Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fish Tank Sales Timer

I have a fish tank in my office, I have for years. I love the way the sound of the bubbles and water can help be de-stress my day. It is a great sales tool reminder too.

How is that you say? Well, it gets dirty. What do you have to do when a tank gets dirty? Clean it, right. Every time I clean my tank, I also clean my sales pipeline.

Having something that has to be done on a regular schedule that is right in front of my face every day, helps me. So think of my fish tank as a giant sales timer that helps me clean my deals on a regular basis.

Your fish tank might be golf, or bowling, or emptying the trash, or paying bills, but tying need to do tasks to want to do tasks makes sure everything gets done.

Time to feed my timers…

Monday, January 30, 2012

Marketing Up With The Joneses

We all know about keeping up with the Joneses. I don’t know if you have seen the movie, The Joneses. I linked to it if you haven’t.

It is all about creating demand by selling the dream. That, and staying true to yourself, but we’ll save that part for another blog. How do you market? How do you measure it? Are you tracking all of it?

Even the “ripple” effect? The intangible marketing that your employees do every time they meet with, talk to, or interact with anyone? Believe me, this does more than any radio ad you have ever run.

Sell the dream of whatever you sell, every time, everywhere, everyone.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Big Extended Dysfunctional Family

Or I could have called this blog, connectors in your life. Or don't F people, karma works. Because I have seen an overwhelming response from the channel.

Most of you who read my blog know I lost my latest gig recently. I did what I do, I talked about it, in my blog, on Facebook, on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, email, text, hell I may have even spoken to someone about it. And the response from everyone has been amazing.

As most of you know I am a positive person. I believe things happen for reasons and you are more likely to see your next greatest thing with your chin up. I have talked to people who told me they heard from multiple people that they should speak to me. This type of story is helping carry me through.

Where did all these great people come from? While I’m not sure I deserve them, I think I earned them by being their friend when they needed one. Connecting someone here, an idea there, passing a lead, taking a call, showing someone how, telling what I know, and generally just being one of the big extended dysfunctional family that is the SMB community.

Thank you all and keep it coming, by the way, Mom loves me best.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Training Trust

Or is it trust training? What I’m asking is how do you train people in your business? It the training forced on them? Required? Offered? Not offered? What type of training is it? On-site? Live? Web based? Who delivers it? Internal person? Unknown company? Nationally known person? Computer?

Is there a trust between you and your employees that there is training provided that is worthwhile? Additionally, is the training beneficial to them and the company?

It is very hard to mandate training that is only helpful to the company and to get full participation by your staff. However if you combine quality training that will build the employees personal skill level with company specific training your get attention and trust.

If the employees can trust their training, you can train their trust.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paper, Plastic, or Private?

Does your local supermarket offer a discount card? You know, swipe your card and get a discount on your pork and beans. Do you know what the supermarket does with your card swipe? Makes money, that’s what.

They take that data about the shopping cart full of food fun you just bought, yes even those items, and build a database based on certain demographic data about you and your family. They then sell or trade that data to the food producers and distributers.

So have you read about the change in Google’s privacy statement? You can read it here. They are going to do the same thing as your grocery store. Collect data and sell it. Really what they have been doing. By tracking what you do, they make your searches more relevant. Sharing this data with advertisers should make your ads more relevant.

So do you want paper, plastic, or private?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The State of Your Business

Tonight the President will give the State of the Union Speech. Well, to be accurate he will give the State of the Union as he sees it Speech. Which begs the question, do you do the same with your business?

Objectivity is a hard thing to have when looking at yourself. For most of us, our business is us. So looking at our business is just as hard as looking at ourselves objectively. So hard in fact we spend lots and lots of money to join peer groups or hire consultants to be honest for us.

Believe me, I’m not saying not to do those things, in fact I encourage it. But before you spend a dime to get someone else’s honest opinion, give your own honest opinion.

Do you feel a little sick to your stomach hearing what you said? No? Go back and do it again, more honest. Think like your spouse. There, you got it. Now when you pay someone to give their opinion, you have something honest to compare it too.

