It’s Mindshare season at Intelisys, which means months of amazing events around the country that are loaded with great content and superb networking opportunities … They can also be entirely overwhelming. With that in mind, we’ve put together a few helpful tips to make your Mindshare experience an impactful one:
1. Seek out other top performing peers and pick their brains. One of the most valuable aspects of these Mindshare events is the chance to network with your peers and communicate with your competitors. You’ll typically find other top performers in this community are more than willing to share best practices, where they’re getting traction, what Suppliers are performing really well, and which ones to be cautious about – invaluable information that can help accelerate your business.
2. Do some homework on the participating Suppliers and prioritize the ones you want to go deeper with. There may be anywhere from 15 to 35 Suppliers in attendance, and not all of them will be a perfect fit for you. But some could be complete game-changers for your business. Study up and budget your time carefully to make sure you’ve allowed enough time for the most important conversations.
3. Set some goals for the day. Here are some examples:
- I want to walk away with one new Supplier relationship that can accelerate my growth.
- I want to connect with at least three other Sales Partners that will engage with me after the show to share best practices.
- I want to pick up at least three new talking points or sales strategies that I can start using with my customers immediately.
4. Take notes. Unless you have a photographic memory, be prepared to take notes. There will be a ton of information coming at you at breakneck speed. I type faster than I write. Evernote is my preferred tool for note taking, as it’s a great app on the iPad or iPhone and is cloud-based and can sync to anything.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more you engage, the more you’ll get out of these events.
Time and time again we’ve seen these Mindshares turn into pivotal events for our Sales Partners – that moment in time when they break through to the next level. That’s my hope for you, that you’ll achieve the next level in the growth of your business.
Andrew Pryfogle, Intelysis’ Senior VP, Cloud Transformation, was interviewed at Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, NV, in March 2015. Watch him answer how to have the conversations necessary to uncover opportunities and close big deals in the Cloud space. Follow the link to watch the video or read the full transcript below.
Craig Galbraith: Hi everyone, Craig Galbraith here at the Spring 2015 Channel Partners Conference and Expo. Our own Kelly Teal and I had a chance to sit down with some industry leaders to talk about the big issues that you’re talking about, including Cloud, mobility, security, and much more.
Kelly Teal: Right now, I am with Intelisys’ Andrew Pryfogle. Thank you for being here, Andrew.
Andrew Pryfogle: You bet, glad to be here.
Kelly Teal: Absolutely. So tell me, Intelisys just released the second track of its Cloud Services University certification program.
Andrew Pryfogle: Yeah.
Kelly Teal: What’s the most important thing about this course that you want partners to know?
Andrew Pryfogle: The university we’ve been investing a lot of time and energy in … We believe this whole shift to an as-a-Service model requires a lot of education; frankly, on both the agent’s side and the IT solution provider’s side. Both channels trying to figure out how they converge around Cloud to re-tool their businesses – there’s an enormous opportunity there.
That’s what this University’s all about. It’s about not just teaching the bits and bytes of Cloud, the engineering side of it, although that’s important and there’s a lot of that in there. It’s mostly about how do you sell this stuff, how do you have the conversation, how do you ask the right questions, how do you uncover opportunities? So our first certification track that we launched on February 11th was the Telecom Solutions Professional Certification. We’ve had three hundred and fifty or so people already register for that, sales partners in our communities and other communities; it’s open to the entire industry. That’s been very, very well received.
We then just finished production on our second certification track, the Cloud Computing Solutions Professional. That goes even deeper into Cloud. If the first one gives you the introduction to Telecom, gives you the history of Telecom, the introduction to wide-area networking, into Data Center and Cloud and things like that—kind of a cursory level—this next certification track takes you even deeper, into things like virtual desktop and virtualization technologies, and public versus private versus hybrid. All the really important items on Cloud that you need to be versed in, but most importantly driven by. How do you have the conversation to uncover opportunities and close big deals on the Cloud?
Kelly Teal: In terms of Intelisys’ channel program for 2015, what are some things you have in store for partners?
