May 4, 2023
CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — During day two of Channel Partners, channel thought leaders explained how they’ve pivoted and scaled amid a time of flux.
James Anderson, senior news editor at Channel Futures, moderated the keynote on the agent market with members of the Channel Futures Technology Advisor 101. Panelists included:
One of the topics covered by the thought leaders was hiring the right people. Nelan said culture and fit are important when hiring.
“There’s nothing more important than getting the right people in your organization, and having the right culture and fit,” she said. “So it’s a very time-consuming process, but we only hire through referral. We do not ever post on any other medium. So we look for the best of the best. And the guy that I just hired actually has his master’s and he’s been in a salesperson type of role. You need to bring in seasoned people, whether it’s paying them a lot of money up front or in our case we pay residual. So it encourages our people to continue to stay.”
Excellent Time for Hiring
Salvage said it’s an excellent time for hiring because suppliers are getting rid of people.
“Find out who’s moving and who’s shaking, and what suppliers are getting rid of great people because we have seen incredible assets being released,” he said. “The supplier community is doing us a favor because I think what we’re seeing is go fire these people that are incredible folks because we will certainly gobble them up and create more of a strategic brand and a strategic organization.”
Toth said there’s an influx of good people to hire because of all the job cuts.
“You have to leave every conversation saying oh, by the way, if you know someone who’s extraordinary at what they do, but they work for a C-plus or D-plus boss or company, bring them to me,” he said. “I think that has to be a part of what you do every day.”
The environment is complex and customers are looking for outcomes, Nelan said.
“They’re looking for someone to come in and truly understand their organization, and help them solve those business problems, which is one of the reasons why employee retention and employee satisfaction are so key because let’s face it, we’re all in a service industry here,” she said. “We don’t own the products. We’re selling someone else’s products. They could be buying directly from them as well. Why buy from us? Because we create a better experience. And one of the ways that we do that is through having employee longevity.”
Thought Leaders Detail Their Pivots
The panelists also detailed pivots that improved their businesses. Toth said one of his major pivots was moving from unified communications, to contact center and customer experience.
“The second is security,” he said. “That’s a hard one. That is not our background traditionally, so you have to really get out there and learn.”
Salvage said a major pivot for him was selling contact center. Another was understand how to monetize his company’s own
experience and back office.
“That shift for us was eye opening because it certainly creates additional revenue, which again, is recurring revenue,” he said.
Nelan said her pivot was increasing her company’s next-generation services revenue.
“Now, 72% of everything sold is next-gen services for us,” she said.
Ludwig said his company’s pivot was about how clients use technologies to drive revenue.
“We have all these tools and resources to help our clients use technology as a profit center,” he said. “And if you look at particularly customer experience, they’re using technology as a profit center. They’re using technology to optimize, and more effectively and more efficiently bring their products to market and serve their clients.”
Thought Leaders Share Advice for Newer TAs
As for advice for newer TAs, Ludwig said don’t chase SPIFFs because SPIFFs go away.
“Chase what you’re passionate about,” he said. “Chase what your clients are passionate about and chase what you feel fulfilled talking about, and that will come out to your clients.”
Salvage said focus your time on slightly more expensive technologies you may feel your customers are ready for.
“They’re ready to consume that,” he said. “They’re ready to pay that money to get their services and solutions.”
Toth said go find a subset of things you love and “just go super deep on it and have conversations like no one else can.”
“Just be the most amazing infrastructure guy or understand a vertical really, really well,” he said. “So if you’ve got a specific passion, don’t try to be everything to everybody. Just go super deep on maybe one or two things.”
Nelan said it’s important to find people in the industry who can help.
“There’s a lot of people out here who are very caring and willing to share their experiences,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who know a lot in this community. This is a very giving community and I think there’s ways that we can help each other.”
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