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VARs are always telling vendors what to do. Now it's payback time. Where do you think VARs could do a better job?
Burch: There are 10 million new companies born in the last four years. A lot of those companies have modern ways of thinking, but the sense that security is a problem isn't there. Two-thirds of those companies think they're well protected, but 75 percent of companies that have been around have had some sort of incursion. You need to help those companies understand your role to protect that critical environment and not have an outage.
Cahill: We need to raise the end-user conversation. There's a boatload of refresh opportunities to replace Generation 5 boxes with Gen 8. But to get beyond that siloed approach and raise the level of conversation, you have to talk converged infrastructure and ultimately make the data center simpler. That doesn't necessarily mean you need to sell full-blown cloud environment every time, but if you're not having that conversation someone else is.
Tran: Since we're launching all these Windows 8 products, the training and certification aspect of it [is vital]. Be prepared to have conversations. Be proactive with customers vs. having a customer see a commercial or an ad in a magazine and ask about it. Leverage the resources we have. Just in my group, we're doing over 300 different events in probably every hometown here. Let's make sure we get you partnered up and trained up.
What does it take for a reseller to become a leader and get on the radar screen of a vendor?
Simon: The first thing is gain a trusted advisor relationship with clients. We're not asking you to become video conferencing experts. We don't want you all to be video conferencing experts. We want you to have conversations around business problems. If you do that, you can come to us and say this is all the problems [a customer] is having and then we can tell you what the technical answer is. Don't say "We don't know firewalls or video algorithms." We as an industry have made it ridiculously complicated. It should be about biz problems and solutions.
Abplanalp: Have a plan. You've got to know what you're good at. Build from there.
Tran: It does come down to relationships. I'm a huge believer with customers but also with Microsoft partners. We have different programs for you to get involved in. When I think of leadership in this space, I think cloud. We're being visionaries to deploy things like Office 365. You should too.
Cahill: Having expertise and knowledge around what you're good at is important. The question is a good one. There are thousands of resellers out there. How do you raise your level of awareness to help us understand what you can do? How we're structured now in the field, the expectation is that the regional leader will get closer to partners, compared to the way we had organized in the past. That will help us all. Sometimes it's as simple as sending a ring-the-bell email to help us understand what sold, how you did it and where you want to go next.
Murai: The 80-20 rule is going to apply. Those few resellers that do high volume will get attention. But I do see small resellers get attention. Those that put up their hand and say "I want to partner with you. I want to put in the effort to develop a relationship." Second, a number of vendor partners have specific areas of focus that are strategic to their overall business. You may not be the biggest partner, but if you focus on some specific areas, you can get that attention.