IT Nation Blog
Hey there IT Nation! Are you getting excited for the year's biggest and best channel event? You know we are! In fact, we're already counting down the days to IT Nation 2013...(154 to be exact).
We've got some pretty exciting things planned for you this year and we'll start revealing some of the surprises one-by-one, right here on this blog. Be sure and check back often for IT Nation updates. We're getting the ball rolling with a BIG contest (Yep - you can win FREE REGISTRATION)!
Welcome to the first official IT Nation 2013 Contest: Guess the Keynote Speaker
Last week I was in Boston for the 2013 ASCII Success Summit, wearing my blue pants and proudly representing ModernOffice Suite. It was a great show with tons of networking opportunities and of course lots of collaboration. I had the chance to chat with various ASCII members and learn more about their businesses.
During the welcome reception a couple of members and I were trying to come up with ideas on how an IT business can tackle the market and improve their ‘stickiness.' We bounced a couple of ideas around. Eventually we came up with some great suggestions and then I left them with some food for thought: What would you suggest to small IT businesses so they can compete on a larger scale?
Here is what I came up with:
1. Stay Fresh
Be ready to answer this question: Who are your clients? Dedicate time to understand what it is your clients are after and how you can provide it for them. Just like in a relationship, make them love you for life. Be committed to provide them with fresh content and ideas. Keep in mind that if you don’t spice it up then they may dump you for someone who will.
2. Get a handle on your marketing efforts
Where are you spending your time? Identify which markets provide you with bigger profits. Once you have identified this go after that market. Stick to what people are responding to. Don’t be afraid to test out new horizons which may lead you to what you’ve been looking for. This goes along with Jim Collins’ approach: Fire bullets then cannonballs. Test out your ideas with small commitments and once you find a method that works. Then go after it with the big guns.
How can our partners overcome daily sales challenges and become more successful? I hit the road last week to attend Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit representing the ModernOffice Suite.Cloud was all the buzz among attendees and the common theme throughout breakout sessions. I was lucky enough to hear Michael Baer of FranklinCovey give a riveting talk on, “The Art of Closing: A Primer on Advocating Relevant and Compelling Cloud Solutions.” Michael suggested one of the many challenges solution providers face is the fact that it’s difficult to create a relevant, compelling message. I sat back and thought about what this challenge means for our partners. Michael believes these are the top four reasons why a client chooses a solution provider, in order of importance:
- The relationship and compatibility of the sales team and client.
- Knowledge of the industry.
- Chemistry within your sales team.
- Technical and Industry Expertise.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Robin Robins IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp representing the newly introduced, ModernOffice Suite . The Boot Camp was three grueling days, jam-packed with valuable educational sessions, combined with vendor presentations and guest speakers. And let’s not forget the awesome conversations centered around the ModernOffice Suite.
The highlight of the event for me? Having the opportunity to hear Mike Ditka speak. Yep, THAT Mike Ditka (da Bears!). This was someone on the agenda that I did not expect to see at an IT event but as it turns out the lessons learned in playing and coaching football are very applicable to the IT industry. I listened to the living legend share his experiences and ultimately give the answers to what it takes to win.
It was a whirlwind trip visiting the ‘windy city’ for 2 days at the CompTIA AMM with session after session filled with discussion about the latest and greatest approaches to today’s technology challenges.
One of the biggest topics of conversation was the best approach to selling cloud services. The focus of discussion was centered on ensuring service attach rate – meaning, making sure you’re wrapping recurring and profitable service offerings with your solutions that are delivered via cloud. Cloud services, as we know, can be a high volume/low margin play. Two different pricing models were debated: charge a per user/per month basis for services or charge a company/month basis (which gives room for price adjustment depending on the number of devices within that company.) The idea was broken down further to say that you shouldn’t worry that you’re only making $1/user on Exchange, for example, provide your customers with Exchange and make sure you’re charging them for the support of that service.
No man is an island. Just like human beings do not thrive when isolated from others, the same could be said about companies and namely technology companies. ConnectWise continually pursues integration and partnerships with a wide variety of technology companies with one goal in mind: creating success for our partners.
This may be a bold statement, but I would assert that integrations will touch some part of a partner's business at some time. Whether it's with your accounting system or an RMM solution, integration is no longer a luxury, but a critical part of ensuring the viability and success of your business. Here are three benefits to integration:
By popular response: Partner Collaboration!
Do you know when I get my best ideas… my biggest A-HA moments? It is when I’m on the road chatting with MyOffice partners. ConnectWise, LabTech, Quosal partners come up with some pretty rad ideas about how to run an IT business and are always quick to share their best practices with me, and with each other. We met with over 1500 partners at our Q1 workshops and user groups, all bringing their own unique perspective and creativity to business solutions and concerns. Here are some of the biggest takeaways learned this quarter:
- “The only thing I have is time.” Partners are looking for simple integrations, a single point of contact from vendor partners and increased automation between Professional Services Automation (PSA) platform, Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) platform and Quoting platforms.
- Trending topics: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) per user pricing and Office 365.
- There is still confusion over the cloud. What is it? WHERE is it? End users are still “cloudy” on the meaning, so a helpful tip for explaining it is to use the word "solution" instead of cloud.
- Service boards are used for more than just service tickets! We heard a lot about HR boards, used to onboard, hire, recruit and terminate employees.
- The best part of our quarterly events: networking and collaborating with peers. Getting out and sharing leads to innovation, innovation leads to growth.
Don’t just take it from me! Hear it from our partners!