Channel Partners Virtual's 2,100 attendees are still buzzing after another content-loaded day at the industry's premier channel event.
5G was the morning's hot topic, with new T-Mobile channel chief talking about opportunities with the wireless technology. And with baseball's spring training underway, news editor James Anderson's observation about the 5G panel that followed "knocking it out of the park" seems apropos.
“The audience learned about several intriguing revenue opportunities while also getting a healthy dose of realism about the development of 5G," said Anderson.
That panel, "Is 5G a Market-Maker or Myth" included representatives from both partner businesses and service providers giving their take on what agents and MSPs should do now to effectively sell 5G technology.
Anderson wasn't the only editor I polled. Our MSP 501 editor, Allison Francis, was jazzed about a couple of sessions. Not surprisingly, one was "Channel Futures MSP 501: Market Outlook & Perspectives," which she moderated.
“This was a great discussion with several MSP 501 winners where we chatted about the critical issues they are facing in 2021 due to the tumultuous year that was 2020," Francis said. "The group shared their plans for accelerating growth and what the future holds for their customers and partners. To note, Channel Futures is now accepting applications for the 2021 MSP 501 list.”
She also found value in "An Honest Conversation About How Channel Partners and Vendors Need to Work Together to Win."
I thought this was an extremely valuable and truly honest conversation around partner and vendor relationships. Heather Harlos of Bitdefender made the great point that customers care most about the business problem you're solving. It matters less about the technology and/or vendor; it’s about the value you bring to the end user, and being a resource. Furthermore, Datto's Rob Rae said it’s important to always strive for a true, sincere partnership. He said it’s good to remind ourselves that we are truly in this together. 'If you succeed, we succeed; if you fail, we fail.' It is a two-way relationship."
Managing editor Buffy Naylor pointed to “Emotional IQ: How to Measure Customer Emotion Through Mobile Feedback” as a favorite.
"Apptentive's Robi Ganguly presented a number of valuable insights and some practical applications of metrics for staying aligned with the customer," said Naylor.
The day concluded with concurrent award ceremonies. We unveiled our 2021 Excellence in Digital Services winners and recognized our NextGen 101 honorees. You also got inside the heads of some of our legacy Circle of Excellence members. That's one news editor Edward Gately really liked.
"Not only was it interesting to hear from the winners about their plans for this year, but we learned some personal things about them. Dell Technologies’ Lucas Chaya del Pino used to be a professional rally car driver in Argentina," Gately noted. "That was long before his days in the channel. Now that was cool."
A personal favorite of mine was our Diversity & Inclusion Meet-Up. We got to hear about the various efforts in the channel to promote D&I.
Day three isn't a day to sit back and absorb what you've learned. Save that for Friday. We have a full slate Thursday, ending on polar opposites of the business spectrum.
It starts with a serious discussion of financial performance and business expectations courtesy Maximity's Tracy Pound. She will help you learn to buck trends that can damage not only your business, but customer relationships. The day ends with a special treat — an improv comedy performance from Chicago's world-famous Second City.
In between, you'll get to hear from our 2021 class of Channel Influencers, including Influencer of the Year, Jay McBain of Forrester. Then, be sure to tune into our session on social selling. It's a tactic you'll increasingly need to succeed in the channel. For a full look at the agenda, go here.
Get some sleep tonight. You're going to need it!