Excruciating Pain & Extraordinary People

2:15 a.m. PDT, Wednesday morning, it started.  Sharp, searing pain on the lower right side of my abdomen…flipped on like a switch.  This was not a foreign pain to me.  I had been dragged through this field of broken glass twice before over the past 5 years.  I knew what had just started and knew what I was in for.

“Susie, wake up, time to get me to the hospital.  I’m passing a kidney stone.”

We called ahead to the emergency room to get them ready.  “No fussing around.  Have the good stuff ready when I get there.”

I was scheduled to fly to Orange County at 8:00 a.m. to speak to 70 of our sales partners and to run another hugely impactful Intelisys Mindshare event.  As they began pumping narcotics into my arm, I knew I was not going to make it…someone was going to have stand in that gap.

It’s at times of crisis when the true character and talent of extraordinary people really shines.  This was one of those times.  Jay Bradley, Mike McKenney, Dana Topping, Chuck Mache.  It’s amazing what a deep bench of gifted leaders we have at Intelisys.  They all stepped in and ran a world-class event.  Sure, I’m guessing they made lots of jokes about me being stoned, but truth is always funny…  I was completely wasted while they were helping our partners build their businesses. Andrew in Hospital

This experience reminds me of a really important business lesson.

  • Is there something you do in your company that you’ve felt only you can do?
  • Are you sure there aren’t others that could step up if asked?
  • How deep is your bench?
  • How often do you test the capabilities of that bench?

Today I am grateful for so many things.  I’m grateful to be surrounded by extraordinary people who collectively make up the absolute best leadership team in the channel…truly awe-inspiring to be a part of this.  I’m grateful that when my body said "no", our team said "yes" and they hit it out of the park.  And lastly, I’m grateful this little fella passed on through and I can get back to doing my part.  And drugs…  I’m grateful for those, too. Pet Rock Good selling.

A Glimpse Into the Cloud

To be more accurate, this is a glimpse into the conversation on Cloud or, as we like to call it, the "conversation on convergence."

We wrapped up our second CLOUD LIVE! event of 2014 yesterday at the Petaluma studios.  We had a great time doing it and wanted to say "thank you" to everyone involved in the setup, the panel conversations, as well as everyone who took time out of their schedules to join us.  The next event is coming up quickly — our second Polycom Cloud Services University — and we’re hoping you’ll all be able to join us again!

For now, have a look at some of the inner workings of CLOUD LIVE!

CL-studio-stream-engineer

Cloud-Live-set-up-final-panel

CL-studio-andrew-checking-text-between-panels

CL-screen3

Interested in joining the Cloud conversation?

CLOUD LIVE! bannerWhether you have had the chance to attend one of our training events in the past or are just curious about what goes on at them, one thing is for certain:  you know how important the conversation on the Cloud is.  We offer many opportunities over the course of the year to get involved in the conversation, and our next CLOUD LIVE! event is coming up on Thursday, May 29, at 8 a.m. PST.

We make the conversation on Cloud easier than ever with our live video broadcasts.  If you’re interested in learning more about:

  • Cloud trends
  • New opportunities in the Cloud
  • Key lessons in successfully cloud adoption
  • And more

come join us!

 

Vegas in T-minus…

The 2014 Channel Partners Conference & Expo at The Venetian & Sands is finally here!  We’re headed out to Vegas now in order to get everything set up at booth #4016.  The agenda is set, so come track us down! Wednesday, February 26

  • 11:00 am – 11:45 am: MPLS Alternatives – Challenging the Leading Cloud Networking Technology
  • 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Supplier Fair
  • 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Intelisys Exhibit Booth #4016

Thursday, February 27

  • 8:00 am – 3:00 pm: Intelisys Cloud Services University Training
  • 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Intelisys Exhibit Booth # 4016
  • 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Intelisys Cloud Services Cocktail Party
  • 10:00 pm – 1:00 am: Intelisys Late Night Party at The Hard Rock Cafe on the Strip

February, February 28

  • 10:00 am – Noon: Intelisys Exhibit Booth #4016

  For more details on the agenda, go here.  Looking forward to seeing you all in Vegas!

