Perception is an interesting thing.
In 2009, when I went to my record 41 events, we were everywhere and connected with everybody. Yet we barely scratched larger accounts or managed extreme levels of profitability. At the time, it was important for me to meet our partners, design our products and get them to have faith in my team. All but one person from back then is still with the company.
In 2013 (and 2012 to and even smaller extent) we’re doing less than 5 major events.
Now, yes, Shockey Monkey is a huge culprit there because it brings us partners most of the channel outside of Microsoft will never get to meet. But that is not where we are growing our profits. And there is a lesson:
While people like to interact face to face they do business with people that can deliver results and get things moving fast. Something we can only do effectively when we are in a close connected environment.
To that point..
In 2013, I have spent more time on the phone with partners than in the past two years combined.
In 2013 I have already produced more webinars, videos and training guides than all of last year.
Ditto for documentation, internal training, process facilitation, software design and so on.
We are uncluttering and simplifying our business from the mess of years of ridiculous growth and we are able to serve our partners and our clients much faster and much more efficiently.
And everyone can talk to me. Every day. And nearly any hour – so long as you land on my calendar I got two cell phones and a 5000 mAh battery.
Our largest customers and our most agile small partners are finding it that being able to hit me up or any of my VPs nearly around the clock means stuff gets done faster and more stuff gets done.
We’re able to get our partners Microsoft’s cloud growth (they are up to a billion a year at that now, all taken from the partners wallets if you’ve let them) and it’s pretty much the biggest opportunity that this space has ever seen. But while the peons argue about the pitfalls and try to define “the cloud” we’re printing money with the people we work with and creating solutions around all the stuff to keep people going (did you see the LiveArchive announcement?)
If you’re waiting to see me at an IT event, don’t hold your breath. If you’re sponsoring events waiting for that new VAR and MSP to show up, it’s not going to happen. The reason so many MSPs are shutting doors while so many others are crossing $1mil and $10mil marks isn’t due to some new IT guy tool bundle gimmick:
Service providers have retooled their business to sell cloud services and are pushing “managed” junk that requires a lot of personnel and staff to the side. Those that haven’t are slowly but surely either doing that or going out of business as the tools and their maintenance demand more and deliver less of what clients can recognize as a problem worth paying for.
So there you have it. I have partners that have gone from 10+ to 1 and I have partners that have gone from 1 to 4 – I talk to them all and all I can tell you this is happening.
So if you’re not going in the right direction… it’s time to talk to me. If your clients don’t think you’re going in the right direction… then take a page from my book and spend more time talking to them and less time talking to MSP vendors trying to sell you junk.