Is this a pivotal moment?

Image courtesy of https://www.dreamstime.com/farbentek_info

#COVIDー19 has caused mass disruption to every area of our society and we’re seeing major gatherings being understandably cancelled or with very poor attendance. We’re also seeing businesses taking decisions to stop their employees from traveling, even into the office. As a result, we’re all turning to alternative means to come together and unsurprisingly, vendors of said technologies are offering tactical solutions for those who are not well equipped. For many this will be little more than “business as usual”, but for significant numbers, this will be a massive change. The nature of the enforced change causes me to wonder if this will perhaps prove to be a very pivotal moment in history, when video calling and video conferencing, and collaboration realty comes of age…. Time will tell

How Koopid.Ai are disrupting the Contact Centre space

Here’s a short video explainer for Koopid.ai – and we’re exhibiting at the Call and Contact Centre Expo at the Excel on March 18th and 19th, so please come and say hello and learn more. This could be what your customers have been waiting for.

Want to chat? Then call us on 0800 999 1882 or mail me graham@koopid.ai

Thanks for reading and hope to connect soon

Podcast Episode #1 – Aligning sales and marketing, and entering a new market

Listen to Sales & Marketing – Aligned for success – Podcast #1 by Graham Bunting & Dave Pitts from Trust Business Partners on #SoundCloud Delivered in partnership with Nigel and Liz from SalesXchange

Inaugural #Podcast for Dave and Graham of trust business partners

Finding customers for your products, or products for your customers?

We all know that it’s smarter and easier to offer more solutions to your current customers than to seek out new clients who don’t yet know you and what you stand for.

It costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one

With this in mind, I’m introducing a few ideas that you may be interested in adding to your mix….

Introducing Vgreet from Ascentae – a new distributor focussed on disruptive technology

Video conferencing combined with content management
Vgreet is one of Vpod’s state of the art technology products offering a more human way of communicating with customers, clients and colleagues. The solution uses video conferencing technology combined with Vpod’s unique content management software and enables deployment of video/audio while simultaneously displaying content, similar to a super-sized smartphone. Every business can now have an incredibly flexible communications solution with intuitive touch-screen technology that is immediately familiar to anyone who owns a smart device

Video conferencing combined with content management

Vgreet is one of Vpod’s state of the art technology products offering a more human way of communicating with customers, clients and colleagues. The solution uses video conferencing technology combined with Vpod’s unique content management software and enables deployment of video/audio while simultaneously displaying content, similar to a super-sized smartphone. Every business can now have an incredibly flexible communications solution with intuitive touch-screen technology that is immediately familiar to anyone who owns a smart device

Video communication kiosk

Imagine a giant smartphone placed in a prominent position customised to display your own branded interactive content. Imagine the unlimited face to face interactive opportunities that could bring to your business. That’s what you get with Vgreet. A free-standing or recessed video communications kiosk that enables deployment of video and audio while simultaneously displaying content.

Growing my business is hard

I’d start from the premise of aiming to sell more things to more people. In practice this can result in a range of actions. One of those can be a cooperative sales motion and one could be to expand your portfolio, so that your clients can source multiple products and services from you. If they’ve already bought, they’re likely to buy from you again. Cooperative selling is where you’re partnering with another similar business with complementary offerings and you simply look to sell to each others’ client. I’m seeing a marked increase in this latter approach.

If you a bereft of ideas or simply feel are stuck – drop me a line. Always happy to help

How do I stay on top of the constant changes?

#TrustInPartnership

Whatever your perspective, I think we would all probably agree, that for the IT and Telecoms reseller, things have certainly changed, and continue to do so. The vendor landscape continues to evolve too, with new vendors appearing, with innovative offerings, and many established vendors consolidating as they vie for position in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

For the consumers of the technology (the customers), things are forever changing too. Factors affecting their businesses are arriving at such a pace, and with their business cost base being under constant pressure, many are running on very lean staffing numbers. This compounds to effect somewhat.

What we have is more change and a greater pace of change, more vendors, more innovation, fewer staff, greater challenges and the same amount of time in each and every day.

How does a business stay on top of all of this and remain current with technology that can give them an advantage, or stop them being exposed, as well as attract and retain staff as a great place to work.

In life, and in business, for me, it’s about relationships – building trusted relationships, where over time you can outsource some of this to a specialist or specialists – ensuring you can focus on the business of running your business – and generally, the smaller specialist businesses are more likely to offer you the long term relationship building opportunity, as they are more often than not, owner-run and they are therefore unlikely to leave the business to work at a competitor, leaving you with the what to do dilema.

#ShopLocal #BuyLocal #SupportLocal #TrustInPartnerships

Accreditation – A burden or a blessing

Vendor accreditation programmes – who are they really for?

1. Customers?
2. Channel partners?
3. Vendors?
4. All three?

Why does a customer care if their supplier is accredited by the vendor of the product, solution or service?
Why does a channel partner care whether they are Bronze, Silver, or Gold certified?
Why does the vendor need to create training and certification material, courses, tests etc?

It all sounds a lot of work, so why does anyone bother?

There must be some significant value in order to motivate everyone to care enough to get engaged – so what is it?