Andrew Pryfogle: The next big thing for us is, how do we continue to drive growth and help our partners grow their businesses? The announcement yesterday that we made that we’re so, so jazzed about is "Drive for 5!" Literally, we set a goal out in roughly 2008 that said to our partner community, "If you hit a million dollars in billing, you’re going to achieve a Platinum-level status with Intelisys." It was a big, audacious goal. Some people didn’t think it was achievable in monthly billings, with a single master agent like us. Well, one partner hit it. In 2011, Tricia Ward and Brian Newman. They were the first to achieve it and since then, we’ve had five additional partners hit there. Six total partners that have gotten to this goal, which was, for some people, unreachable.
The next big deal is the first sales partner that builds their billing base to $5 million a month in recurring revenue, net new billing each month. Five million dollars? We’re going to write a million dollar check to that partner. A million dollar check. That’s unheard of, in our business. It’s something that we’ve been thinking a lot about. What fires us up as a business is how do we get the sales partner community, the best of the best, the top performers in this community, how do we get them really motivated to take their business to the next level? It’s humbling for us to be able to be a part of that. It’s very, very exciting.
Kelly Teal: Last question. What’s one key piece of advice you think partners should act on in 2015?
Andrew Pryfogle: Yeah. For me, it’s not being afraid to have the conversations with your customers. The partners in our community that are really succeeding right now in Cloud, they’re stepping out kind of right through the face of fear and going in and asking the questions that they may not even know the answers to themselves. Digging into areas that they may not be super knowledgeable in yet. But with the goal that, "I’m just trying to uncover opportunities," and trusting that we’ve got their back. Partners that aren’t afraid to start having those conversations are winning really, really big right now. That would be my encouragement for the rest of the channel. If you’ve been nervous about going into this new area of Cloud communications and Cloud computing and Cloud infrastructure because you don’t feel like you’re expert in it, don’t worry. Don’t let that stop you. Step through that and have those conversations, it’ll pay off big time for you.
Kelly Teal: Excellent. Andrew, thanks for being here.
Andrew Pryfogle: You’re welcome. Thank you.
Kelly Teal: Absolutely.
Intelisys Cloud Services University Launches Cloud Sales Certification Program
The Only Cloud Certification Program Built Exclusively for Channel Sales Professionals
Petaluma, CA (February 18, 2015) – Intelisys Communications, Inc., the nation’s leading Technology Services Distributor, today announced the launch of their new Intelisys Cloud Services University website that offers Telecom Agents, IT Solution Providers, MSPs and VARs multiple certification tracks and Cloud sales training. The certification program is complimentary for a limited time and attendees will have no obligation to become an Intelisys Sales Partner. These exciting programs are just one of the differentiators Intelisys has continued to offer.
Intelisys Cloud Services University is the only online education center built exclusively for Channel sales professionals. The new University is significant for everyone in the Channel, because in 2014, 89% of Intelisys Sales Partner Cloud wins came from those who participated in the Intelisys Cloud Services University. The evidence is clear: Cloud education leads to more sales.
Intelisys is partnering with over 40 experts from the nation’s leading Cloud Suppliers to offer certifications for 6 tracks:
- Telecom Solutions Professional
- Advanced Data Networking Solutions Professional
- UCaaS Solutions Professional
- Network and Data Security Professional
- Cloud Computing Solutions Professional
- Advanced IT Management Professional
The Telecom Sales Professional Certification is now live, and will be followed by the Cloud Computing Sales Professional Certification launching March 16, 2015.
“The epic shift to the Cloud is growing exponentially, and as more professionals enter the arena, it’s becoming more challenging for end users to differentiate the good Sales Partners from the great ones,” said Intelisys’ President Jay Bradley. “These certification tracks allow those Sales Partners who put in the time to learn best practices to truly stand out from their competition and subsequently sell more Cloud services.”
Intelisys Cloud Services University is headed by Andrew Pryfogle, Senior Vice President of Cloud Transformation at Intelisys. Pryfogle is an early pioneer in Cloud technology adoption and a thought-leader in the industry.
“Intelisys Cloud Services University 2014 was a huge success, and we recognized the demand to expand it,” said Pryfogle. “This certification program will empower everyone in the Channel committed to learning best practices to benefit. We’re in a window now where we’re not charging for the certifications because we know that a win for one company in the Channel, is really a win for everyone…rising tides raise all ships.”
