacement.


Jim Sherriff with the fast growing Tech Qualled team at the Annual Strategy Meeting in Fort Worth, TX. (January 2017)

How does this impact a company? I’ll detail an example here. To calculate the opportunity cost, we need to determine two numbers: The first is the peak annual productivity contribution you would expect from a good or great hire. All our clients expect that contribution to be well over $500,000 in gross profit; most expect the number to top $1 million. For my example, I’ll use $500,000.

Then, we need to estimate the length of time in which the territory will be inadequately covered. Most companies need four to eight months before they can tell if they made a hiring mistake. Then, once they sense one, companies typically take two to three months to move the sales rep through a performance improvement process. After that, the search for a replacement and the onboarding tack on another two to three months. Altogether, you’re looking at eight to 14 months. For this example, let’s use 10 months.

Those 10 months amount to about 83 percent of the year in which the territory was not adequately covered, multiplied by the annual expected contribution: $500,000. That comes out to around $416,000.

Next, you need to estimate your total investment in the departing sales rep, including salary, expenses, benefits, equipment and training. This number will vary, but for more than 90 percent of technology companies, that cost range is $50,000 to $100,000. Let’s pick $75,000 for our example.

Lastly, how much will you spend on recruiting and onboarding to replace the departing rep? Our estimate here will be $10,000.

All of that adds up to $501,000.

That’s the “hard” cost. But what’s the cost of the reputational damage associated with making a change in that position? What’s the cost associated with the management attention that’s required to coach, dismiss and replace the sales rep? These numbers are harder to quantify, but they’re significant.

The two primary reasons a sales hire is deemed to have been a mistake are skills mismatches and character deficiencies. With skills mismatches, we know that most people are not well suited for the sales profession. Our clients tell us that the two skills most often missing are prospecting capabilities and closing expertise.  With character deficiencies, managers want sales reps who possess such attributes as integrity, perseverance, resiliency, adaptability and drive.

What’s the remedy?  There are four critical steps to improving your hiring success rate.

  • First, you must expand your candidate sourcing to find talent that your competitors are missing;
  • Second, you must tighten your selection process and ensure that you’re not too enamored with experience at the expense of character;
  • Third, you should look for opportunities to more fully vet candidates before they become part of your payroll.
  • Lastly, you must ensure that you have the right front-line sales managers in place to coach and mentor the new sales executive.

Veteran Training: ePlus and Tech Qualled Partnership

HERNDON, Va., Jan. 10, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ePlus inc. (NASDAQ:PLUS) today announced a long-term partnership with veteran training organization, Tech Qualled, to help U.S. military veterans secure jobs in the IT industry.

“ePlus is excited to be a part of the Tech Qualled Program, offering our military veterans an opportunity to further their careers within the technology sector,” said Susan Lawlor, ePlus’ vice president.  “Partnering with Tech Qualled is a mutually beneficial venture.  We look forward to welcoming veterans to our very capable team—and giving them the opportunity to be part of robust IT initiatives that make technology mean more and make a powerful difference in our customers’ business.”

Co-Founder and CEO of Tech Qualled, Jim Sherriff, started the company in 2015 as a way to give veterans the skills they needed to assimilate back into the workforce in an industry that many didn’t have access to due to lack of experience or training. Mr. Sherriff spent more than 30 years in executive leadership roles at both HP and Cisco.

Tech Qualled is a free, nine-week training program for transitioning military veterans interested in working in outside technology sales. The curriculum is specifically focused on teaching veterans concepts such as data center solutions, basic networking, and cloud computing as well as hands-on sales training. The Launchpad Academy is capped off by a 10-day sales “boot camp” held in Fort Worth, TX.

Tech Qualled, through its Launchpad Academy veteran training, also helps candidates secure job offers upon graduating from the program at top IT companies like ePlus. Tech Qualled focuses on partnering with technology companies that have an interest in a blended talent pool comprised of early-in-career candidates who also carry exceptional leadership experience.

“ePlus is the gold standard of technology integrators, so to have them as partners since the beginning has been tremendous for our candidates, our training, and our growth,” said Nick Breedlove, co-founder of Tech Qualled. According to Breedlove, ePlus is one of Tech Qualled’s most committed and enthusiastic partners—seeing the intrinsic value that veterans bring to any sales organization. “ePlus’ willingness to provide expertise and resources throughout our Launchpad Academy, not to mention hire multiple graduates of our program, is a testament to their faith in our innovative approach.”

About Tech Qualled

Tech Qualled is committed to enhancing the lives of the military personnel by offering veteran training and placing them into rewarding careers in high technology. For more information on Tech Qualled, visit www.staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com.  Follow Tech Qualled on Twitter @TQualled.

