Archives For Channel Management

Tuesday We Heard From Prakash Panjwani – Moving to Security is not an option for Technology MSPs and Resellers…

Here are a few comments as I get ready to go on stage in Miami, at the WatchGuard Apogee Event – WatchGuard’s annual partner event for the Americas…

© 2018, David Stelzl


Make the Move!

Make the Move!

Earlier this week Ingram Micro – distributor for all kinds of technology, sponsored a webinar on Moving From Vendor to Adviser – for it’s technology resellers.  In my book, I talk about at least 12 things resellers need to start doing if they want to remain relevant in the coming years. In this 50 Minute webinar I provide five key things to start doing and relate them to information security.



  • Becoming a risk adviser to the companies you serve
  • Conducting effective demand generation programs (See my recent ebook on Event Marketing)
  • Implementing the secrets of high-priced consultants
  • Using value-based pricing strategies – no more block time or time and materials.
  • Redefining the way you approach the proposal process – writing great proposals that actually close business.

Also, make sure you have a copy of my book, The House & the Cloud – available on this blog sidebar for free – in PDF format.

© 2013, David Stelzl

This week I’ve had the opportunity to work with several clients in person and through my coaching program on building their event marketing strategy.  It doesn’t matter what size company you call on, or what verticals you might be focused on, mastering this process will help you take your business to the next level…rethink your marketing strategy for 2013!

Event Marketing

We’ve all been to lunch & learn events…most of them seem to be a waste of time.  Rarely do I meet a reseller who can tell me their actual return on investment on these events. JMF (Joint Marketing Funds) is drying up for many companies simply because resllers have not produced the required results.  Yet, over the past 8 years, marketing events have produced more business than anything else I can point to – when done correctly.

Traditional selling has expensive sales people driving across town, and many times out of town, for a single meeting.  Half the day, and sometimes an entire day spent, just to find out the client is not ready, or is looking at a cheaper option.  There has to be a better way – an there is!

My Latest Book

This year I decided to take the last ten years of marketing event experience and boil it down into one simple ebook.  Clear steps of action, showing my readers exactly how to design an event that works.  The first section begins with a call to re-engineer the old-fashioned Lunch & Learn.  I redefine it, break it down to it’s core elements, and show how to reconstruct it.  Some of the things you’ll find:

  • Who to invite – but more importantly, how to get them there.  This is not theory – I’ll show you exactly how we are getting the right people to an event.  Imagine having your prospects come to you!
  • How to create an offer they can’t refuse.  There is only one thing an economic buyer will buy without consulting their IT department.  I’ll show you what it is and how to build it.
  • What to present.  I see these events with all kinds of presentations and speakers.  There are only a few things that will entice an executive to leave their office mid day…I’ll show you what to present, and how to present it.
  • Marketing – most of the event descriptions out there are boring and ineffective.  That’s because we are taking the wrong approach.  This book shows you how to market an event in a way that will grab the attention of business leaders.
  • I will show you how to guarantee three meetings with an economic buyer – how can one event guarantee three meeting?  Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
  • The follow up program is where your return on investment really comes in.  If you fail to do one important thing, your event will fail.  I will show you who to call, how to call them, and what steps to take.  More importantly, I’ll share with you a secret that will multiply your business far beyond any event you’ve ever seen.

But wait – there’s more.  I am also planning to conduct an online workshop using this material.  I want every reseller out their to get this.  I know their is a better way to approach the market.  This is my passion – to create something new; to  think outside the box.  My hope is that this book will inspire you to really grow your business this fall.  The book is nearly complete, and since this one is an ebook, I won’t have to wait on printers and proof copies.  Stay tuned…I’ll be announcing release dates shortly!

© 2012, David Stelzl


Good Sales People Won’t Stand On Unemployment Lines

Talking with my son the other day (he’s sixteen right now), I was telling him, “Regardless of what you do in life, learn how to sell”. Unemployment numbers are high in the US, yet all of my clients are looking for sales people!  So there are jobs, but not jobs for just anyone….there is always a job for an excellent sales person.

Here’s the problem…

If you have great sales people, make sure they are happy!  Here’s a trend I run across frequently, and today is no exception.  I was talking with a top sales person for a large high-tech company this morning (one everyone who know the name of).  His sales last year were great – many of the reps I see on a daily basis would give a lot for the accounts this guy calls on, and would be living well if they closed the business he closed last year.  But 2011 is over, and 2012 is on us – so as you might have guessed, his quota is higher.

Raising quota is normal, so neither one of us are surprised.  The problem is, his management feels like they should double his quota, not because it’s low (and in fact it is far from low), but because he did well.  He shared with me, that the remaining money to be collected on just one of his Q4 deals would have bought a small house in 2011, but with the new comp structure, he can buy a half-decent used car with his Q1 collections.   What’s happening here?

A sales team has big hitters, those with potential, and a handful (which might be big or small) of non-performers.  Sales managers have a hard time letting people go, so instead of promoting large commissions for big winners, they tend to spread the wealth by propping up low performers.  By propping up, I mean setting ridiculously low quotas for one rep, while imposing astronomic quotas on their high-performance colleague.  Helping one person to make enough to live on even if they produce almost nothing, while controlling another’s income because if “just seems to high”.

