ChannelNEXT Virtual on WFH went a little panda crazy

Each month, TechnoPlanet’s news media and event divisions (eChannelNEWS and ChannelNEXT respectively) focus on a different topic. May focused on “Work From Home”. June will be on Cyber Security and July will be on Managed Services. Jump in whenever you see a fit!

Here is a recap of the WFH virtual event from May 27:

It ran for about 5 hours. The outer limit of what a human can take on a virtual event :o).

The first session set the stage on what a digital-first world looks like and explored how to adapt and thrive. There is a specific list of things that all channel partners must do to thrive in the digital game. Every business needs to look deep inside their current infrastructure and culture to know where they are today and how to get to where they need to be ASAP! This is critical not just for channel partners but also for their customers.

“We are all experiencing a 5-year hyper jump into the future and the winners will be those who can innovate and accelerate their digital game the fastest”

The second session was a power panel discussion by two top MSPs (Debian IT and My Blue Umbrella.) They can be the ultimate blueprint for doing the right things. They explained what they did and how it turned out for them and their clients. They were able to pivot instantly and innovate on the fly to lead their teams and customers through the initial phase of the crisis. Now they are continuing to accelerate through the next phase as businesses reopen. I thank Vince Fung and Michael Contento for sharing their professional insights, skills and leadership. Randal Wark did a great job to moderate this panel as he too was once a MSP. He now helps other MSPs to improve their game through The Channel Partner Alliance (check out the 6 business acceleration courses that they offer MSPs and VARs).

The next session had 3 different virtual break-out rooms running 3 different workshops in parallel. All 9 sessions have been recorded and are available for on-demand viewing. These 9 sessions were selected with clear purpose to help channel partners and vendors to best navigate the crisis now and come out on top tomorrow.

We have recordings of all 9 sessions so if you are interested to watch them contact us.

Tara Landes got everyone to take a special test to measure their leadership game. An eye-opening exercise to help anyone to better understand where they stand and what they need to improve. The data shows that companies with the best leaders tend to be more successful. Today, leadership matters the most! Tara helps MSPs and vendors to lead their companies to sustainable success through outstanding leadership. Why not take her course online? You may be able to get some Government funding to cover costs! This knowledge can impact your business and life forever!

Dano Ybarra from Net2Phone (Versature) talked about how to lead your customers through any crisis. He highlighted how important a modern communication infrastructure is to drive success in the digital game. VoIP and soft phones are foundational to business continuity especially for work from anywhere. It is also important for improving the productivity of some of the biggest digital tools like Microsoft Teams. You need to experience this add-on to really understand how it can take your Teams experience to the next level! Check out a recent ECN interview.

Jay McBain from Forrester shared some of the latest data to support the latest playbook that channel partners and vendors should be adopting as we move into the second phase of the crisis (reopening the economy). He also shared critical communication techniques and highlighted the emerging opportunities that smart channel partners will be targeting. Jay’s insights backed by research data should be baked into all of your decisions. He claims that about 25% of the channel could be in serious financial trouble caused by this crisis. Leveraging current data is vital for making the smartest decisions moving forward. Check out our recent ECN interview for some additional background.

Marc Wilkens from Fujitsu talked about the touch-less digital world of business transactions that is now on a hyper-growth path (because of the pandemic). Face it, people are afraid to touch anything, even paper. Many stores have already stopped taking cash. Tap and go is out of the bottle and that ain’t going back! It is truly amazing what businesses can do with the Fujitsu lineup of document scanners and software. Channel partners must lead the charge in helping their customers move to a touch-less work environment and these sorts of digital documentation tools are part of the solution. That’s what most buyers want in the new normal.

Frank Newman tackled one of the biggest pain points facing channel partners, vendors, distributors and end-user businesses: Managing their employees! Frank’s 40 years of HR experience provided the best advice for all companies looking to protect and manage their staff. With the vast majority of employees already laid off, what will employers do moving forward? Maintaining morale and a positive culture is not easy but if you are going to come out on top, you need to manage your HR extremely well! Channel partners can also leverage this knowledge with Frank’s expertise to help their customers do the same and build loyalty!

Desraie Thomas from Datto focused on returning back to the office as businesses reopen. Things will definitely not be the same in office practices. A whole new set of guidelines have to be in place, maintained and managed. Employees must feel safe when they go back to work! Social distancing, sanitizing, meetings, remote working, commuting and more will all have to be taken into consideration. She shared how Datto and their partners are adapting to the new normal. All channel partners and end-users can learn from these real-time insights.

Randal Wark from The Channel Partner Alliance talked about why MSPs need to flip from the old consultative-type selling approach to a leadership style. End-users are in need of innovative ways to survive, reopen and accelerate. He shared examples of what some of his MSP clients are doing (that’s way out of the box). All businesses will need more and smarter technologies to drive their success, but they also need leadership guidance from their channel partners to help them make the right moves. They need to explore new ways of doing and growing business. They need to embrace big changes and understand how a wider stack of technologies can help them future-proof their businesses.

Shane Gibson showed everyone how to best conduct virtual sales meetings. No one will be meeting in-person in the foreseeable future so sales people must understand how to do virtual sales meetings properly. Failure here will result in lost sales. This is where sales reps with solid social selling skills will over-power their competition. As we witnessed live on the “Lions’ Den” where vendors did a 3-minute virtual pitch to the audience, it is NOT easy. It takes special skills to deliver impact and results in a virtual environment. Learn the rules of the digital game and practice, practice, practice like your job depends on it, because it does! Shane is offering an online course in social selling that sales reps can jump on at anytime. You can add a monthly Mastermind peer-group session to practice and get feedback. Every month you will improve until you master the social selling skill.