About ePlusinc.

ePlus is an engineering-centric technology solutions provider that helps organizations imagine, implement, and achieve more from their technology.  With the highest certifications from top technology partners and expertise in key technologies from data center to security, cloud, and collaboration, ePlus transforms IT from a cost center to a business enabler.  Founded in 1990, ePlus has more than 1,000 associates serving a diverse set of customers nationally, and in Europe.  The Company is headquartered at 13595 Dulles Technology Drive, Herndon, VA, 20171.  For more information, visit www.eplus.com, call 888-482-1122, or email info@eplus.com.  Connect with ePlus on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ePlusinc and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ePlus.   ePlus. Where Technology Means More®.

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/eplus-and-tech-qualled-announce-partnership-to-hire-military-veterans-20170110-00444#ixzz4Va4ZYsV7 

veteran training

Optimized Veteran Training for Civilian Careers

“Veterans: You know the value of hard work, respect, ownership of mistakes, and fixing the problem and not the blame.  You have the character foundation.  You have a leg up. Now you need to add a new skill set for civilian careers.”

– Tina Indalecio

I recently had a chance to interview Tina Indalecio, Director of Instructional Design at Tech Qualled, a training and placement company.  As a learning scientist, Tina offers more than a teaching background to enhance veterans’ transition experience.

Below, read how her unique expertise brings a fresh perspective on the value of veterans in the workforce. Learn how she has worked with the Tech Qualled team to design training that optimizes veterans’ potential.


What distinctive values do you personally bring to the Tech Qualled learning process?

After six years as a college professor, I chose to go back to school to understand the psychology behind how we learn. Having a background in learning science allows me to apply cutting-edge instructional design principles and the appropriate Civilian Careers for Veteranslearning theories into our program. As a result, information retention increases, and our learning outcomes are dramatically improved.

How is the experience tailored for veterans?

In three ways…

Learner-Focused Approach. The learning content is structured with the learner in mind, how military veterans think and what they bring to the table in a classroom, is very different than how a civilian thinks. That needs to be accounted for when developing our program content.  The training program is both immersive and integrated. Take the skill of prospecting, for example… The content is designed so that while they’re interacting with the material and researching the industry, the learners are by proxy developing skills necessary to be successful in sales. There is also just enough ambiguity built into each assignment to challenge rigid thinking and move the learner towards solving complex business challenges.

In addition, the course materials are continually refined based on the feedback from our candidates and data from how each cohort performs. Constant analysis of performance and outcomes enhance the program over time in a way that uniquely resonates with veteran learners and helps produce outstanding candidates for our client companies.

Individual Attention. We are about quality, not quantity and work to ensure a positive learning experience. Our small cohort sizes allow us to tailor the learning experience and respond quickly when learners have questions or need assistance. We know that every veteran learner will have different Civilian Careersneed levels. Two courses with identical content will have completely different learning outcomes if there is no response from the instructor or limited engagement in general, versus having a high-touch online learning environment. Our cohort sizes allow us to respond quickly to each learner, and time to devote to those who have higher needs so every learner feels supported. Learner frustration can directly decrease learning outcomes.  The benefit of this approach is to increase the overall learner experience and put the learners at ease psychologically.

Unique Business Model.  Our value as a training company means we are not the traditional churn-and-burn recruiting company that is only focused on the number of candidates we place. We value relationships with our candidates and client companies. That’s one of the reasons why we continually refine our program by focusing on relevant industry content to avoid cognitive overload and to highlight the information the learner needs to focus on in order to be successful once they are placed with a company and to create effective and efficient training. We also have a very steep vetting process when selecting our cohort candidates, but once you’re in, it’s a very rigorous experience, emphasizing maximized value and growth. We also have very strong relationships with the partner companies looking to hire our candidates.

Internally at Tech Qualled, we have cohesiveness, leaders giving praise, and team members that feel very valued. That sets our company apart, and in my experience, that is missing at most companies. The lack of feeling valued as an employee is a main reason why people job-hop.

What kind of candidate does best in the program?

I do not think we would have the same level of success with most civilians as we do with veterans. Our candidates tend to be very respectful and appreciative of the opportunity, and very eager to learn. In my experience, that level of enthusiasm and motivation is not as prevalent with many civilian college and adult learners. Veterans also tend to be highly competitive and motivated to do extremely well, which also differentiates them from typical students. To capitalize on this quality, we use gamification and other competitions within the program, which resonate well with our candidates.

What are the greatest struggles veterans encounter with the program?

The biggest learning challenge is to move away from a regimented way of thinking. Telling our learners that they need to come up with a creative solution is very difficult. In the military, you’re taught not to be autonomous, and there is very little latitude for creative thinking. We are training them in a field that requires them to think outside-the-box every day, where there is no hand-holding. We really challenge our candidates to get out of their comfort zone to be more creative thinkers and problem solvers.

Finally, what advice would you give veteran learners who are starting the program?

You have invaluable experience, and understand the structure, respect, discipline, and hard work. These are all critical to your success in sales.

