Bandalier’s mission as a business is to connect customer-facing talent throughout the country with growing companies in need of it. Core to that goal is not just recruiting talent, but putting in place tools that empower new hires to perform successfully in roles for our clients.
To that end, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of Bandalier University, powered by Thinkific and developed in conjunction with our partners at Incubate Media. We plan to use our university to provide our new hires and participants in our talent-as-a-service platform with foundational tactical skills and leadership training they’ll be able to use on our clients’ behalf and throughout their careers.
The University’s first course is Inside Sales 101, which is an adaptation of the standard bootcamp through which we put all new sales associates at Bandalier. The training is designed to prepare new hires for SDR roles on our outsourced inside sales teams and covers the philosophy and tactics underlying modern top-of-funnel SaaS sales. The course includes hours of video trainings, assignments that allow participants to leverage Bandalier’s library of sales calls and cold e-mails, and an interactive component involving live sales role plays with Bandalier’s managers.
We’re laying out plans now for future courses, which will cover topics ranging from account management to sales leadership training. In the meantime, we’re opening course participation in Inside Sales 101 to the public at introductory pricing of $500. We invite you to check it out!
Up next in our Side-Hustle Series is Jake Zall, co-founder of Pop-Corn Heist! As a member of Bandalier’s sales op team, much of Jake’s work is behind the scenes. When he’s working with Pop-Corn Heist, he takes up the starring role! To celebrate the site’s first anniversary, we sat down to chat with Jake.
Pop-Corn Heist grew out of a passion for movies and pop culture. Jake and his best friend, Nick, always loved talking about and quoting films, and shared their passion with a radio show while working with Binghamton University’s student-run station, WHRW. After graduating, they realized that they wanted to continue the conversation. The duo transitioned to an online blog and started writing!
In the spring of 2020, Jake and Nick realized that they wanted to change the way they ran things. With the isolation of COVID looming over everyone, they opted to start building a community, rather than sharing their opinions.The re-branded and ramped up their social media engagement, starting conversations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to reach a wider audience. On the blog, they invite guest writers to share their takes on new media, and invited broader conversations by polling fans on the brackets that they built.
As Jake describes it, their content falls into 3 broad categories: movie news, TV news, and rankings. Who are the best and worst characters in your favorite shows? Which Pixar movies are the best and worst? What new shows are worth checking out, and which ones are better skipped? Pop-Corn Heist is here to help you find out! If this still leaves you craving more, Pop-Corn Heist publishes even more content for the most seasoned film buffs. They write in-depth analyses of their favorite films, such as Jake’s recent run-down on the Pros and Cons of Pop-Culture Time Travel. As Jake describes it:
“Our ultimate goal is to amplify the voices of pop culture fans. A lot of big sites have an agenda, and push out flashy headlines without much information. They’re not as inclusive and interactive as we want them to be. We want to have a conversation and hear different opinions from fans like us.”
Whether he’s working on a new social media post or a task for Bandalier, Jake is always in the middle of multiple conversations. He wears a lot of hats - he’s the primary SOA for five different programs, and he works closely with our Director of People to keep our Talent as a Service portal up to date. We asked Jake how he juggles it all, and he described it as a “madness method”:
“Nothing is regimented, I take tasks as they come and handle the most immediate tasks first. I don’t shy away from multi-tasking. Prioritize immediate needs, but don’t shy away from the chaos - embrace it and find a way to organize. You can find organization in the chaos.”
Jake credits his experiences at Bandalier as one of the foundations for his success with Pop-Corn Heist. His experience with outsourced sales helped him understand how to think like his readers to drive engagement, and encouraged him to take the leap onto new channels earlier this year. Seeing other entrepreneurs go through cycles of struggle and success with their passion projects encouraged him to keep grinding on his.
