AWS Training and Certification Blog

Hostersi: training its sales team for cloud success

Hostersi, one of Poland’s leading IT solutions companies, has been an AWS Partner for more than a decade. More than 60% of its diverse slate of customers — including everything from banks to advertising agencies to the Polish public sector — are based on AWS. In 2018 Hostersi discovered an important principle: If you want to sell cloud, make sure your sales team truly understands it, even if they are not in a directly technical role.

“Starting at the first interview, we tell every potential sales hire that if they work for us, they will need to get at least one AWS Certification,” says Hubert Majchrzak, Head of Sales for Hostersi. “Most of our salespeople don’t have any technical background when they come in. But, if they want to be truly effective, they need to be fully conversant with the products and services we offer, as well as the needs of the customer.” The strategy has proved remarkably effective, with sales increasing significantly every year since this criterion was implemented, including 40% sales growth between H1 of 2022 and H1 of 2023.

Majchrzak believes that ongoing training and AWS Certification are crucial to Hostersi’s continued growth. “We are 100% focused on our customers and their needs, and our salespeople are on the front lines of that effort,” says Majchrzak. “If we want to be maximally efficient, every single one of them needs to be able to have an intelligent conversation about how to solve customer problems using AWS.”

From shop manager to cloud sales pro: Dorota’s story

Photo of Dorota Giemza

Dorota Giemza

Dorota Giemza began working in Hostersi’s sales department in 2019, with zero technical background. “I worked as a shop manager
in a children’s goods store after I graduated,” she says. “When I started at Hostersi, I was intimidated by the idea of talking in-depth to valuable clients about their needs and our offerings. Completing AWS Partner Training and achieving AWS Certification were crucial to me becoming a successful salesperson here.”

“I used AWS Skill Builder and AWS Builder Labs to study for the certification exam,” says Giemza. “AWS Partner: AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials is an ideal course for people who don’t directly build infrastructure but need to understand it. It includes real-world examples of client stories that helped me grasp the powerful ways we can help companies reach their business goals using AWS. Now, on my initial calls with potential clients, I can explain how different AWS services work and what their benefits are without needing an engineer present. I’m usually the first point of contact for customers, and now, even our first meeting can be significant and productive. Not needing to refer every question to our technical staff is a huge head start on every potential deal.”

Navigating the cloud sales highway: Karolina’s journey

Photo of Karolina Kolek

Karolina Kolek

Karolina Kolek, another Hostersi account manager, began her career in the automotive industry, selling parts for heavy machinery and trucks before committing to a career in IT in 2020. “I probably wouldn’t have thought to get AWS Certified if Hostersi hadn’t required it, but I’m very glad I did,” she says. “With technical topics, it’s easy to be unaware of the things you don’t know, which can undermine your credibility. Often, our clients aren’t technical enough to know what they might need in terms of cloud services, but they know what their business goals are. Our role as an AWS Partner is to offer the optimal technical solution tailored to their business needs. Even though I don’t implement the solutions directly, knowing how they work lets me explain technical information in simple language because I also understand the needs from the business side. Together, it’s a magical combination. The knowledge I received from the AWS Partner Certification Readiness program helps me brainstorm potential solutions with clients right off the bat. It’s sped up my time from the first call to a deal by around 60%.”

Kolek also valued the camaraderie that the training brought. “I took a two-day AWS Partner: Sales Essentials Classroom course in Polish,” she says. It was a wonderful opportunity to interact with my sales peers, since we had a combination of teamwork sessions, Q&As, and integration activities in addition to the lectures.”

“Preparing for the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam requires a good understanding of AWS services and concepts,” says Kolek. “It’s a process that helped me learn how to apply AWS Cloud in real-world scenarios. It made me confident in conversations with customers and is a wonderful foundation for pursuing higher-level AWS Certifications.”

More than just certification

“The most crucial and most risky step of learning anything is when you acquire a little bit of knowledge,” says Majchrzak. “You feel like you know a lot, but it’s hard to know what you don’t know. The AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam preparation course forces you to combine all your knowledge and put it into action, which is when you find out what you really know and what you only think you know. You immediately understand where your gaps are and what things you need to work on. Knowing that this course is available allows me to not worry about technical aptitude when hiring, and focus purely on how motivated someone is and how much they care about the customer.”

The journey doesn’t end with AWS Certification, though. “We regularly attend online and offline courses to refresh our knowledge and learn new things,” says Majchrzak. “Cloud is always changing, always developing new capabilities, and it’s important for us to stay on the cutting edge. Over the last five years, our AWS sales pipeline has expanded by over tenfold, and we are committed to further growth through skill enhancement.”

Group photo of Karolina, Hubert, and Dorota with Hostersi logo

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AWS Partners report revenue stream improvements and operational efficiencies attributable to training. The Forrester Consulting Total Economic Impact™ study commissioned by AWS finds a 229% return on investment over a three-year span, including a 17% increase in win rate, a 7% increase in average deal size, and an additional 5% in revenue due to enhanced ability to create new offerings.

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