Intelisys’ final CLOUD LIVE! for 2014 is coming this Thursday. Have you signed up yet?
Did you know that 76% of Intelisys’ cloud wins over the last two years have come from Cloud Services University (CSU) attendees? They’ve learned how to stand out from the sea of sameness. If you want to rise above the masses like they did, CLOUD LIVE! is for you.
Join us on November 20, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST, to find out how you can get into the recurring revenue game and become a top performer. Sign up and secure your spot here.
Panel 1 – The Cloud Thinktank
Join the conversation with four of the Smartest Guys in the Cloud as they discuss game-changing insights that will help you win more deals. In a rapidly evolving landscape, what are the latest developments and trends that your customers are keyed in on? What is moving Cloud off the back-burner and onto the list of strategic urgencies? Be prepared to walk away with a few pearls that will take your customer conversations to a whole new level, from polite niceties to impactful, revenue-generating engagements.
Panel 2 – Winning by Solving Problems
Sales Partners who are consistently winning in the cloud are realizing their strength is in solving problems. Being able to unearth the problem and then effectively quantifying the impact on the business if the problem is solved is key. In this panel we will be presenting several real-life business problems to our expert panelists who will then speak to solutions on the fly that can helps us solve these problems and win deals. (note to suppliers: final problems will be tailored to the strengths of the panelists. Feedback welcome.)
Panel 3 – Cloud, Shock & Awe
The book “The Challenger Sale” suggests giving customers what they ask for is a mistake. Simply providing services they feel they need is short-sighted and doesn’t separate sales people from the masses. The theory is that top performers actually challenge the thinking of customers. They bring compelling thinking and innovation that forces decision makers to look at problems and opportunities differently. In disrupting their thinking, top performers become the go-to experts and separate themselves from the sea of sameness. Hear how you can leverage Cloud to disrupt current thinking and challenge your decision makers to move in new directions. Find out how to present new perspectives that can shock & awe customers into action.
Panel 4 – Real Cloud Wins
Moving beyond theory and into practice, we will be hearing detailed case studies of real cloud wins. Each win will feature the supplier as well as the participating sales partner telling the real life story. The case study will be pre-recorded and produced at the Intelisys studio in Petaluma and will require participants to travel to Petaluma for studio work. The final case study will be aired live during CLOUD LIVE! and will be followed up by several minutes of live recap by Andrew Pryfogle. Suppliers & sales partners participating in this segment will not be required to be in Petaluma on 11/20.
Things are finally wrapped up from Channel Connect and so now we’re taking the time to sit down and catch up on all the action from last week’s event.
“When I speak with principals and every word is ‘I, I, I’ I know that’s a company headed in the wrong direction."
Mache stressed the importance of building a strong, reliable team. He also advised managers to take the emotion out of the equation. The focus needs to be in building the best team possible, keeping that team running at optimal level, and making sure they know you appreciate what they’re doing.
USA Today recently published research showing that 43% of companies have had a data breach.
It’s an interesting article. Unfortunately, the only actual "reason" mentioned in here is human capital. Front door attacks are designed to fool end users into giving away the keys to the kingdom. And even more unfortunate, is that there is little that we can do on the network security side to ensure that people aren’t fooled.
Many people try to migrate to the cloud rather than start fresh there, which perpetuates many of the hidden dangers of their previous architecture. That’s certainly one thing to leverage. But if you look at this article, it accounts for at most 20% of the breaches. The remainder are employee negligence… Could they have put IT department negligence in here? Possibly, but it doesn’t gel with the point of the rest of the article.
I think the second thing to think about is that resources used in the cloud are easily provisioned, easily torn down and don’t reside on local equipment, so, at the very least, it eliminates or reduces the human element of leaving a laptop behind, physical security of a data center, not locking a local desktop, etc. This is all also happening in an era where BYOD is becoming the norm. If someone doesn’t have a password on their iPad, they receive an email with customer information, and someone picks it up at Starbucks, is the company to blame? Or the employee? Or both? Which leads to Mobile Device Management…
MDM is going to start to drive the discussion in the next few years. Again, you can’t stop people from being purposefully negligent, but you can prevent them from being careless. No password on your iPad, no access to corporate data. Remove your password, wipe all corporate content or the whole device. You also have to consider what applications the business allows for use on these devices for IM, social media, etc., which are now increasingly becoming targets for phishing attacks.