As Pop-Corn Heist continues to expand, Jake and Nick plan to start podcasting, to revive the conversational aspect of their radio show. To celebrate their first anniversary, they’ll be releasing their first podcast later this week! In the meantime, you can read more about Pop-Corn Heist by visiting their website. Join the conversation by finding them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate
Since our beginning, Bandalier has been dedicated to connecting talented individuals with opportunities in growing companies. Over the past few months, as our team has adapted to working remotely, we’ve had the opportunity to work with team members across the country.
While Bandalier is headquartered in Binghamton’s Southern Tier Incubator, we have team members living from coast to coast, in rural and urban areas. There’s a great example of extremes just from our leadership team. Our CEO, Jeremy Ruch, spends most of his time in and around New York City; our Head of People, Dr. Caroline Millen, lives in rural Pennsylvania surrounded by sheep! Most of our team falls somewhere in between, living in large towns and small cities in upstate New York.
Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to work with folks in further-flung parts of the country! Teddy Boucard, one of the entrepreneurs featured in the introduction to our Side-Hustle Series, lives in Lancaster, PA. It would take a little over 3 hours for him to commute to our main office! We asked Teddy about his experiences as a fully-remote employee with Bandalier, and here’s what he had to say:
“It’s been a pretty good experience so far. The flexibility of the company has been a huge surprise, and very helpful for me, since I’m also running my book store. I was also surprised by how personal Jeremy and Matt have been with me - it speaks volumes when you have the people in charge joining meetings and taking the time to speak to us individually. I also hope to work with more of the Bandalier team in the future!”
In comparison to our most remote rep, Maraina, Teddy lives nearby! Maraina is based out of California, and starts her day when most of our team is heading to lunch. Her shifted schedule gives her an advantage - she has more opportunities to reach folks living on the West Coast. The only issues she runs into is receiving early morning message from her East Coast teammates!
We’re excited to keep working with spectacular reps across the country. If you’re interested in joining our team, we’d love to hear from you!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate
We’re excited to start our Entrepreneurs Series with a feature on Connor Riley! If you’ve been following our social media pages, you probably know a little bit about Connor already . We briefly introduced Two Mulligans in our introduction to this series, but we wanted Connor to tell us more about his passion project.
Connor started selling golf gear almost accidentally while he was trying to build his own set of great golf gear. As he bought full sets and pulled the pieces he wanted, he realized that he could turn a profit by re-selling the others. Here’s how Connor describes his retail process:
“When people are getting rid of gear, they don’t have the patience to sell for what it’s worth. Re-selling to a major chain means that you only get ~25-30% of what you paid. So if I can step in and offer more than major chains, folks earn more on getting rid of their gear, and I can still turn a profit when I re-sell it.”
Two Mulligans’ business has been booming over the last year! As Connor built up his sales skills through his work at Bandalier, his confidence translated into more success for his side-hustle. Plus, he’s constantly expanding his network - from co-workers to LinkedIn connections, everyone knows someone who’s searching for better golf gear. As business keeps growing, Connor and his business partner hope to open a physical location and offer more services for their customers. Their goal is to create the ultimate golf oasis, with indoor simulators, brand new gear, fittings, refurbishing, refinishing, and more!
“Working with Bandalier has been great for my business. I’ve had the opportunity to bounce ideas off of other entrepreneurs, which is especially helpful when it comes to branding. I got advice from our team that helped me decide on the direction I want to take for our website, where to get branding and merch, and a potential physical location.”
If you read our previous blog post about Connor, you’ll remember that he’s always busy! The same is still true. After a day of outreach for Bandalier, Connor processes new orders and ships them; on the weekends, he makes local transactions.
From a few bags of clubs in the corner of his college dorm, Connor has expanded his inventory to a dedicated storage area, with more than 200 clubs, bags, and accessories available. If you’re interested in supporting Connor’s business, you can purchase items directly from Two Mulligans on Mercari, or reach out by emailing TwoMulligansGolf@gmail.com. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
At Bandalier, we believe in helping our team reach their goals - whether those are personal, professional, or anywhere in between! Since we love to work with driven young professionals, many of our team members have a business on the side. For our newest blog series, we’ll be taking the time to interview each of our entrepreneurs. To kick things off, we wanted to introduce each team member and their business. Here’s a selection of the entrepreneurs on our team and what they have to offer!
