Images: TBI's Big Event — Partners Get New Loyalty Program, Google Chrome Partnership

The new loyalty program rewards partners earlier on in their growth journey than other distributors do, said TBI.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 7, 2022

22 Slides

TBI’s BIG EVENT — TBI is giving back more money to its partners to reward them for growth and loyalty.

The Chicago-based tech services distributor unveiled a loyalty program for its partners on Tuesday. The “PGA Club” recognizes four tiers of partners based on the amount of annual recurring revenue they drive with TBI. The tiers offer graduated market development funds (MDF) that come directly from the company. Partners will earn MDF relative to the revenue they drove the previous year with TBI: 10% for the diamond and ruby tiers, 5% for the sapphire tier and 3% for emerald.

TBI executives said the technology services distributor is new to having a loyalty program, compared to other TSBs/TSDs that have already been offering it. However, Brandon Smith, who recently joined TBI as senior vice president of sales, said the PGA Club differs in its accessibility to newer partners.


TBI’s Brandon Smith

“For a lot of our competitors, you have to wait until you’re all the way up to the very top to start getting revenues back in your pocket. I talked to a lot of partners – some that are just beginning and some that right in the middle – and they want that extra incentive to go to the next level,” Smith told the event’s partner audience.

TBI shared these updates at its Big Event in Chicago, which it hosted in-person for the first time since 2019.

Executives also touched on how the distributor is positioning itself and its partners in their sales motion. Marketplaces and the idea of automating the sales process have gained traction in the channel over the last two years. TBI has worked to build a digital, “transactional” element to sales with its OnDemand sales enablement portal, which includes the CableFinder serviceability tool. However, Adam Knudsen, vice president of operations, said the human element matters just as much as automation. TBI’s back office has grown to 80 people, who play a role in helping partners fulfill deals that need extra care.


TBI’s Adam Knudsen

“If something is large and complex, we want to have our humans handle that for you,” Knudsen told Channel Futures.

Eric Ludwig recently co-founded Rise Technology Advisors, an advisory firm which has partnered with TBI. He agreed with Knudsen that automation needs to team with human expertise during the sales process.


Rise Technology Advisors’ Eric Ludwig

“I’m all about automation where and when applicable. Decisions are made based on data, not in place of the data; it’s one piece of a puzzle. At the end of the day, when you’re relying on an advisory business, the data is the data; somebody has to help analyze it,” Ludwig told Channel Futures. “If a client has an issue, somebody needs to pick up a phone and be that client advocate. Automation doesn’t do that. AI doesn’t do that. A set of inputs and outputs simply does not do that.”

For example, a tool like CableFinder saves the adviser and the customer time by discovering all the available cable points. But the customer needs the partner to contextualize that data based on the customer’s needs. For example, does the customer need the connection for backup or a primary network? Do they require a certain level up-speed bandwidth, which might rule out coax?

“All of those things require a person to be involved in interpreting what the analytics will give you. I don’t think that’s going away. And clients really do value that, as do partners like me from distributors like TBI,” Ludwig said.

Scroll through the images above to see highlights from the TBI Big Event.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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