I wrote my intentions for 2020 down on the first day back at work. Be efficient, learn and communicate – it was all a bit fluffy, even by my own admittance.
Two days in and I was packing a bag for a working week in Orlando, Florida. “When are you going on your holiday” everyone would ask, and I would bite. Inside I’m thinking… work hard at school kids, get a good job, be good at it and you too could be packing your sun cream with your laptop. After a few weeks’ family time over Christmas, new year is the perfect time to go on a business trip, soak up some Vitamin D between meetings, and escape the cold, dark mornings. Yet I felt the need to play it down. If anything, family and colleagues should feel sorry for me – I had to put my Dry-Veganuary on hold.
One of ASM’s strategic vendors LogMeIn (now rebranded to ‘GoTo’) had invited us to their 3-day global Sales Kick Off event at Universal Studios. The theme was “Be the Catalyst”. They were embracing Channel Partners in a big way, letting us into their world and treating us like their own.
It’s not easy for a vendor to navigate a multifaceted $Billion business towards the channel. Not least because THE CHANNEL, is not one thing, it is many channels. Traditional channels and shadow channels want differing things from a vendor partner. The old Telecoms channel that is morphing into the UCC (Unified Communications and Collaboration) channel, behaves differently from the CySec (Cyber Security) specialist channel, which differs again from the new emerging/disruptive tech channels pushing the likes of A.I (Artificial Intelligence) and RPA (Robotic Process Automation). It’s horses for courses as the old British proverb goes.
LogMeIn have solutions that fit into each of these channels and more besides. Could “Be the Catalyst” as a theme, be relevant to their direct sales teams AND their channel partners, or is it as fluffy as my own new year’s resolutions? I was just glad not to hear anything like the launch of a Platinum-Gold-Silver Partner Program. Even A.I can surely come up with something more 2020 than that.
Whilst meeting and socialising with the LogMeIners, there was a great sense of team, yet the talks and awards seemed more focused on individual performance. CEO Bill Wagner summed this up quoting the weekends NFL play-off debutant Deshaun Watson saying, “Somebody had to be great – why not me?” Right on theme with being a catalyst. I love a sporting analogy and with that quote, I was ready to be motivated.
COO Marc Van Zadelhoffs catalyst story kept the motivation high with the type of energy and enthusiasm you get at a Microsoft or Apple product launch, living up to his very credible pedigree.
The US high fiving and whooping culture was perfectly counter balanced by the quintessential charm of SVP Worldwide Sales Chris Manton-Jones. LogMeIn’s very own Mr Darcy.
Enter another outsider, Lisa Bodell. She reset my new year’s resolutions within 10 minutes, and those of probably all 1200 people in the room. 1. Ask Killer Questions. 2. Kill a Stupid Rule. 3. Be Chief Simplifier. Then she told us just to try just 1 of these things. She is my kind of influencer.
Evidence of success and future growth was aplenty. The Channel message was effectively ratified with proof of higher AOV’s (Average Order Values) and greater chance of upsell/cross sell when partnering with the channel. They didn’t use the word “stickiness”, but I think it fits well here.
Next up, the channel partners from across the globe were given a glimpse of things to come. It was a soft launch gently easing us into their more cohesive new focus, rather than a grand “ta-da” moment. An immaculate big bang theory of channels colliding to form a new world would’ve been a tough sell. The refreshing theme of the success stories were people and relationship centric rather than too product or channel program heavy. Some role playing was threatened by thankfully avoided.
And so, to beer and cocktails by the pool. Not on the formal agenda, but a welcome choice of location for a breakout meeting with EMEA Channel Sales Director Gerald Byrne and some of his team. I say meeting, but when I was proper belly laughing to the point of tears, it was easy to forget to take minutes!
Universal Studios City Boardwalk and Harry Potter World were exclusively ours for that evening. I say “ours” because I was feeling very much a part of the LogMeIn family by that time.
The second full day of proceedings dived deeper into the varying parts of their business, yet the focus remained deliberately, and refreshingly, on case studies and success stories. Prestigious customers were there to champion the products and the process of engagement. The channel message remained strong.
The final evening was an awards ceremony. After celebrating with the winners and some great conversation, I did the classic escape trip on route to the bar. This time I was not the last man standing – how very sensible of me.
In summary this was an excellently organised event. LogMeIn are an established successful company, who are evolving and innovating. The overriding take-away was that this is a “people” driven business where relationships with customers and partners, and colleagues are key to its success. They communicated their message well and are keen to learn about how the channel can make them more efficient. Perfectly on theme with my own and ASM’s intentions for this year. Well done and thanks to the LogMeIn team.
Account Director – Systems Integrators – [email protected]