Colin Meagley, Hustle Bean Coffee | Coffee for Entrepreneurs
“We're like you. We're entrepreneurs. We're "hustlers". We understand what it's like to grind. We understand what it's like to give every day everything you got in hopes of building a better life. That's why we're here. We rely on coffee to keep us going, day in and day out. We've spent many long days, and many all nighters, fueled by this stuff. So we decided to make our own. Nobody was making coffee for us. Nobody was making coffee with the understanding of how influential it can be when starting and running a business. That's where Hustle Bean Coffee comes in. High-quality coffee made to fuel each and every one of your entrepreneurial ventures.”
Connor Riley, Two Mulligans
“I started Two Mulligans four years ago as a one-man operation. Trying to build my own set turned into an entire basement room filled with clubs, bags, and accessories to sell and re-sell. We have everything from full sets, individual drivers, woods, irons, wedges, and putters to apparel, and we also offer club refurbishment/regripping for local customers. Our goal is to transition to a physical location while keeping our online presence strong. We ultimately want to create the best Golf Oasis, with indoor simulators, brand new gear, fittings, refurbishing/refinishing and more!”
Alex Boucard - Alex_Hussles
“I started my channel earlier this year to document my journey to financial independence. I want to create a blueprint for success that other people can follow. If you’re interested in learning about personal finance, business, real estate or you just want to watch someone document their journey to success, then you should definitely subscribe.”
Dylan Smith - Apex Combat Sports
“Apex Combat Sports is Binghamton's premier Mixed Martial Arts academy. Whether you are looking to learn a new skill, improve your health, or compete our programs will provide you with the framework to succeed both on and off the mats. Our talented coaches will deliver expert instruction every class to ensure you understand the movements, then our community will provide you with the support and inspiration to crush your goals!”
Jake Zall - Pop-Corn Heist: Movies, TV, Pop-Culture and More!
“At Pop-Corn Heist we aim to build an interactive community of TV & movie lovers, and bring pop-culture content to life in ways you've never seen before. From articles to rankings to podcasts to social media we cover all the action in every format possible. In turn, we hope to amplify the voices of fans everywhere. Whether it be a hot take or conventional praise of a beloved film, you can find it here. #JoinTheHeist and never miss a scene.”
Jarrod Pine - Vectorapparel
“Vector Apparel is a high-quality athletic apparel company. We are a brand new startup business and an avid supporter of small businesses. We are headquartered in Long Beach, NY but ship throughout the US. Our apparel company provides you with clothing that enables you to push your limits and look good doing it. We can design and produce apparel for company functions, businesses, schools, and any other organization as needed.”
Teddy Boucard - Read Rose Books
“Read Rose Books houses a diverse collection of used, vintage, and first editions books. The name Read Rose Books was chosen in honor of Lancaster, the Red Rose city, and for all of the books that will be read. There is a book for everyone from Russian literature to poetry to historic fiction. We are always happy to lend a hand and help you find your next great read. Local artists are a prominent feature at the store. From the moment you walk in you will be able to see the large acrylic paintings of Josh Manny and clay earrings/ watercolors from Morgan Popson. Also included in the store is a selection of fair trade items handmade in Peru.”
Zach Keck - ZAG Labs’ Edge Spray
“Edge started as a passion project to tackle a serious problem for indoor athletes - traction. After seeing basketball players lick their hands and wipe their shoe soles to get more grip on the court, we spent the last 2 years in the lab perfecting a safe, more effective alternative. Edge dries in seconds, softening rubber shoe soles and drastically increasing friction for the rest of the game. The goal is to fully launch Edge when COVID allows for indoor sports to resume (Hopefully Q1 2021) and then focus on our next product line. With Edge, just #SprayToPlay.”
