Combining the “tech walk” concept and customer feedback, MAXfocus Lead Sales Engineer Todd Haugland is spearheading an initiative to offer extensive training of the RemoteManagement dashboard in different U.S. cities. The class kicked off in Columbus, Ohio, writes Marc Thaler.
Todd Haugland recently traveled to Central Ohio, doubled as a professor for the day, and witnessed firsthand the proverbial light bulb “going off” in the eyes of many MAXfocus partners. The feedback he has since received confirms what he knew when building the new “Training Day” certification seminar for MAX RemoteManagement.
“People want technical training. It’s what we hear most when we’re out on the road,” says Haugland, the lead sales engineer at MAXfocus.
Class was in session March 25.
Sixty-nine partners from three territories attended the no-charge pilot session at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. There, Haugland took customers on a 6 ½-hour technical deep dive of the comprehensive, cloud-based RM platform.
“People were interested. I saw several of those ‘Aha!’ moments,” Haugland says.
The goal of Training Day, Haugland explains, is to ensure managed service providers (MSPs) maximize the functionality that the dashboard provides. In many cases, MSPs haven’t used all the features – or know they exist.
That’s why Haugland, a veteran employee of the company, feverishly began creating curriculum shortly before the New Year. He jokes that his initial outline was three pages. It more than quadrupled in no time.
It didn’t take long to pre-register 50 partners, either.
Sales Executive Don Miller also recognized customers crave training. The popular one-hour “tech walk” for existing and potential partners successfully helps answer specific questions over the phone. But the sophistication of the RM dashboard continues to grow at a rapid rate – hence the demand for a one-day course with Haugland at the helm.
Miller was given just three weeks’ lead time to ensure Haugland had a class filled with customers. The play-it-safe plan entailed finding 25-30 partners in and around Cincinnati, Dayton, Springfield and Columbus.
Miller had other ideas.
“I guaranteed I could get 50 to 70 people to attend,” he says. “All I had to say is ‘We’re offering extensive training in the MAX dashboard and it’s only available to MAX partners.’ I knew it would work.”
Haugland tells a quick story to illustrate the purpose of the program: While talking patch management, a partner posed what he admitted was a “parking lot” question – the type that is tabled until more time is available to adequately answer it.
Instead, Haugland pulled up the approval policy for patch management. The partner was surprised to see all the capabilities that previously went unnoticed.
“We made quick work of his problem and saved him a good four hours on patch day,” Haugland says.
Training Day also includes three exams, each one more difficult than the last. Partners are first tested on their base knowledge of the platform. They are later tested on knowledge of core features and how to use them. And finally, understanding of the dashboard’s extended functionality (e.g., mobile device management, app control, scripting) is tested.
Partners who pass the second and third exams earn “RM certified technician” and “Officer of Information Checking” status, respectively. Those who don’t pass, Haugland says, receive a call from his team to schedule continuing education via the tech walk. They can also take the test again, online.
What is Haugland’s immediate vision for the class? Offer it to MSPs in different regions of the U.S. this year, and take Training Day abroad in 2016.
His next class – May 4 in San Jose, California – is one of three scheduled for a ChannelPro event (register here). Haugland is working on scheduling additional sessions for 2015 as well.
“The goal is to help MSPs get the most out of the product. But we also want to learn how we can make the product better and even easier to use,” Haugland says. “It’s an opportunity for their education as well as our own.”