Corry Robertson talked about how best to communicate with others to get the desired result. Too often the seller and the buyer miss the mark because of miscommunications. Corry offered some skills and a tool to help anyone reach the sweet spot in more effective communications to get what you want. She also presented an app that you can leverage to help guide you every step of the way. It’s a skill that will also benefit inter-company communications! Schedule a call with Corry to talk about her leadership and executive coaching programs.

Our lineup of vendors brought a variety, but focused mix of solutions for remote working. If you want to contact all of these vendors, just request our digital conference guide.

Datto offers a wide range of tools for MSPs including PSA, RMM, BDR and Networking. Most MSPs can leverage most of these tools every day. Even something as simple as a remotely managed power bar can save the day! Datto also has loads of data on how their MSP partners are succeeding in business every day. Explore some of their support tools and research content.

TeamViewer is a perfect fit for any remote working and trouble shooting by MSPs. Many already use it every day. They talked about news tools coming soon that will help MSPs and VARs. Check out their service desk ticketing. Remote support with AR. Remote device and IoT management. And, collaboration with video, voice, screen-sharing and chat on any device, anywhere.

Veriato won the award for Best Virtual Sales Warrior in the Lions’ Den with their low-tech “paper-point” presentation. In 3 minutes, Pete Nourse was able to make the point very clear and in an entertaining way. That’s how virtual selling is done! This tool monitors the behaviors of employees working remotely. Since WFH is now the new norm, management will need some level of understanding on what exactly their employees are doing when they are not visible! I can see many companies leveraging this tool as part of their WFH policy. While this tool can get very deep in monitoring behavior, it can also save the day by ensuring proper security protocols are being met by remote workers. It can all be customized depending on what each company is comfortable in monitoring.

Versature showcased their VOIP solution for work anywhere. A global solution that can support just about any end-user. Everyone working remotely has to have some type of VoIP or soft phone solution. It also works with Microsoft Teams.

Sherweb is a top distributor for everything Microsoft so they focused on how MSPs should best leverage the power of the MS solutions to solve big problems for their clients. Sherweb also offers a wide range of solutions including security and VOIP.

United Cloud showcased a VOIP solution that is fully integrated with Microsoft Teams. It’s very affordable with outstanding support. They can deploy a solution within 48 hours. Their platform also allows for call-recording with AI smarts that analyze voice content to help measure and improve outcomes. Ask about their special promotion!

[We featured several VoIP solutions because it is a very big part of the WFH requirements. It is also important for every channel partner to offer a VoIP solution. If not, their competitors will and once they get their foot into the customers’ doors, they will sell ALL other managed services! With the right vendor, VoIP can also be one of the best recurring revenue opportunities for MSPs!]

Viewsonic has every type of hardware that you need for remote working and collaboration. Their big screens and interactive displays are top notch. Their built-in docking solution into the display is clever. They are now offering their learning software to schools to use on any hardware. You want to have Viewsonic devices on your desktops regardless from where you work. The Viewsonic team also does a fantastic job in digital presentations (they won the first Virtual Sales Warrior award last month).

QNAP is already well known for their powerful and reliable NAS storage systems. We know because we use it. They also offer Cloud back-ups, IoT and surveillance solutions. They have a cool integration for MS office for direct editing. As employees continue to work from anywhere, backing up and accessing data is critical. Since offices are left “abandoned” it may be a good idea to install some solid remote surveillance. MSPs should explore the video surveillance high-growth and high-margin market! QNAP has some amazing products!

ECO Products are all about printing responsibly. Most people need to print which generates tons of e-waste that mostly gets dumped into landfills every day. ECO provides refurbished printers and re-manufactured ink cartridges. This pandemic has uncovered some environmental opportunities (I recently wrote an article on it). Leveraging ECO for all your WFH print needs is one easy way to protect the environment and save money at the same time without giving up on quality. If you must print, use 100% recycled products! Ask about their refurbished printer bundle with recycled toner that they can drop ship right to your customer’s door!

We believe that all of these 10 vendors can be an important and profitable part of your WFH portfolio moving forward. There are many more solutions and we will continue to highlight on eChannelNEWS so subscribe for FREE if you want to be updated!

We like virtual events, but we still love in-person events. Unfortunately, until in-person comes back, we have to move forward with virtual. We were one of the first to pivot our in-person events to virtual back in April. This was our second virtual conference so we are still learning and trying to make virtual as effective and enjoyable as possible. Your suggestions are always welcomed so please fill out the post event survey that will be sent to everyone who attended.

In June, we will be well into our virtual event transition with a lot more features to make everything more WOW. We are excited to keep on evolving as we explore more technologies to deliver the best virtual conferencing experience. Keep watching or follow me as we make virtual the best as it can be. Just like we built our award-winning VIP ChannelNEXT events over 18 years with peer-group Masterminds, we plan to do the same for virtual. We have a feeling that even when in-person comes back, we will still be doing our monthly focused virtual events. Our virtual peer-group Mastermind events are already really good (sign up for one at Channel Partner Alliance).

If you are wondering about the panda, we played a little virtual treasure-hunt game to win some prizes and it got a bit carried away, in a good way! Thank you all for being a good sport! Enjoy the prizes!

Thank you all for participating and if you missed this one, register for the next one in June as Cyber Security affects everyone. Make ChannelNEXT a monthly hangout with us and your peers! We guarantee you will learn something new and interesting every month. It is also FREE so you have nothing to lose :o)

Become a ChannelNEXT VIP and we will automatically register you for every monthly event so you will also get free access to all of the recordings for on-demand viewing. Get a crazy amount of high-value content for FREE plus a few nice VIP surprises. Just contact us and say you want to be ChannelNEXT VIP.

Subscribe to eChannelNEWS and register for upcoming ChannelNEXT virtual events!