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
One feature of Bandalier’s kaizen culture is that our team members are constantly looking for little tweaks that can make them more efficient.
Each week, every Bandalier team member - including folks on our outsourced inside sales teams and our operations teams - is asked to come up with one test or ‘kaizen’ that will help them generate more results from a fixed number of hours. At the end of the week, we review as a team and discuss some of the learnings from the different tests that were run.
One recent kaizen initiative that has proved especially effective is the use of the ‘pomodoro technique’ to structure our outreach. Developed by a university student in the late 1980’s, the technique calls for users to structure activities (for instance, making calls or completing a presentation) in uninterrupted 25 minute blocks. When the 25 minutes are up, a five minute break can be taken before another 25 minute ‘pomodoro’ starts. After four pomodoro cycles like this, a longer break (15 - 30 minutes) is taken before the set restarts.
Our teams have found this approach to be hugely effective in eliminating distractions and improving activities levels. By turning off e-mail, Slack, texts, and other peripherals and focusing exclusively on one activity, our teams are able to devote their entire attention to the task at hand - whether that’s making outbound calls or preparing for a client meeting. “It seems to be working very well,” reports one Associate Sales Manager in Bandalier’s end of week review forms. Like several others at Bandalier, his team has been experimenting with pomodoro as part of their kaizen initiative over the last few weeks. “I think it could be a huge benefit to a lot of employees here.”
Now that our new leaders have had the chance to settle into their role, we wanted to ask them about their experiences! Over the last few months, each of them has grown into their style of leading a team. We had previously written about their unique personalities, but wanted to give them an opportunity to share their thoughts on leadership directly.
Nick Viviano has been hard at work keeping his team at peak performance. He’s helped them increase their activity level every month since he stepped into his role, and as a result, his team members have been able to keep delivering better results for their clients! Not only that, but he’s been able to build strong bonds with his team members by finding common ground. Popular topics include their experiences on the golf course and recent football games!
Here’s what Nick had to say when we asked about his favorite part of leading a team at Bandalier:
I would say that my favorite part of being on the leadership team is helping my reps become better salespeople, through coaching and training. As well as helping the Client Delivery team manage the client relationship.
Zach Keck has driven his team to find new, creative ways to keep delivering great results. Zach works with a lot of part-time reps, so he’s learned how to keep a flexible calendar! Thanks to his guidance, his team has been able to quickly shift gears to meet their clients’ changing needs.
Since Zach had stepped into an informal leadership role shortly before his official promotion, we asked him what surprises the position had in store for him. He said:
I think the most surprising part of leadership was just how much behind the scenes coordination goes on. I always knew management did a lot of communicating and organization, but it was surprising how much time is spent outside of the day-to-day clients, such as helping coordinate staffing/strategize for other programs.
Lydia Stewart has been coaching her team on new and changing programs! With her guidance, her team has been able to adapt to their clients’ needs with ease and improve results by improving their skill base. Lydia prefers to keep the team’s Zoom meetings short, and often catches up with her team members by trading message over Slack! She’s always quick to reply when her team members need help.
We asked Lydia about her favorite experiences on the leadership team, and here’s what she had to say:
I like being challenged and learning new skills. And it’s exciting to see the results of my effort when things are going well!
Mia Horwath has continued to work hard behind the scenes to make sure that our inside sales reps have the resources that they need to keep reaching for new targets! Whether you have a question about your list of leads or just need help with a new bug that you found, Mia will always step in to help if she can - and if she can’t, she’ll tell you what you can do to fix it yourself.
We asked Mia what the most important thing she had learned since stepping into her role as our Sales Ops Team Lead, and here’s what she had to say:
I would say the most important thing I've learned is how to be flexible. Since I am a full time student and so are most of my team members, it gets a little tricky as we all work different hours and sometimes those hours change on short notice. Being able to be flexible with them, cover for them and communicate has been challenging but something very important I needed to learn as a team lead.
