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Varnex University was first announced last November at a Varnex show, and the curriculum was designed with the help of Ryan Morris, principal consultant of Morris Management Partners, which specializes in channel training. Several vendors and Synnex staff also participated, Stegner said. Synnex also has a strong relationship with Anderson University in South Carolina to utilize "visiting professors," Stegner said.
The students worked from 8 a.m. until "late at night" and even had homework, Stegner said. Reports were sent to the owners of the VARs that sent salespeople. and a test was given at the end.
Michael Roberts, an account executive at Whalley Computer Associates, a Southwick, Mass.-based VAR, was one of the students who completed the weeklong course and agreed it was no vacation.
"I thought it might be kind of relaxing. I think I left more tired than I came," he said. "But I got overwhelming support from Synnex employees, and knowing the resources that are available will be a huge help in my career," he said.
Paula Smith, vice president at Advotek, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based VAR, also graduated and said it was worth the experience. "It was very interactive, very hands-on. We got to discuss sales challenges and got great, great feedback. I'm really glad I went," she said.
Several other VARs attending the Varnex show in Orlando planned to contact Synnex about future Varnex University sessions.
"I'm always looking for better training for my sales force. If I hear some of the testimonies, I think it's something we need to look at," said Glenn Fell, vice president of solutions at Flex Imaging, a Marietta, Ga.-based VAR.
Nathan Sanders, COO and vice president of Network Essentials, a Charlotte, N.C.-based solution provider, added that he's interested in sending some new salespeople to the Sales 101 session. "I'm encouraged by what I see. I hope it actually pans out, that it's something my sales guys would bring something back and get something from it."