About The Author: Phil Keenan

President
Phil has over 30 years of experience in telecom and unified communications. With his deep experience building innovative channels to market, Phil directs strategy to deliver high value, partnerships and solutions.

How to Start the Security Discussion

It’s the last thing most partners want to talk about because it’s the topic they are the least familiar with, but as security evolves, it becomes impossible to avoid.

Customers want to discuss security, and for good reason. The cyber landscape is changing for individual users, giant corporations, and governments alike. Partners need to understand why customers are interested in security and be able to have a discussion with them about protecting networks. But how do you talk to your customer about a topic outside your wheelhouse? There are a few tactics to take.

Don’t try to onboard it all.
For partners to be relevant in the year (and years) ahead, they need to transform their main expertise into new areas, and you cannot train your way there. The landscape is changing so quickly — by the time you’ve trained yourself and your team on something like security, it’s evolved further. It is more worth partners’ time to connect with experts in order to broaden their own expertise.

Partner with purpose.
Our Team Alliance Program (TAP) was designed with these problems in mind: partners want to be able to speak to all customer issues, but don’t have the time or resources to become experts in every field. TAP allows partners to connect with experts in cloud, security, SD-WAN, and other technologies to get in on the knowledge while maintaining relationships with customers. The program is an ecosystem for education and partnership that will help you stay successful as technologies change.

In the end, it’s about trust.
You are your customer’s trusted advisor, so it’s important to maintain that level of credence. Acquiring a customer is the largest cost your business incurs — better to keep the ones you have. Partnerships with experts can help you stay relevant for your customers and devote time to maintaining your relationships with them. And that means that the future of the partner will be more about customer service than anything else.

These themes can apply to not just security, but multiple other technologies and systems that befuddle the partner. Take advantage of TAP and the MicroCorp’s ecosystem of experts to be the partner your customers want to keep.

Teaming- An Agent Survival Strategy

team-keenan2MicroCorp President, Phil Keenan, on the benefits of Agent Teaming

If you don’t know the term ‘autocatalytic’, it might be time to look it up.  Simply put for our industry, it means that the more technology is deployed, the faster technology solutions change.  Knowing what the term means is more than just a dinner party talking point to impress your fellow guests. You really need to know what impact it is going to have on your business.

The role of the channel (or in our world, Agents, VARs and MSPs) is changing.  As technology goes autocatalytic, customers are struggling to keep up technically and they then turn to the channel to help as their trusted advisor – and you in turn are struggling to keep up. This means it is harder and harder to be a trusted advisor.  This complex dynamic is further exacerbated by the fact that customers are looking for complete solutions that require specific domain expertise in multiple areas.  The time when you could do everything on your own is going away and it is going away fast.  So what do you do to protect your customer relationships and sustain your business over the coming years?

Well, option one is to hire your way to trusted advisor status. An admirable ambition but fraught with working capital, cash flow and borrowing requirement land mines.   Not to mention how hard it is to hire ‘good’ people.

Option Two is to embrace the plethora of training courses available from manufacturers, service providers or industry bodies and cross train your existing folks.  Well, training simply cannot build up years of expertise overnight and it is a bit like painting the Golden Gate Bridge.  As soon as you finish, you have to start again because technology has moved on at such a pace you are already dated.  In fact the rate of our autocatalytic industry is already so fast that you would have to start painting before you have even finished.  In the words of Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch,  “when I was a lad I used get up for work four hours before I went to bed…”

So You Think You are so Smart

SySmartIn my mind neither of the above are viable options unless you are a multi-million dollar company with significant financial resources.  There has to be a better way.  And there is.   The answer is to participate in an ecosystem where you team to provide complete solutions.

“You think you are so smart” I hear the masses shout,  “This has been tried before and it doesn’t work!” In my mind the reason this hasn’t happened industry wide is because the ecosystem has lacked what it takes to build momentum and scale.  Unless an ecosystem has enormous compelling advantage then it doesn’t take off.  Apple Store and Play Store are great examples of where an ecosystem has enormous and obvious advantage and so the forces of laissez faire prevail, but if you don’t have this you have to support an ecosystem with real structure to solve the problems of getting it off the ground.

It’s all about the money

In our world what do channel partners worry about that get in the way of joining an ecosystem?  Well at the end of the day it is all about the money, because it is always all about the money.  But there is more to it than just that.  After 30 years (jeez!) of running worldwide channel organizations I have distilled the reasons down to the following:allaboutmoney

  • Money, Money, Money
    • How much do I get paid
    • Do I get paid enough to be worth my time
  • Protection
    • How do I ensure that I continued to get paid in the event of a business relationship dissolving
    • How do I protect my customer relationships if I bring in another party
    • How to I protect my employees and confidential information when teaming
  • Support
    • How are my customer’s solutions supported

Address these issues and the ecosystem has a real chance of growing simply because it is needed.  It is the only way this conundrum can be solved.

Enter Team Alliance Program

The Team Alliance program addresses these issues head on.  Prescribed commission splits, contracted rules of engagement coupled with non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions allow partners to team in confidence.

Underpinned with TotalCare365 support and a directory of experts to pull from, the program provides everything you need to provide complete solutions in confidence, protect your customer relationships and create new revenue streams into the future.