Ben Stiegler, CEO and Founder, Synertel
Times are tough, and it’s hard to justify time away from selling and travel costs, but one conference I’m not going to skip this year is the Channel Partners Conference & Expo in March.
The Channel Partners Expo is a unique opportunity to connect ― live and in person ― with a few important types of people who are crucial to the continued success of our business:
- Carrier executives who may know me as an entry on a spreadsheet, or a voice on a conference call, but not as well in person.
- Master agents with whom we do business today … and those we don’t yet, but might some day. Last year saw rapidly shifting sands as carriers and agencies merged at surprising speed. There was a lot of unintentional disruption and reorganization. This year is a chance to see how it’s settled out and also where old friends and trusted sales and support allies are now roosting.
- Consultants of whom there are many roaming the halls. Last year I met one with whom I’d had an e-mail relationship for a year … and there he was, eyeing my name tag as I simultaneously read his.
- Other agents with whom I share concerns. What’s keeping them up at night? Which carriers are becoming slow-payers? Which ones are messing around with commissions? Who is providing stellar support?
Just as important, it’s a chance to learn what others in our industry are doing, what’s working well, what they’ve dropped, and to see what new ideas and offerings are bubbling up through the channel.
Will there be free beer and dancing bears this year? I’m not counting on those … it’s the up-close-and-personal experience I’m after.
Ben Stiegler is CEO and founder of Synertel, a provider of converged telephony services and equipment. He also is a member of the 2008-09 PHONE+ Channel Partners Advisory Board..