The first of what is expected to be an annual event, Tech+Connect 2017 kicked off today with plenty of energy and excitement, while living up to promises of being a new and unique kind of channel event. Taking place at the La Cantera Resort in San Antonio from Monday to Wednesday of this week, and hosted by the Alliance Partners, the event is unlike most channel trade shows, which tend to focus on quantity over quality.
“Tech+Connect is breaking the mold for channel events,” explained Alliance CEO Bill Power prior to the event. “We are pioneering an exciting, fun, intimate format that not only focuses exclusively on sales empowerment around the biggest future opportunities for the channel, but also redefines how providers and partners interact with each other.”
Whereas traditional channel trade events look to maximize attendees and pack expo aisles with providers ready to make countless pitches, Tech+Connect is an invite-only event that brings together an elite group of channel sales executives and a select group of hand-picked providers offering next-gen and emerging services. Rather than pitch their services and boast about their features sets, providers at Tech+Connect are charged with discussing specifically how to sell their services, including tools, tips and techniques that can be taken into the field immediately.
Among the opening day sessions, for instance, representatives from SD-WAN providers Big Leaf, CenturyLink, Comcast, SimpleWAN and Tata Communications went beyond the buzz words and discussed “how to sell” this emerging technology. From the elevator pitch to objection handling, they discussed the tactics they are using on sales calls, as well as how to engage and communicate the importance of SD-WANs to prospects and alleviate any hesitancy.
Caption: Speaker Erik Knight of SimpleWAN reminds the audience that customers aren’t looking for SD-WAN, they want the service and applications SD-WAN reliably and securely delivers.
On Tuesday, similar sessions will take place on cloud computing, network security and a Shark Tank-style format on UCaaS.
Kicking off the event, renown sales trainer and telecom entrepreneur Stu Kolinsky took the stage in his typical high-energy, humorous style to provide a combination of sales motivation and techniques, including some “sales fundamentals” that tend to get overlooked or forgotten.
“If your customers are not talking about you, no one is,” Kolinsky reminded the crowd.
Tim Basa of Telegration, serving as masters of ceremony for the event, meanwhile, challenged attendees to network in new ways, as well. Instead of just sharing successes and stories of sleighing whales, Basa said Tech+Connect “is a place you can be vulnerable, too.” In other words, Tech+Connect is an opportunity to discuss sales challenges and frustrations as a first step to addressing and solving those challenges.
Caption: Tech+Connect MC Tim Basa of Telegration brings his usual wit and high energy to the event
Similarly, Basa encouraged the Tech+Connect crowd to “take this opportunity to talk to strangers,” he said. “Do yourself a favor and make an effort to meet new contacts instead of only hanging out with old friends.”
The day culminated with food and cocktails at an upbeat, “futuristic” celebration by the pool, where attendees unwound, mingle and, hopefully, made some new friends.
Check back Tuesday, November 7, for updates on Day 2 of Tech+Connect 2017.