Walking In the Customers Snow Shoes

Greg Plum, Director of Channel Development, the Conference Group

I have been in business development for a conferencing provider for almost 10 years now. That’s right … sales. For 10 years I have worked with thousands of people telling them about how our conferencing solutions will make them more efficient, save them money and make their businesses more productive. Today, the teacher became the student … er, the customer. With Mother Nature’s wrath in the form of back-to- back Nor’easters hitting the mid-Atlantic region, I found myself smack dab in the middle of a governor-declared state of emergency for the second straight day.

Oh, great! Another day with water-cooler banter being replaced by the delirious shrills of a cooped up 6- and 8-year-olds. But what about that full calendar of meetings and presentations? Not everyone is house-bound with a raging case of cabin fever. For most of the world, this was just a typical Thursday, the day of the week where we stuff as many activities in as possible to be able to take it easy on Friday (in theory anyway).

First on the docket was a conference call with the fine folks at PHONE+ and the Channel Partners Advisory Board to discuss the upcoming conference. Except for my complaining to the others on the call about my snow-induced woes, the call was like all previous advisory board conference calls. Next, I had a presentation of the latest developments in our wholesale program to a long-time agent who is excited about ratcheting up his conferencing business. Surely, this presentation could have been moved to a more convenient time – one when the country road outside of my house looked less like Siberia, and I would have all of the comforts of my office at my fingertips. It could have been rescheduled, but why?

We spent an hour reviewing everything that we would have covered had I been sitting in my office, or even via a face-to-face visit. They even got to see my snow-beaten face, complete with an exaggerated 5 o’clock shadow on steroids, thanks to the integrated video…

Today, this sales guy became a customer. In a former life, my company’s slogan was “Think of Yourself as a Customer.” And what better way to think of yourself as a customer, than to walk a mile in their (snow filled) shoes?

Greg Plum is the director of channel development for the Conference Group. Since he joined the company in 2000, his primary responsibility has been to establish and develop the company’s wholesale program, which includes agent and private-label reseller programs. Under Plum’s direction, the Conference Group’s channel program has been recognized as an industry leader, having been named a top conferencing provider by Telecom Association members in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, as well as a PHONE+ Top 50 Channel Program recipient in 2007. In addition, Plum was named as a finalist for the 2009 Channel Executive of the Year Award. He also is a member of the 2009-10 PHONE+/Channel Partners Conference & Expo Advisory Board.

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