Last week I get to spend time in Austin, Texas for the first time ever, which is a little shocking considering that as the event marketing manager for Intronis MSP Solutions I've been to 35 states and Texas more times than I can count.
Austin was a great city to visit with delicious food and lots to explore. While it sounds like a vacation, I was there to attend CompTIA ChannelCON, visit an MSP Partner, and host an Intronis Local Lunch. It was a very busy week, and I want to share the highlights!
CompTIA ChannelCon tackles diversity
CompTIA ChannelCon is one of my favorite channel events to attend each year. We get a chance to meet with many partners and prospects to talk about our updated offerings and catch up with them as they head into the second half of the year.
As vendors, we also get to sit in on many of the community meetings and breakout sessions. This year’s main topic was diversity and making things happen. The IT industry has come a long way in the past 10 years, but there are still areas that could use improvement.
In one session, for example, the CEO of CompTIA pointed out that if woman and people of color were to be represented proporitonately in the tech world there are one million women and around 500,000 African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans missing from the industry. One reason we can see such split in the diversity is due to where IT businesses are creating jobs. They are mainly concentrated in major urban centers, which leaves rural areas behind. Not only are the jobs not in these areas, but without tech companies being at the forefront in these areas many residents do not think to look for IT jobs and pursue education in the IT field.
The more IT companies embrace diversity and inclusivity, the more they expand. The growing IT industry needs to make sure it is welcoming to everyone, so each individual feels like they are part of a team without feeling like they need to lose who they are. This messaging was carried through the Advancing Women in Technology community meeting and during the panel discussion during the Myth of Diversity in the tech Industry breakout session.
Finding MSP sales and marketing harmony
Diversity and inclusivity can also be an important message for departments and how they work together. During the "When Sales and Marketing Work Together" breakout session, Larry Walsh and Heather Margolis talked about how sales and marketing need to act as one. Sales has the resources they need to access and nurture a lead, while marketing nurtures the leads as well just from a different perspective.
Larry explained that if a sales rep doesn’t bring marketing into their playbook, then they're not communicating correctly to customers and end-users. This message was reinforced by the idea that the sales cycles no longer starts with a connection between the buyer and a sales rep; it starts with an Internet search. Heather shared that we can no long simply hand clients our products and hope it goes well. We need to nurture the client though the lifetime of the partnership, which is where and when marketing steps up to help. Both agreed that sales and marketing leaders need to get along in order for both teams and the company to be successful.
Breakout sessions and more at ChannelCon
After we were able to soak in some channel knowledge, we were excited to share some of our industry and company knowledge with attendees during our private room session. Tim Wholey, regional account director for the Southwest region, presented to about 20 attendees on how our expanded portfolio allows MSPs to offer a variety of security products that will help protect their customers from ransomware and phishing attacks. The Intronis MSP Solutions team also spent time in the Technology Vendor Fair where we talked with many attendees about our security products and how they can help their clients.
The three days at ChannelCon flew by and were jammed packed with lots of excitement. We enjoyed seeing everyone at the event as well as out on Rainey street, where everyone got to kick back and relax with a cold drink and a new cowboy hat. CompTIA always goes above and beyond with event, and we love being a part of the event each year.
Visiting a local partner
Once ChannelCON wrapped up, went on site to spend time with a local partner while we were in town. We were welcomed warmly at the partner site, which isn’t a surprise when you show up with lots of bagels and coffee first thing in the morning! While we were there, we got to meet with a number of team members and sit in on a training session.
This customer does such a great job welcoming their new team members on board. They spend time educating the new members on all the product offerings they have for their customers and how they should be working with current customers and prospective customers with the various offerings they can choose from. Plus, the MSP says that a customer relationship doesn’t end with a signed contract. It needs to continue well after that so both parties can be successful, and it was great to see that message coming through in their training.
We love being able to take time while we're on the road to pop in and say hello to our partners and spend time with them answering any questions and continuing the partnership through education and trainings.
Austin Local Lunch
Having continuous training and education for our partners and prospects is very important to us at Intronis, and that is where hosting our local lunch events comes into play. Tim Wholey, our event coordinator Tom Snelders, and myself also got to spend about an hour and half with many local MSPs, some current partners, and some prospective partners during lunch at Capital Grille while we were in Austin. Tim walked them through our portfolio, which includes the NextGen Firewall, Essentials for Office 365, the Barracuda Backup appliance, and our Intronis ECHOplatform. We also highlighted our continuously growing partner toolkit and managed services offerings. If you want to attend one of our many local lunches, check and see if we are coming to a town near you!