Another topic that has been around forever is DLP (Data Leak Protection). People really haven’t understood what it is and how to use it, but with these numbers swinging so dramatically towards people as the cause of breaches, companies with compliance concerns will be forced to consider a stance on DLP. There are simple solutions that can be added to email servers and other data "exit" points that are not difficult, and can live in the cloud.
Most importantly, it’s education. Companies are just not taking the people element seriously enough. Companies with compliance risk will need to have cyber education programs for employees to identify and understand how hackers are trying to leverage them as a security breach. I fully expect that governance around corporate education may find its way into HIPAA and PCI regulations in the next few years.
How can we leverage all of this? We have to deal with these kinds of issues every day. And while we all may not have easy to buy services yet for all of these items (although several will be released this quarter), we’re watching and are ahead of where our customers can be. That makes Evolve IP, and our partners, the kind of trusted advisor that customers should lean on for advice in navigating their security concerns.
Guest blog contributor Scott Kinka is the Chief Technology Office of Evolve IP.
USA Today recently published research showing that 43% of companies have had a data breach.
My first response is really the question "Why"? We have two converging realities that help create a monster number like that. We are in an era of corporate rebuilding. Companies reduced IT staff over the last five years significantly, equipment was not replaced or not maintained (in part because the smartest people weren’t there to do it) and best practices have changed/shifted and companies have not kept up. It’s the "don’t fix something that’s not broken" mentality.
This is dumb when it comes to IT because best practices change more rapidly than the technology itself. The thought here is that there is exposure from simply the lack of attention to one’s own infrastructure and the methods and processes that are in place. Additionally, hackers worldwide have gotten more organized, smarter, and have built toolsets that now have a high level of maturity to help find breach points and specific targets.
In the spirit of the best offense is a great defense: A move to cloud-based services enables customers to get a "redo". The entire environment is greenfield, no more patching or updating configurations that go back ten years, and the people that build the system are so long gone that the "rigs" that were put in place to make it work years ago just sit there. Companies don’t overhaul their existing network and IT infrastructure because they really can’t; time, money, downtime, expertise. It’s just won’t get done.
The way we leverage this data to our partners is to make it clear that a complete rebuild of the entire IT infrastructure can only be done in parallel. And a complete rebuild is the only way to be sure that you have best practices. Cloud based technology eliminates many of the above barriers. Arguably, it is possible to rebuild in-house but is cost prohibitive and just won’t be a priority with an in-house IT staff that is most interested in protecting their seat at the grown up table.
Guest blog contributor Neely Loring is President and COO of Matrix-IBS.
There’s plenty to look forward to this year at the 2014 Channel Connect event! We’ll be at the luxurious Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, California from Wednesday, October 8 to Friday, October 10. Come join us for networking, learning and fun!
There is still time to register, so sign up today and come be with the best of the best in the industry!
Join us for the first day of our Education Tracks. You will hear from Technology Leaders, Sales Partners, and Supplier Partners. Learn how the Cloud is changing everything, and so much more.
You don’t want to miss out on our new feature this year; the “Solution Design Throwdown”. Come see us put our suppliers through their paces in this live application of solution design on the fly. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite supplier Quickfire. Who will take home the Sparky Award for Channel Connect 2014?
The second day of our Education Tracks includes two more Solution Design Throwdowns, more Quickfires, a Keynote presentation from Chuck Mache, more Supplier Panels, a Channel Manager panel and our ever popular Channel Chief Panel.
Following the Education Tracks, join us for the Supplier Dash. You may pre-schedule 10-minute meetings with our Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Suppliers of your choosing. The end of the day will bring you the anxiously anticipated Awards Dinner, recognizing Intelisys Top Producers. Wrap the night up with our late night party with the band Tainted Love.
Choose from spa services, winery excursions, Napa Valley bike tour, the golf tournament at Eagle Vine golf course, and more. After your fun day concludes, relax and enjoy a casual dining experience, featuring Andrew Pryfogle’s Tri-Tip Trolley! Rock out to the tunes of Michael Toast!
There’s so much to look forward in just a couple weeks and we can’t wait to see you all very soon! Register today!