Open Letter about XD Live Workshops

ExchangeDefender, IT Business
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I’m not quite sure just how vulgar this is supposed to be considering that “open letters” tend to be canned, massively edited, PR angled hack jobs by the CEO minions but I’ll give it a try in a way that I actually speak to people in person and over the phone.

<This is probably going to be very underwhelming since I’ll never be as entertaining as the Vladville version of my alter ego>

We held the first XD Live Online Workshop yesterday.

Despite a relatively low turnout, the feedback was incredibly positive.

People loved it. We had roughly the same number of attendees in every single session yesterday so what was delivered was largely what everyone expected and nobody found better things to do for 4+ hours which is fairly incredible.

We managed to deliver the content we crafted, practiced and felt was valuable without a single commercial offer or reference or recommendation or special or any of the typical self-promotional stuff that is typical of these events.

I’m exhausted. My team is exhausted. This is not our core competency. We’re absolutely thrilled about how well this went and as soon as we collect all the feedback and see what we could do better (a long list) we will plan the second one.

How did we get to this?

XD Live workshop was originally meant to be ExchangeDefender only training.

Over the past few years our most successful partners have hired a lot of people and most of them seemingly without much sales or technology sales skills. As everyone is now forced to sell to survive, the burden fell on my staff to train everyone how to sell our solutions.

Easier said than done. Sales people can’t read.

So we started talking about how to actually train someone to sell our services.

I haven’t made it much of a secret where I think the industry is heading. I’ve also spent quite a bit to make sure we can connect our cloud to Shockey Monkey and sell the whole thing as a seamless experience.

One ugly truth came out of it: Selling technology is different than selling business technology. One is pure sales, the other is business consulting.

That whole “trusted advisor” thing tends to explode in complexity when you realize that the only way you get significant long term revenues is if you don’t focus on the technology (comfort zone) and focus on business.

Specifically, in order to sell Shockey Monkey (and your services, solutions, projects, etc) you need to be well versed in far more than geek stuff.

So last year we sat in front of one of the office windows and doodled a few dozen topics we could deliver.

The Fourth Pillar

You’ll see a lot more of this.. but here they are:

Partners – You, people that use and sell our solutions.

Solutions – ExchangeDefender, Cloud Services, Storage, Data

Management – Shockey Monkey

4th pillar – Education. Binding the previous 3 together.

Last year ExchangeDefender shut down it’s partner program. That is to say, we stopped looking for new partners. We already get a ton of new interest from existing referrals and Shockey Monkey and to be honest we will do far better (we already are) by focusing on making the existing partner base better.

XD Live is the biggest piece of the effort.

We have opened up Shockey Monkey for sale to a few select partners and we are still learning a lot about what it needs to do as the brains of the small business. The amount of inefficiency and waste that strikes your typical small business that runs on Excel and Quickbooks is staggering – if we can help small businesses standardize on Shockey Monkey we can save the cost of having an employee and we can provide the level of insight that would create multiple jobs once the owner or managers aren’t running around blind on information that is not truly representative of what is going on.

Simply put: Time to make this stuff simple.

In order to simplify everything we do (and our clients by extension), we need to be a lot better. I’m putting my money on the line and I hope you join us. If you haven’t talked to me (or haven’t talked to me in a while) about what we do here, perhaps it’s time. No time like right now.