Convey's Channel Partner MicroCast

March Madness in the Channel

March 24, 2021 Convey Services Season 1 Episode 46
Convey's Channel Partner MicroCast
March Madness in the Channel
Chapters
Convey's Channel Partner MicroCast
March Madness in the Channel
Mar 24, 2021 Season 1 Episode 46
Convey Services

It’s Been March Madness in the Channel

Convey Channel Podcast Series

 I’ll admit that I’m not into basketball, but I do love watching Sister Jean on the sidelines, seeing the Cinderella teams knock out the top seeds, and enjoying the college kids having their moments of glory on the court.  For those of you that like history, the term March Madness came on the scene all the way back in 1939 when it was used to refer to Henry Porter, an Indiana basketball official.  But we all know it from legendary sports commentator Brent Musberger who used it to describe the 1982 college tournament.

 So why do we call this tournament, March Madness?  The real answer is that what we expect to happen and who is going to win never really happens.  Powerful teams lose; games end in thrilling and unexpected ways, and there never seems a way to predict the outcome.

Perhaps we should use “2020 Madness” to describe the last year we’ve had in the channel.  Before COVID we knew what to expect, what services to focus on and who to sell them to, but then 2020 Madness kicked in.  Let’s look at what’s changed in the last year.

Have questions? We would love to help, get in Touch »

Show Notes Transcript

It’s Been March Madness in the Channel

Convey Channel Podcast Series

 I’ll admit that I’m not into basketball, but I do love watching Sister Jean on the sidelines, seeing the Cinderella teams knock out the top seeds, and enjoying the college kids having their moments of glory on the court.  For those of you that like history, the term March Madness came on the scene all the way back in 1939 when it was used to refer to Henry Porter, an Indiana basketball official.  But we all know it from legendary sports commentator Brent Musberger who used it to describe the 1982 college tournament.

 So why do we call this tournament, March Madness?  The real answer is that what we expect to happen and who is going to win never really happens.  Powerful teams lose; games end in thrilling and unexpected ways, and there never seems a way to predict the outcome.

Perhaps we should use “2020 Madness” to describe the last year we’ve had in the channel.  Before COVID we knew what to expect, what services to focus on and who to sell them to, but then 2020 Madness kicked in.  Let’s look at what’s changed in the last year.

Have questions? We would love to help, get in Touch »

It’s Been March Madness in the Channel

Convey Channel Podcast Series

 

I’ll admit that I’m not into basketball, but I do love watching Sister Jean on the sidelines, seeing the Cinderella teams knock out the top seeds, and enjoying the college kids having their moments of glory on the court.  For those of you that like history, the term March Madness came on the scene all the way back in 1939 when it was used to refer to Henry Porter, an Indiana basketball official.  But we all know it from legendary sports commentator Brent Musberger who used it to describe the 1982 college tournament.

 

So why do we call this tournament, March Madness?  The real answer is that what we expect to happen and who is going to win never really happens.  Powerful teams lose; games end in thrilling and unexpected ways, and there never seems a way to predict the outcome.

 

Perhaps we should use “2020 Madness” to describe the last year we’ve had in the channel.  Before COVID we knew what to expect, what services to focus on and who to sell them to, but then 2020 Madness kicked in.  Let’s look at what’s changed in the last year.

 

Buying and Selling Frenzy

For the first time in the history of the channel, mergers and acquisitions were not just between carriers and vendors, but also applied to master agencies, managed services providers and agencies.  We’ve grown to expect network providers to snap up companies to enhance their product portfolio with higher margin services like Verizon’s purchase of BlueJeans Networks.   But most of us never expected that agencies and MSPs would be part of the M&A frenzy.  

 

A few years ago, X4 Solutions became one of the first master agencies to achieve a profitable exit, but they were relatively unique.  Fast forward and we’ve seen buyouts, roll ups and consolidations with players like AppSmart snapping up large and small master agencies and MSPs in a roll up of long-time channel players like MicroCorp and Telegration.

 

Change in Partner Engagement

The channel has a long history of connecting at regional partner events, on the golf course or at shows to foster relationships between partner and provider.  2020 kept us at home, behind our computer screens and finding new ways to make those connections.  Many of the virtual events we attended in the channel failed to live up to the understanding that making personal connections, even ones that are virtual, was still the most important part of engaging sales partners.

 

Hard Pivot to Digital

Normally when you create a new contact center strategy, re-deploy some of your workers to their home office, or make changes in your network configuration, you have the time to plan, build and execute.  But in 2020, the channel had to face assisting a customer base whose offices and call centers were open one week and closed the next.  The hard pivot to digital forced everyone to scramble, learn new technologies and compensate for an entirely remote workforce.

 

Move from the Physical Infrastructure

I’m sure you would hate being a commercial real estate company or agent right now that industry analysts predict a shrinking of the fixed office space in favor of work from home environments.  In fact, over 42 million square feet of office space were put on the market in the last two quarters of 2020.  In my hometown of Atlanta, big companies like Home Depot are not even considering office reopens this year and perhaps will modify how much office space their corporate and regional workforce needs.

 

I just listened in on one of our customer’s virtual events where the acting chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission talked about the accelerated need to connect our communities to high-speed internet and the new government’s commitment to expedite that process.  The channel has had to find new ways to connect people from home instead of the office.

 

Industry Disruption

If channel sellers made a living selling to restaurant chains, providing network for retailers, serving the medical industry or local and state governments, each and every one of those markets had dramatic changes because of the pandemic.  The questions we had to ask ourselves were:

·       What do our customers need in 2020?

·       Will they come back in 2021?

·       If they come back, how will their industry be different?

·       And what does this mean to me as their channel partner?

 

Takeaways

March Madness is always fun to watch, but 2020 Pandemic Madness can send the bravest of business people and channel professionals into a tailspin.  We’ve seen the master agents we have known over the years being absorbed into roll ups, the thirst for bandwidth even in the most remote markets, and the exodus of the workforce from their corporate office to the desk in their bedroom.  We’ve had to stretch our skills in building relationships and find new ways to connect virtually.  

 

But even as we think about 2020 as business and channel madness, we also should be looking at the other side of the coin to discover the opportunities that resulted.  We’ve seen new services emerge, customers needing our consulting services more than ever, and markets like healthcare embrace telehealth to increase their ability to serve patients that can’t come to the doctor’s office.

 

In May, we’re going to explore the Channel Madness of 2020, the lessons we learned and what our next normal looks like in the channel at Cloud Conventions 2021, a virtual tradeshow that our organization Convey is producing.  I promise it will be different than anything you’ve seen.  Change is now measured in months not years, and we can come out of this as a strong, much more relevant channel than ever before.