Be sure to give the opposition their rebuttal as well.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Can’t Consult if You Can’t Converse

I said this in a comment on my friend Kate Hunt’s
blog, Looks Cloudy. It is a post about a sales person learning enough about their industry to ask their prospects. “How can I help you”?

It is not possible for you to do consultative sales if you do not know the industry or products. If you can’t carry on a conversation about their industry, how can you talk to them to sell them?

I am not a believer that sales people need to know everything about the product and the industry, but they do need to know enough to speak with the client.

They first have to be able to have a conversation with the client if they ever want to sell to them.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On a Personal Note, Part Two

It was less than 2 months ago that I shared the news with you that I had decided to pursue a new career, leaving Autotask after nearly 6 years to join Bradford Networks.

The decision for me was not an easy one, as I had built many friendships and ties into Autotask, their customers, and the industry, but I felt the need to grow personally and professionally.

The great news was that I would get to build a brand new channel with my friends and peers in the MSP/IT Services space. This was a true win win for me.

The more I explored the needs of the SMB channel for the security features that a NAC solution could offer, compliance checks, guest management, dynamic vLans, etc.,  I saw a huge potential for Bradford and the channel as I have shared with many of you.

Sadly,I am no longer with Bradford.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I saw, and still see, such a need, as well as a business case for these solutions in our marketplace and for our customers.

My biggest disappointment? Not being given the chance to fail. By that I don’t mean that I would have failed, in fact I think it would have been a huge win, but the chance. Isn’t that all any of us want? A chance. To win or lose, succeed or fail, but just a chance.

This has left me with a hunger, a feeling of incompleteness that feels worse than failure. I have been feeding that hunger with lessons learned, the good and bad. So as in all things in life, the only path worth taking leads forward.

Now it is time to get back to work and feed that hunger with a new challenge, a new goal, a new position.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Changes happen everyday. Whether we want them, or cause them, or deny them, they happen. So the best we can hope for is to deal with them.

Change is a good healthy thing. This view is not normally seen until sometime in the future. I bet if you look back at most major changes in your life, they helped you grow.

When we make a change, it is better than when a change happens to us. At least it seems that way to me. It gives us that illusion of control. The biggest defense we have against change is choice.

We get to choose. Sometimes this choice causes change, and sometimes the choice deals with change, but the choice is our control.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Story…Part III

Or part 4, or 5… or part whatever, when does it get better? Does it ever make part 1 better, or more complete? So in movies as in life. Rarely is part 2 better than the original.

So when planning on a demo for your prospect, how many remakes or sequels are you going to make them sit through to get to the good part? Does adding more make it better? Don’t bet on it.
When planning your demo:

Plan on the story you need to tell to get the business. If you don’t have a good story to tell, don’t expect to make any money at the box office.
Get the best actors you can. Use the best people, some of your salespeople are just better presenters, use them and figure out the comp.

Never forget there is only one director, and there has to be at least one. Someone needs to be in charge, and ready to yell cut when an actor is getting out of character.
You have one take. That is all you can plan on. If you do get a sequel, add to the story you told in part one, don’t start introducing laser firing vampire aliens just because you think it is cool.  

In short, take your best storyline, match it with your best actors, use a great director, and nail it in one take.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Generally there are two schools of thought when it comes to winning. You won or you failed, or we are all winners. I’ll offer another option. To not try is to fail, to not achieve is to not win. Anti-failure.

So the phrase Anti-failure has meaning to me. Success is never a given. Even with 100% effort, focus and desire, the plan may not succeed. Is this a failure? I say no, I say it is an Anti-failure.

Failure is giving up. Never trying to better yourself. Never striving for more. Being content with what life hands you, now that is failure. So the opposite of that? Pushing, strengthening, striving, driving, that is all Anti-failure.

So I choose an Anti-Failure life where I may fall short, I may skin my knees, I may not win, but I will not concede.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Inspecting Belly Buttons

The last couple of days my company has been doing our QBR (Quarterly Business Review). This is a great exercise for a company, and specifically a department to show and tell the good and the bad. The successes and failures and most importantly, lessons learned.

