By Howard M. Cohen
When asked what advice he would give to channel partner management, Avant Communications co-founder and president Drew Lydecker chose to approach the answer from two different – though related – perspectives.
Train like a pro. Lydecker was still wearing his workout clothes when he sat down to discuss the channel, apologizing for being late even though he wasn’t and commenting that it was good we were speaking online as he was sweaty from his boxing class.
Perhaps it was this context that prompted his first response to the question of what advice he would share with channel managers. He focused on the person first – not their company – and answered in the context of his just-ended workout.
“If you don’t train like a pro, you’re not a pro. And when you’re in the channel, and you’re making your living off of the channel, you have to train like a pro, period.”
Lydecker then expanded the concept to include mind as well as body.
“Every morning, I have our proprietary news feed, I read Flipboard, I read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, because this game right now is about knowing a little bit about a lot. You have to stay current to what is happening in the market. It’s all about the fundamentals. It’s getting the energy up. It’s practicing pitch, objections, rebuttals. It’s knowing your business cold, being the historian of your company.
“You need to picture that every single time you get an opportunity, there are going to be seven people in the waiting room to come and take your business. You’ve got to practice your pitch. How many executives have asked you what you do for a living? What does your company do? And it’s like a three-ring, five-minutes, seven-minute circus of what? You’ve got to nail it, and you’ve got to have passion behind it.”
One thing that can’t be said of Drew Lydecker is that he lacks enthusiasm…
Be the ball of energy that everybody wants to hitch their wagon to. Lydecker then began a deeper discussion of the channel by emphasizing, “We’re some of the luckiest people on the planet to even be a part of this channel.”
Explaining that his attitude is “perception is reality, and business is war,” he continues enthusiastically pointing out that the rate of change is the only constant in life, and the rate of change in the channel makes it one of the most fortunate places to be on Earth. But to take full advantage of that you have to stick out, be vastly different from everyone else — and that takes focus on all the little things, like looking bigger than you really are.
It also requires constant innovation. Lydecker sees many channel partners who have stagnated by clinging to the products and services they’ve always sold.
“You talk to somebody who’s been an Avaya shop for the last 25 years, there’s a sense of pride for what they’ve done, what they’ve built, what they’ve created. Try telling them you want to fundamentally change the way they think about the phone system. There’s some pushback to that. Also, we’ve got a lot of people who are …