Come See Us at Booth #4016

In just a couple of weeks, we’re headed down to Las Vegas for this year’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo.  This year’s three-day event is hosted by The Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino and it’s shaping up to be quite an event! The schedule isn’t fully finalized yet, but we can tell you we’re setting up shop at booth #4016 — don’t forget to come by and say hi!  For those of you interested in tracking our whereabouts and seeing what we’re contributing at this year’s event, you can check out our agenda here or read more about it below:   February 26, 2014

     9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Supplier Meetings

     1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: Supplier Fair Casanova 506, 507,606, 607

     4:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Exhibit Booth # 4016

February 27, 2014

     8:00 am – 3:00 pm: Cloud Training Casanova 506

     9:00 am – 3:00 pm: Supplier Meetings

     2:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Exhibit Booth # 4016

     4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Supplier Meetings Casanova 506

     5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Cloud Cocktail Party

     10:00 pm – 1:00 am: Late Night Party at The Hard Rock Cafe on the strip

February 28, 2014

     10:00 am – Noon: Exhibit Booth # 4016

  We hope to see you all there!

Grand Cayman, here we come!

Grand Cayman TPC

This year’s Top Performing Champions (TPC) Club Trip is moving to Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands from January 26 – 29, 2014. The Intelisys-sponsored program is specifically designed to reward top-performing producers and to encourage our rising stars to increase growth in new business with Intelisys.  This year’s period of eligibility took place from September 2012 through August 2013 and the prize for this year’s winning sales partners is a trip for two to Grand Cayman!

In addition to the fun-filled trip to Grand Cayman, Club TPC membership comes with some additional benefits.  For those of our sales partners who achieve a certain level of membership status, trip assistance to this year’s Channel Connect event will be provided. We’ve also made substantial additions to the TPC program, providing you with support services and mentoring programs in the following areas:

  1. Business Mentoring Program
  2. Finance
  3. HR/Administration
  4. Marketing
  5. Partner Support Services
  6. Process and Training
  7. Sales

The trip to Grand Cayman is fast approaching, so if you’re one of our elite, top-selling partners of 2013, we look forward to seeing you there!

Five Ways to Prepare for the Vegas Channel Show

Are You Ready For Vegas?

Well, it’s that time of year again…we are only two weeks away from the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. What you may not realize is that most of your success at the show will depend on your preparation, so we’re passing along some tips to make sure you’re prepared. These events can get pricey, so make sure you squeeze out every last drop of opportunity!

1. Set Some Goals – Decide why you are attending the show and what your desired outcomes, or as Stephen R. Covey said, "Begin with the end in mind." You may have three or four goals in mind, but make sure they are clear. This will help you greatly in planning your time at the show.

2. Do Your Homework – Rather than strolling the expo floor aimlessly, hoping to run into people you want to see, do your research and schedule as many appointments ahead of time as possible. Make sure to focus in on the goals you set above. You can access the list of exhibitors here: http://www.channelpartnersconference.com/2013/vegas/exhibitors.html

3. Prepare Your Team – Make sure you and your team are all on the same page in terms of strategy and logistics of the show. If you have a lot of people attending, it’s a good idea to have one person designated to manage travel arrangements and schedules. Make sure everyone has plenty of business cards and the appropriate attire.

4. Take Care of Yourself – Nothing is worse than feeling under the weather at a fast-paced event like the Channel Show, so take steps to ensure you’re healthy and have lots of energy. Start now, making sure you’re eating well, getting lots of rest, and avoiding sick people. And don’t forget your Airborne!

5. Plan Your Follow Up – Have you ever attending an event only to return and stare blankly at a large stack of business cards? Don’t let this be you. Instead, plan now for how you will categorize the people you meet, and how you will follow up with each category. Will you send an email, make a phone call, connect on LinkedIn? These are all things you can decide now so your plan is in place when you return. 

