Highlights from Tech+Connect2017 Day 2

Another day heavy on sales role play, mock sales meetings and real-life scenarios and light on marketing pitches and company reps “puking on themselves.” The Alliance Partner’s Tech+Connect 2017 rolls into day 2.

Justin Chris-Tensen of Rackspace kicked off the set of “selling cloud compute” 15-minute presentations with the tale of a small, nine-person digital media customers that had a $1.5 million monthly bill from AWS. While Rackspace was able to save the company a few hundred thousand dollars a month, Chris-Tensen’s well-taken point was, “there is likely a six-figure MMR account in your customer base right now.”

Sky Data Vault asked, what do your customer think when they hear “disaster’? Believe it or not, disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, etc., are not usually the cause of network and IT outages. Much more likely to happen to your customers is hardware failure.

Do you have existing customers with large amounts of data that don’t belong in a database or that needs to be stored but not accessed regularly? Maybe a customer with a video repository or electronic medical or financial records? Clayton Overstreet of Zayo Group made a great case for selling those clients Object-Based Storage. Seems a no brainer as an add-on to a bandwidth or network service sale. Object-based storage “doesn’t replace block storage,” said Overstreet. Rather, it offloads some of the cost of storing stuff that isn’t needed to be accessed regularly. And unlike similar services, no egress fees with Zayo’s solution.

Talk about keeping it real: Mark Mercado and Josh Williams of SingleHOP role-played a conversation between agent and CIO in which the agent character admitted to his long-time network services customer to “not being an expert” on next-gen services and his reluctance to sometimes bring up managed services to a long-time client. Attendees got a sense of how that conversation might go, how a customer might react and the questions an agent new to managed services might ask to dig a little and understand the needs and desires of the customer, and which providers in their stable can help.

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Short of it, Josh playing the CIO character relieved the reluctant agent’s fears by explaining that he was looking for someone who will listen to his problems, and bring the right vendors in. Essentially, he wanted a trusted advisor and wasn’t looking to the agent to be an IT expert. It was more about a business discussion than a tech discussion. Most surprisingly, it had to be the first presentation I have ever seen where the company of the presenters was not mentioned once during the entire presentation.

Brad Renville of Kore demystifies IoT, M2M and wireless business continuity: Working with KORE, “You are just selling connections.” Any customers that has assets that must be tracked and managed is a candidate for Kore, explains Renville.

Telegration’s Tim Basa, Tech+Connect masters of ceremony: When you ask a customer if they have a “cloud roadmap,” do you have a template of one you can give them when they don’t?

At the start of the lunch-time sessions on selling security, Mark Hughes, former EVP at Sungard, reminded attendees that during these dynamic and complex times, “people in the C-suite have an obligation to get [security] right,” he said.

Looking forward later today to the Shark Tank-style session where UCaaS providers explain how they differentiate and dominate.

Photo caption: Bill Powers of the Alliance Partners explains how to access all providers through the Alliance’s structure.

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