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Marching Orders 2013: Make It Simple

As part of Redmond Channel Partner's annual "Marching Orders" feature, we asked several channel luminaries to give their best advice to help Microsoft partners succeed in the coming year. Here are some tips from Keith Lubner, Managing Partner, Channel Consulting Corp.

In 2012, I saw too many solution providers trying to do too much, which led to stagnation and frustration, and often left them with the feeling that they were pushing a wet noodle uphill (it doesn't go far). Their businesses didn't move as quickly forward as did the frenetic pace of technology. In 2013, I'm afraid technology will keep moving quickly, but I recommend that solution providers slow down and simplify. This sounds contrarian, but hear me out, as this basic notion will actually allow you to leapfrog competition that might still be trying to push that wet noodle uphill.

Let's get simple with a simple story. Earlier last year, my son came up with a neat idea for collecting "unclaimed" golf clubs, cleaning them up and then donating them to organizations such as The First Tee. As soon as he came up with the idea, he immediately (as often kids and adults will do) started projecting all of the potential roadblocks, tasks and other items necessary to get the initiative off the ground. He then suffered "paralysis by analysis," and guess what happened? Nothing. Great idea, but nothing happened because he complicated the entire thing.

When it comes to solution providers in 2013, don't complicate the matter. Simplify everything, which often requires you to retrench and focus on core areas. Most of you added (or are in the process of adding) mobility and cloud to your portfolios. You're brilliant at technology but get caught up in the same thing that my son did -- projecting the "what ifs." Don't "project" anything, but rather simplify your thinking around specific tactics in your sales, operations and marketing. Here are three things you should do to keep things simple in 2013:

  • Industry data is all fine and dandy, but data doesn't move your business -- it's what you do with the data and the tactical plans around it. Focus more on tactics in 2013.

  • For sales, just make your sales processes simple. Don't overcomplicate things. The best companies have simple sales processes so that their sales people can simply execute! Cloud and mobility in particular require this.

  • In terms of marketing, people keep trying all these tricks in an effort to find the "magic sauce" that will bring the dump truck full of leads to their door. Simply commit to being consistent with your marketing in 2013. Those providers that have excelled for the past 20 years have been the ones who've been simply consistent and persistent. That's my simple advice. Oh, by the way, my son simplified and started on some basic tasks and, yes, got his initiative off the ground!

Posted on January 08, 2013 at 8:50 AM


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