By following these simple steps, you can make the most of any trade show or event you attend. We can’t wait to see you in Vegas!
 

 

“We Can Do That Too!” …And Other Dangerous Statements for VARs

Four years ago I started Terrapin Solutions.  It was a big idea with lots of promise.  But as any young venture, we had our growing pains…had to find our way, had to carve out our niche, had to create our own unique brand.  Looking back, we made a lot of mistakes.  One of the biggest was expanding our scope before we were ready. 

"I understand you do this, but can you also do that?"  
 
"Uh…sure!"
 
That conversation seemed to happen a lot.  We actually took pride in our ability to be flexible and opportunistic.  But looking back, we can see how that took us off course, away from our core business, away from what we were really good at, what we were really strong around, and into areas we didn’t fully understand, didn’t have experience in, areas we couldn’t confidently and consistently deliver with excellence.  And because of that, everything suffered.
 
Fortunately, we figured it out early enough to make the appropriate course correction that enabled us to build a really successful cloud services practice.
 
I’m reminded of our story because I’m seeing it play out with increasing frequency amongst IT Solution Providers that I talk with every day.  So many that have built successful businesses around selling and supporting boxes are now struggling with the shift to carrier & cloud services.  They’re finding that stating "we can do that too" is woefully insufficient.  They desperately want to make the shift, but they are ill-equipped to do so.  They don’t have the capital, the staff, the expertise, or the runway.  Doing so in spite of those challenges results in more pain than profit.
 
So the real question is, how does a business transform itself without dying from the effort?  More specifically, how does a IT Solution Provider make the pivot to carrier & cloud services without running out of runway?
 
To successfully make the pivot, you must have three things.
  1. The expertise - you must truly understand carrier & cloud services…how they’re priced, sold, ordered, supported, etc.  Its a very different world than hardware.
  2. Dedicated resources – expecting your existing hardware sales people to begin selling carrier & cloud services in volume is a failed model.  You must have dedicated sales people who wake up every day looking to put food on the table by selling nothing but carrier & carrier services.
  3. Sufficient Capital – residual revenue can be compelling long term, but it takes a serious runway to get there.  Plan on 18+ months to get to a monthly run-rate that is meaningful.
So do these requirements kill this idea for many IT Solution Providers?  Does this mean the pivot is only possible for the biggest, well-resourced VARs?  Perhaps.
 
Or perhaps partnering with the right outside resource is the best answer.  We at Intelisys recently launched our Channel Alignment Program.  Very simply, it aligns VARs with cloud & carrier services sales professionals.  It enables a VAR to begin making the pivot immediately, without investing any cash and without redirecting resources from their core business.
 
Could this be the answer for many who are struggling to make this shift?  I’d love your feedback.

Intelisys Announces Cloud Services University to Ensure Success of Telecom Agents and IT VARs in Selling Cloud Solutions

Intelisys Launches Free Training Courses at Polycom Learning Centers Across the Country, Covering Topics Like Cloud Sales, Hosted VoIP and More

Petaluma, CA (August 6, 2012) – Intelisys, the leading Master Agency of business communications services including voice, data and Internet access, today announced the formation of Cloud Services University, a series of free workshops on a wide variety of Cloud-related topics. The courses are held concurrently at Polycom Learning Centers throughout the United States on a bi-monthly basis.

 “Cloud services represent an enormous opportunity for the channel, but there remains a lot of confusion and chaos,” said Andrew Pryfogle, Senior VP & General Manager of Cloud Services & Complex Bids. “We’re committed to clearing up that confusion and helping the channel take full advantage of the Cloud explosion.”

“There is a big need for practical training on how to successfully identify, design and sell Cloud solutions.  Our approach integrates practical Cloud sales training seamlessly with both telco and cable services, and thanks to the University, anyone not currently selling Cloud services could attend a course today and begin selling tomorrow,” continued Pryfogle. 