Customers are what this is all about! Customers require good advice from well informed representatives from the channel community and the channel community cannot rely on the resources of the vendor at every engagement they have, so the channel partners need to become equally well informed – This requires training and testing, which is great for the vendor, because they end up with well informed channel partners representing them and provides the scale required to develop more market coverage. In addition, an accreditation programme usually has a volume\revenue related metric, which rewards the successful sales partner – more of a value component than a quality component and an often thorny topic for engineering heavy partners with lots of skills but not too many new sales. Customers are usually able to see for themselves what partner accreditations are for channels and select based on a value\quality blend. In reality most customers want to know they will be well looked after rather than well sold to.
For the vendor, an accreditation programme provides a sense for channel partner commitment levels and focus on their portfolio, and training enables current knowledge to be maintained and product knowledge to be broadly well ingrained. The more a channel partner commits to one vendor programme, the less time and resources they will have for competing offers – stands to reason. So vendors see this as an important dynamic for developing partner commitments. Ultimately this enables scale and quality delivery for the customers and commitment for the vendor, with the reseller having the ability to wrap services and complementary products to their solution.

Practice (alone) does not make perfect

Like all walks of life – work, sport, school – if you are practicing the wrong things, or the wrong way of doing something, you are simply repeating your errors over and over – frustrating and clearly limiting your success.

So how do you stay on track with the right things to practice? Clearly a good start point is to exercise good self discipline. This is the foundation for any personal development. Thinking that the issue is “not my fault” and the issue is caused by something “out there somewhere” is a sure fire way to have reduced control of your life. The first step therefore is to take control of yourself and your discipline including your thoughts and “self-talk”. Be sure to catch yourself talking positively with a “can do” attitude, and stop the cannot do and self limiting speak.
Finding a good coach is a smart step too – whether this is within your current role or an objective outsider. A good coach understands that as an individual, you already have all the necessary resources available to you, but they are the difference, that makes the difference.
For example, if I’m playing golf and struggling to get the results I desire, it probably makes sense to have a coach watch what I do in order to help reflect the areas for improvement – I recall this very real example where the golf pro explained to me (after watching me for a while) that he saw the problem with my game. He noted that I was trying to hit the ball…. Seemed initially to be a ridiculous comment…on closer inspection however, he was absolutely right. He went on to explain to me that if I swing the club, the club will hit the ball…. He moved my focus away from my desire to knock the ball into next week (and missing badly), into simply swinging the club accurately and all would work out.. On this occasion, I saw an instant improvement, but of course, the challenge is to keep making those improvements regularly and being consistent. This is something that your coach can bring to your performance.
This same coaching approach will produce a similar effect in sales. The challenge is that many sales managers and business owners are not well equipped to fulfill his role, so your best option is to find an external coach and develop the right habits.

Transformation – things have changed

Digital transformation means many different things to different people and there is a glut of offerings in the market currently that promise you a life of luxury if you take their latest solution for your transformation journey. One of the most impactful solutions that I have witnessed is one I will write about here; It’s from a vendor called Nureva and is available exclusively here in the UK from distributor Ascentae.

Nureva Span is a cloud-based software (and hardware) solution – simply a licence that enables collaboration on any device anywhere you can connect to the internet.

So what?

Well this is the really cool part (as if that wasn’t already cool enough) – Span is a virtual canvas – a virtual white board that allows users from wherever they are, to write, draw, or place virtual Post-IT™ notes onto the virtual board. Share desktop content, add comments with virtual INK, and even follow other users who are leading a discussion – so you are quite literally ALL ON THE SAME PAGE. All users connected to the “canvas” see all of added content and contributions, as you would if you were all in the same office sticking physical notes onto a physical wall and writing comments with a marker pen.

Because this is a virtual canvas, there is no issue with Post-IT™ notes falling off the wall, or the issue that many security conscious business experience, in that the physical office with the physical Post-IT™ notes must be secured when empty and cannot be accessed….. With Span, you simply close the canvas and it is secure.

Take this to another level, and SPAN can be used on physical touch screen panels – multiple panels connected in software to provide a scrolling wall covering of virtual canvas. Huge real-estate for collaborators to work together on, in the same location, joined by remote participants in other locations with similar hardware components, or sat on a lounger connected via Wi-Fi or 4G on an iPad or similar device…..

This opens so many possibilities for commercial enterprises as well as for education – imagine a collaboration session finishing without the need to take your smartphone and take photos of the walls for some poor sole to spend several hours deciphering and writing up to share amongst the collaborators – That is digital transformation

Interested to learn more or perhaps have a demonstration – then drop me a note and I’ll be happy to arrange

Sales – Art or science?

Selling – is it an art or a science? not giving in

In truth, it’s both. The process of a non- customer becoming a customer through their buying process, has a bucket full of potential twists and turns to arrive as a new customer to your enterprise.

The science of selling is in the planning and understanding of how to get from where you are, to where you want to be. How you reach your target audience and what will attract them to your online presence (the NEW Shop window). The art component is to do with your engagement with the potential customer.

However you consider customer acquisition, you need to attract or find new ones and take care of and nurture the ones you already have. Rest assured that someone will be trying to lure your customers away from you, just as you are attempting to encourage new customers into your care.

The one universal truth is that this does all take some time, so do not expect to have orders rolling in because you have launched your web site or because you have received 3 inquires this week. Building your business is a long game, so stay ambitious but realistic and keep trusting the process, and above all be persistent and professional.