Desirée Deninis has been hard at work training her team for success! She loves to see the entire team succeed, and is always happy to give tips on how you can make it through a tough call - or a tough day. With her reputation for reaching decision-makers, she’s one of the best people to ask for tips on difficult programs, and she’s always happy to help her colleagues.
Desirée is one of the more experienced members of our team, so we asked her what she was surprised to learn in her new role. Here’s her response:
What has surprised me most is the misconception that management is easy. It's perceived as a position that you can finally "rest" in. That is not the case at all if you want your team to be successful. There are tons of moving parts and you cannot just sit back and watch your team pull in results - it's a lot of coaching, training, and constant work and attention that is put into the team. I never believed in the whole "your team's success is your success," as I was always more of a believer that the team's success is a result of the talent and skill of each individual rep. But as a manager, I'm starting to realize that your team's success is your success, as well as a reflection on you, and the work you put in.
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
If you’ve been following our blog, you probably remember our past post about one of our ‘behind the scenes’ leaders, Dr. Caroline Millen. As she wrapped up her doctoral dissertation, she was wrapping up another big project: a major update to our Talent as a Service portal.
We first launched our Talent as a Service offering in late May, primarily featuring profiles of current employees. As we received more applications from highly-qualified candidates, the workload to add them to the portal slowly increased. In the spirit of kaizen, Dr. Millen has been working closely with our sales ops team to make the portal operate more efficiently - both for our candidates and potential clients.
At launch, our Talent as a Service profiles took a lot of time and manual labor to build out. Caroline met with candidates multiple times after the interview process to interview them, record their introductory videos, and help detail their written profiles; after recording, our data team edited the videos before uploading them to the portal.
Now that we have a few months of practice, we’ve streamlined the process so that candidates don’t have to spend so much time on camera. After they finish our interview process, they can choose from one of many prompts and make their own video, on their own time. We’ve also given our candidates more control over their profiles, with options to present unique examples of their experience, as well as the option to feature quotes on their profile that they feel best demonstrate their skill set.
We’ve also improved the experience for clients who are ready to build their outsourced inside sales team. Each candidate’s expertise is clearly outlined, and it’s easy to see their experience without needing to delve into their resume. Once it’s time for the client and candidate to meet, they can schedule time independently, using our new scheduling options!
Our new Talent as a Service update promises even easier access to top talent for clients, and unique opportunities for our candidates. We’re excited to keep growing and to give talent across the country the opportunity to connect with a role that’s perfect for them!
If you’re ready to build a stellar sales team overnight, you can visit our website and schedule a call to learn more about our Talent as a Service offering. If you want to be part of our team and find the perfect role with a growing company, we’d love to hear from you!
Abagael Rudock - Inside Sales Associate at Bandalier
Throughout our history as a company, part-timers and interns have been a huge aspect of our growth and culture here at Bandalier. A vast mix of inside sales associates, sales operations associates, and human resource representatives have the ability to gain quality professional experience - while designing their own part time schedule in order to fit their work around classes or other extracurricular activities. One of the most impressive interns we've had the privilege of employing has been sales operations associate Dylan Davidson.
Dylan was first introduced to Bandalier through Community Options "School To Employment Program" (S.T.E.P.). He began his tenure here as a sales operations intern, and since then has proven to be a significant asset on a number of our client accounts. In addition, he has stepped in on various special projects - including collecting large amounts of campaign data that help our leadership team strategize on a higher level, as well as collaborating with one of our advisors to audit previous account data to make sure it's fit to analyze.
Thought he started on a temporary program through Community Options, Dylan has since been hired directly, and continues to do great work for us on a day to day basis. For more information on how to apply for a part-time role or internship here at Bandalier, go check out our careers page!
James Boedicker - Client Delivery Associate at Bandalier