Intelisys plans to expand the University beyond the classroom experience to include live webinars, online access to previously held seminars, and various levels of certification.

“This is the future of the telecom agent, solution provider and IT agent who intends to still be in business in five years,” said Jay Bradley, President of Intelisys. “Our entire business strategy encompasses Cloud and the solution it provides for the end user customer.”

The launch of Intelisys’ Cloud Services University is extremely timely given the massive growth projections of Cloud-related services to businesses of all sizes. According to technology research firm Gartner, spending on enterprise public Cloud services is expected to hit $109 billion in 2012, up from $91 billion in 2011. In 2016, Cloud services spending will reach $207 billion.

 “The Intelisys Cloud offering is unique because we recognized the need to go beyond providing just one Cloud solution to our agent community and their customers,” said Dana Topping, Co-Owner of Intelisys. “Instead, we created an aggregation of more than 16 industry-leading Cloud services providers, so our agents have the distinct ability to determine which solution is the best fit for each customer. The training and education behind the University will go a long way to equip our agents for long-term success in selling Cloud services.”

Classes have already begun, filling Polycom Learning Centers to capacity. After attending a recent New York City course, Intelisys Agent Partner Rich Piquett commented, "The Cloud Sales Workshop was a very effective event.  The format was energetic and collaborative, and the content critical to building a foundation for future workshops.  Well worth my time!"

Currently scheduled workshops include:

Classes are offered at Polycom Learning Centers in the following cities:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston/Andover, MA
  • Chicago/Rosemont, IL
  • Dallas/Irving, TX
  • Denver/Westminster, CO
  • New York City, NY
  • Orange County/Irvine, CA
  • Santa Clara, CA
  • Seattle/Bellevue, WA
  • Washington DC/Herndon, VA

Connect with Intelisys online:

About Intelisys

Intelisys is the nation’s leading Master Agent and the only telecom master agency focused exclusively on supporting the Channel’s top-producing sales agents. The company specializes in providing a broad suite of telecom value-based solutions to ensure the top-producing agent’s success. Intelisys services include a complete selection of carrier voice and data, cloud, cable, collaboration services, wireless and wired access, auxiliary services such as voice and web conferencing, and Intelisys’ proprietary telecom asset management tool, Audex. Since its inception in 1994, Intelisys’ growth is a result of the unique formula of recruiting top-producing agents, capitalizing on industry trends, and most importantly, providing exceptional operational and back-office support. This formula has positioned Intelisys as the recognized thought leader in the telecommunications independent sales channel.

 

Intelisys Cloud Services University Coming Soon to a City Near You!

 

Close More Deals with Our Free Educational Seminars
Did you know Intelisys has launched Cloud Services University? We’ve designed each seminar to bring you the exact information you need to be as successful as possible at selling Cloud services. Classes are held at Polycom Learning Centers throughout the country. Below is some detailed information on our next event, as well the schedule for the next couple of months. Stay tuned as we add workshops near you!
 

Join us for our next workshop!
Tuesday June 26, 2012 – Cloud Sales Workshop – Hosted VoIP 101
  • Hosted vs. Premised – learn the differences and key advantages of hosted VoIP versus premised-based alternatives
  • VoIP done right – not all VoIP is equal, recognize the pitfalls to VoIP, and where it blows up
  • LAN considerations – ensuring that the customers LAN is VoIP ready
  • Portfolio overview – identify who fits where – no one VoIP provider is the perfect fit for every customer, where each supplier fits best
  • Identifying and qualifying those customers who are an ideal fit for a hosted solution – where we are winning
Upcoming workshops. Click on the links for more detailed info:

 

 

 

Here’s what one attendee had to say: “The Cloud Sales Workshop was a very effective event.  The format was energetic and collaborative, and the content critical to building a foundation for future workshops.  Well worth my time!” - Rich Piquett