Why This Never Makes Sense

When this happens, and it happens all the time, the bad performers stay, while the superstars look for new jobs.  For some reason, many sales managers are making choices to have a large sales team of mediocre performers, rather than a smaller team of big hitters.  Big hitters will always outsell the mediocre team – while costing the company far less to maintain – why would they do this.  I believe it’s fear.  It’s hard to fire people, especially when they are great people (great to spend time with on social occasions), with a forecast that always seems to sound good.  Everything is at 50% and is supposed to close next month…but every month, that same list rolls over to the next month.

The Goal Should be…

The goal of the sale team is to sell.  When managers choose to meddle with comp plans rather than replacing low performance sales people, they are making a trade.  It seems easier to change the comp plan, rather than sending someone out on the street in a bad economy.  But the trade off is this…sales managers can either fire the low performers, or the good people will leave.  You can’t have it both ways – you just can’t afford to keep everyone happy.

© 2012, David Stelzl

This afternoon I had the opportunity to present Event Marketing tips to a large group on Webex.  This is such an important topic, it needs more time.  For those who missed it, and perhaps a refresher for those who attended:

1. Getting the right people is both the most important part, and the most difficult part.  But, contrary to what most sales people believe, it is not impossible, and not even as hard as you might think.  It just takes some strategy and time.  While most people don’t really like call scripts, a well rehearsed script can do wonders.  Some have accused me of making this into a robot sounding message, but far from it…you would never accuse Russel Crow or Brad Pitt of reading from a script, but they do it all the time.  It’s just that they have practiced to the point of sounding natural.  The fact is, if they just did their own thing, the movies they are in would fail.  They use a script, but add their own personality to it.  Once practiced, this is not hard to do.

2. Mistakes are common.  I reviewed several serious mistakes even the most sophisticated companies make.  Why do they make them?  Simply because no one is really studying and optimizing this process. One simple mistake is not gaining commitment there in the meeting.  A follow up program that starts an hour after the event will take a 75% response down to a 5% response and you’ll never really know what happened.  You don’t want this to be salesy – but that doesn’t mean you don’t sell anything.  I heard one woman refer to this as the Invisible Close.  By educating attendees, and providing a place for them to get more of what you are talking about, you help them get what they need.  This can be done professionally without sounding like an encyclopedia sales person.  Much more of this is addressed in my audio series – Important topics from Vendor to Adviser…in fact there are 5 hours of critical concepts in this series.

3. Conversion is key.  If you aren’t focused on conversion rate, there is no reason to do this event.  There are customer appreciation dinners, but you don’t really need to spend this kind of time and money on IT level customers…there are a handful of customers that deserve this type of treatment, but not many.  Instead, measure your conversion, and work on building the percentages.  Focus on getting the right people, and test your messaging, repeating the same kind of program over and over.  Make minor changes  – and there are millions of secrets I have discovered, including reducing attrition, getting higher level audiences, using better topics, etc, that draw the right people and increase the rate of conversion.  This is a science, not a hope…don’t be fooled into doing the event for as little as possible.  Make a wise investment and get a strong return.  That is good business.

© 2012, David Stelzl

In yesterday’s post I wrote about list building, as my children diligently work to increase their marketing reach – but how exactly do you grab the attention of new people?

The best way to make an immediate connection is to have something of value to offer.  In the case of my children, they are offering a way to avoid having to think too hard about what to do for the holidays (in this case, what to give a loved one for Valentine’s Day).  Having a handy picture of the treats they sell makes this possible.  Originally my daughter wanted to just list the items, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and the emotional impact of seeing delicious chocolate does wonders for the person considering a purchase.  They must to be able to picture what they are paying for – in fact you want them to be able to picture the experience of handing this gift to their loved one, and receiving praise for having done something really special.

Connecting with a businessperson is no different.  Everyone is looking to succeed in what they are already doing; they are not thinking about helping you make your number.  Do you see the difference?  I think more sales people are out there expecting people to drop what they are doing in order to take a look at some new products or services.  This isn’t the way busy people operate.  They all have jobs; busy jobs; demanding jobs.  No one has time to stop and take a look, and no one really cares about helping you make your number, at least at this point in the relationship.  So what do you have that helps them?  Find out what they are doing and then join them in helping achieve it.

I was talking with a client the other day about partnering with a certain manufacturer.  We were discussing the value of some of these relationships, and comparing them to the lack of value in other reseller relationships.  I mentioned another client of mine who has no full time sales people.  “How do they do it?”, he asked.  They are getting leads from their primary vendor partner.  “How?” he pressed.  “They have become the go-to provider in this city,” I answered.  We then went on to talk through some of his partners.  His technical group has made most of the decisions, purely on features, as to what they sell, but this is not the only qualification.  Vendor partners need to be just that, partners.  In order for that to happen, you must find out what they are doing and join them.  Find out what their numbers are, where they are making their money, and where they are missing.  Then help them figure out how to solve this problem.  Join them by putting together a joint plan to fill in the missing piece.  An immediate connection is made when this happens.

Do the same with businesses that you aim to call on.

If you work on the vendor side (for instance, as a channel manager), the same would be true in recruiting strong partners.  Find out what they working to build, and if you can somehow get involved to help them build their vision, you just might become the product they lead with.  Connecting with people is a simple process of finding out what they are doing, and joining them to help them achieve their goals.  When it fits within your vision, it works, when it doesn’t, the partnership or relationship just doesn’t make sense.

© 2012, David Stelzl