Do you do this in your business? No matter how big or how small your business, this should be a cornerstone of what you do. each member of the team should have individual goals that they should be accountable to to their team. The team should be accountable to the department, and the departments to the company as a whole.

Lessons learned is also a key part. Knowledge share in a company is a key way to grow success. Don’t make every department learn their own lessons. Share Failure to grow success.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Is CES Relevant?

There has been a lot of buzz about the validity of the Computer Electronics Show now that Microsoft is pulling out of this event. This is a couple of years after Apple stopped going to CES and started launching their own products at their own events. So does CES matter?

Of course it does. The main reason it matters is that we are talking about it right now. I think it matters less as a launching pad for the big vendors, but the start-ups and up and comers it give a lot of exposure to the media that they can’t get otherwise.

My Google+ feed has been full of CES news and next big things. The most interesting to me? Waterproof electronics. Really when it comes to personal electronics water is the number one killer. A company Liquipel has developed a nanotechnology-based coating that can make your electronic devices waterproof for around $69.

Want to get noticed? make a phone that you can drop in the pool, or take to the beach without a ziplock. Now that is a magical device.

Monday, January 9, 2012

iPhone Turns 5 Today

“Every once in awhile a revolutionary product come along that changes everything” - Steve Jobs. Steve said this during the Macworld Conference & Expo in 2007. I think he was more right than even he could have guessed at that time.

Keep in mind that the Motorola Q, Palm Treo, Blackberry, and Nokia E62 were the leading “smart” phones at the time. These we a very good blend between a PDA and a phone, very usable. I had an E62 and thought the ability to get email and “search” the Internet was amazing, even though I was getting text based results that reminded me of when I was using my 300 BPS modem and CompuServe.

Once the iPhone was released, nothing in the Mobile phone industry was the same. What was considered acceptable screen resolution, interface design, data access, would never be the same. In addition things like infrastructure updates that would need to be made due to the data requirements of these devices. New products like Google’s Android were created because of it and some products like RIM’s Blackberry is dying.

Love it or hate it, the iPhone has changed everything.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Brand your Marketing and Marketing your Brand

Had a great discussion with my VP of marketing today. He helped me remember a key thing. A bunch of small unimpressive voices singing the same song is a choir, even a few world class singers singing different songs just sound like noise.

What does this mean? Stay on message. Pick your go to market brand message and stick to it. If you have too many different messages all your intended audience will hear is noise.

This doesn’t mean only have one person or one voice, but have one message. You may have an official Corp blog, but you may also have several additional personalities in your company blog as well. each in their own voice, each from their own point of view, all from their heart, but also all on message.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year New Post

This is my first post of the new year, even though it is the 4th day of the month. What does that mean? I’ve been damn busy. Most of you know I took a new position at the end of 2011, let me tell you a little more about that and how it fits my predictions for 2012.

2011 worked out the way I saw it, more cannibalization, more competition, more mergers, less profit. None of those issues were caused by the big guys. Microsoft didn’t screw the MSP with 365, Google didn’t put you out of business with a Chromebook, Dell didn’t sell to all your customers. The MSPs need to look in the mirror to see the problem. Too much setting prices without knowing costs.

So my predictions for 2012? Some of these trends will continue, especially in Mergers and acquisitions. Small guys want to get big, big guys want to get bigger, customer wants it cheaper. Security will go to the front of the new trends, especially in the mobility segment. MDM will get pushed hard by vendors, and not add as much true network security as we need.

So why am I so busy? The position I took with Bradford Networks is growing our partner base in the MSP and SMB space for our Bradford.cloud SaaS NAC offering. The interest has been more than we can keep up with, and we are not even out in the channel yet.

The ability to help partners add and deliver enterprise grade NAC to their clients put Bradford on the leading edge of the mobility security concerns. These are concerns that current solutions cannot meet.

So feel free to contact me if you believe you need to add NAC security to your offerings, and add to my workload.