You did so much training and preparation in terms of time and commitment for your rank and roles in the military… Why do less for your first civilian career? You were often given all the tools you needed to be successful, but in an environment that lacked learning design. You adapted and figured out how to use those tools. Take that initiative with our program, and you will be successful here, too.


Civilian Careers:

To find out more, or to apply for the Tech Qualled Launchpad Academy, visit www.staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com or contact Meredith Davis at meredith@staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com. For employers interested in hiring our candidates, please reach out to Nick Breedlove at nick@staging.techqualled.flywheelsites.com.

Veteran’s Journey to High-Tech Sales

In June 2015, I made my decision to leave the military and walk away from a promotion to the rank of Major. I had a fairly successful career in the U.S. Army, which made this veteran’s journey a particularly difficult one. Career progression in the military is much different than the civilian workforce. Additionally, there are assigned career managers for every rank cohort. Now a veteran, I was stepping outside of that familiar construct to be mired in ambiguity – all in an effort to have more control over my life.

veteran's journey

Scott Schreiber — U.S. Army veteran and recent Tech Qualled graduate.

Not knowing at the time what would best suit me, I knew I needed to do some self-discovery. I realized early on that I had an affinity for, as well as an innate disposition, for sales. I took multiple aptitude tests that would assist in my decision to pursue a particular career path – everything pointed to outside sales. I began researching industries and became increasingly enamored with high-tech sales.

I was already working with a Junior Military Officer (JMO) veteran recruiting firm prior to identifying my real interest in high-tech sales. At that point, it seemed like the right recipe to facilitate my transition – except there was no path to high-tech sales via the recruiting firm I was partnering with. In order to get into the industry, I wanted to as a veteran, I’d have to leave the comfort of knowing I can get “a job” with this firm to pursue what I really wanted to do. Ambiguity was my new normal.

Now a “free agent” in my transition, I began reaching out to military veterans that were account executives in the high-tech space. I had a few informational calls with directors and VPs where I quickly realized I needed validation in sales. Though they were impressed with what I had learned from reading numerous sales books, it wasn’t enough. I received a lot of “sorry, but not yet” answers.

Veteran's journey

The Challenger Sale is incorporated into Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy which is an e-learning course specifically designed for transitioning military veterans.

A mentor referred me to Tech Qualled, a company that trains veterans to break into the high-tech space in outside sales roles. Tech Qualled’s Launchpad Academy was the sales training/validation that I was looking for. The program’s instruction is led by former Cisco executive Jim Sherriff, CEO and co-founder of Tech Qualled. The first seven weeks consisted of virtual training focused on laying the foundation of sales knowledge utilizing the Challenger model from CEB’s book, The Challenger Sale. The challenging, self-paced curriculum stimulated my intellectual curiosity and pressure-tested my business acumen. Tech Qualled’s program culminated in a two-week sales boot camp that is – in my opinion – the most valuable experience of the entire program. It was a tremendous opportunity to sharpen my sales skills and validate that I was ready to take on an outside sales role.

Tech Qualled’s Sales Boot Camp is hosted in downtown Fort Worth, TX where I met the other 15 members of my cohort – all high performing officers in the military. We kicked off Day 1 with the Dallas Improv Troupe to harness our active listening skills and polished our communication skills on Day 2 with intensive public speaking training from DMH Consulting. These experiences set us up for the rigorous role-playing we would conduct for the remainder of the boot camp.

In rapid succession we rehashed every part of the sales process and heavily reinforced the material with role-playing led by Jim Sherriff and other Tech Qualled staff members — many of whom are veterans with experience in high-tech. Their coaching and feedback were tremendously helpful as they ramped up the intensity of our experience by bringing in C-suite executives to participate in a panel discussion and role-playing as well. Therein lies the greatest value of Tech Qualled’s program – the invaluable feedback by a former Cisco sales executive as well as the insight and feedback from CXOs whose peers we will be calling on.

veteran's journey

Cohort 4 veteran candidates participating in the Sales Boot Camp in Fort Worth, TX.

Our two-day capstone event, Victory Forge, was our chance to piece together our experiences in hopes of closing a deal with our tough, tenured role players. Broken up into small teams, we had to secure an initial meeting, identify opportunities within a few short sales calls and execute a plan of action on the chosen opportunity or opportunities to pursue and close.

Tech Qualled provided me and other veterans with both an extremely valuable experience as well as high-quality sales training. My new manager has referred to Tech Qualled’s program to be like a “mini sales MBA” designed specifically for military veterans. Within a month following graduation from the program, I accepted a position as a Business Development Manager with CEB selling for their middle market HR practice. I would not have been able to break into sales at the level I did without a program like Tech Qualled.

The conventional way for JMO veterans to transition is to leverage recruiting firms and get a job in a role they can best sell you as. The better way forward is to identify what you really want to do and take big, bold steps to get there. If you are a veteran and you want to get into high-tech sales, mitigate the level of ambiguity and take your big, bold step with Tech Qualled.