You need to change your thinking and be bold.

Lynn Haber

August 5, 2020

6 Min Read
Business Problem Solving

**Editor’s Note: This session preview originally posted ahead of the scheduled Channel Partners Conference & Expo in March. After the world’s largest channel event was postponed due to COVID-19, we repurposed this session for Channel Partners Virtual, Sept. 8-10. Eclipse Telecom’s Dave Dyson will present this program, now dubbed “Harnessing the Power of Your Relationships in the COVID Era and Beyond,” Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 12:10 p.m. ET.**

If you want to be a part of the rising tide among channel partners and learn how to sell more to your existing customer base in today’s market, you probably need to change your thinking and be bold.

The truth of the matter is that a new field of competitors has come into your backyard and they’re not stuck in the siloed selling of the past. At the same time, customers have changed, too, and if they’ve trusted you for your IT or telecom expertise, they’re probably eager to hear more about how you can help run their business more efficiently with additional technology. But how do you do that? And particularly now in a COVID-19 world?


Eclipse Telecom’s Dave Dyson

During his presentation at Channel Partners Virtual, Dave Dyson, CEO at Eclipse Telecom, is going to walk attendees through the upsell process and lay out a plan to turn your biggest fans into your growth engine.

In January, Channel Partners got to talk to Dyson about his upcoming presentation to provide some insight on what attendees can expect to learn.

Channel Partners: Upselling and cross-selling are topics that have been around for a long time. Why do partners need to hear about again?

Dave Dyson: Because old habits die hard. A lot us came up in the space developing expertise in one silo or one area. I’ll wind this back 10 or 15 years — the PBX guy sold the PBX, the telco channel partner sold the circuits, the WAN, the internet, the PRI, the POTS lines, etc. The data hardware VAR sold the servers, the Cisco routers and switches, the security guy sold the security. What’s happened over the years is that the walls between those silos started to break down.

Voice became an application on the data network. You can’t talk about the data network anymore without talking about security – or for that matter, you can’t talk about anything without talking about security. So as the walls started to come down, the client was starting to think about changing their buying patterns, and not “how do I buy a product from a product specialist in their silo but who is good enough to help me navigate how to put together all of these puzzle pieces to make all my stuff work and provide a great end user experience?”

Eclipse Telecom’s Dave Dyson is one of dozens of industry speakers who will “take the stage” at Channel Partners Virtual. Our online trade show is Sept. 8-10. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind event. Register now!

CF: And, the channel partner?

DD: They’re still saying, “Well, I know how to sell PBXes” or “I know how to sell Cisco stuff “and I want to keep doing that because I’ve made a living for 20 years. The marketplace is forcing the change, slowly but surely.

That siloed selling mentality is very dyed in the wool and a lot of folks have had trouble making the pivot from how to staff your team to you compensate your team. How do you go from selling gross margin type products like hardware to subscription-based, monthly recurring revenue style products? How do you build your business cash flow doing that, and so on?

We all get stuck in our comfort zone of, “I know the things I know and I’m really good at the things I know. I want to keep making money the way I’ve always made it,” but unfortunately, the …

… technology business doesn’t work that way.

CF: How does the technology business work, then?

DD: The buying dynamics have changed pretty extraordinarily over the past 10 years with this huge acceleration over the past couple of years. One of terms we use is “sherpa,” someone to guide [customers] through the complexity of getting all of this stuff to work together. It all lives in the category of technology. Customers don’t want to talk to specialists anymore – with some exceptions, like around security – but nobody cares anymore if you’re a PBX specialist because it’s just an application to most enterprises.

Don’t miss “Debate 2020: Is Convergence Just Hype or the Future of Channel?” on the keynote stage at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 9-12. Register now!

CF: Let’s get back to upsell and cross-sell.

DD: The new way of thinking about it is, “I’m selling you a WAN; I should probably be selling layers of security on top of that WAN because I know you need it. And, if I’m putting in SD-WAN, I should be talking to you about some of the things that SD-WAN enables such as unified communications and contact center in the cloud.” We’re always looking for that next adjacency, and that doesn’t have anything to do with the size of the customer; in fact, if you go to the MSP model, we’re going to give you everything for your 50 employees; they’ve always been very good about thinking about the whole picture of snapping all the puzzle pieces together and getting a business functioning. So, start thinking more like an MSP.

CF: What can attendees expect to learn at your presentation?

DD: You can make 100 phone calls to get one appointment or you can call John, who you’ve been doing business with for seven years and say, “Can I come in and talk to you about this interesting thing that I just learned about?” One of those meetings is a lot easier to get.

I’m not going to talk about products or the next thing partners should be selling because those should be choices based on the business you have, and you’ve done in the past. I’m coming in as a peer who has built a business based on customer retention, growth of those customers to share my best practices. So, how you, if you’re willing, can also get into larger enterprises because that is available to us now and has opened to the channel in the last couple of years, and how, regardless of your customer base, big or small, how you can be growing your top and bottom line by better serving your customer and solving more problems for them.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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