The VAR Guy is at Tech Data’s (TECD) TechSelect Spring event in Orlando, Florida, where the distributor is bringing together its TechSelect members to share best practices and growth strategies, as well as hear the latest and greatest from vendor partners including VMware (VMW), Microsoft (MSFT), Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Brocade (BRCD), to name just a few.

The May 15 general session kicked off with Peter McKay, vice president of Sales, End User Computing Americas at VMware, and concluded with Mark Scharenbroich, author and speaker on the value of making meaningful relationships. In between was Larry Kesslin, president and owner of business consultancy 4-Profit. The VAR Guy was on hand and did some live blogging, so forgive any fat finger mistakes:

Marty Bauerlein, vice president, U.S. Sales at Tech Data

  • Kicking things off, noted TechSelect now in its 15th year.
  • Announced TechSelect Lenovo Promotion for its server business from May to September.

Peter McKay, VMware

  • Virtualization changing the way end user computing is done in companies.
  • Momentum around end user computing has taken off - people want to get away from break/fix.
  • When VMware recognized sales guys were not equipped to handle all aspects of virtualization. Recognition now that desktops are not only on premises but also in the cloud.
  • BYOD - consumerization - no longer can IT say, “You can use this device or this device.” People want to work where they want to and on whatever they want to. Companies need to let this happen.
  • “Desktop” is obsolete - it is now a workspace. It’s all one group today - can’t have a mobility strategy without a desktop strategy. Today it is very fragmented and it is a challenge for companies to piece it together. That’s what VMware is trying to do - to pull it all together.
  • Software-defined data center - combining virtual compute, virtual storage and virtual networking. That is a huge focus for VMware. This platform, from data center to device, is what VMware is all about.
  • Horizon 6 - one challenge we had with View was we had a Windows 7 desktop and didn’t do applications. That has changed.
  • What is moving companies is concept of Horizon Workspace — all apps available to a particular user is in one location. Easy for companies to manage all your apps from one point.
  • Horizon DaaS Platform - Took Desktone platform and put it on VMware’s cloud. WE wanted to build the best performing cloud infrastructure and offer desktop as a service on top of that. We needed the scale and we knew we had a partner community that would offer services on top of that.
  • Message for sales: Start with the cloud. VMware does all the stuff below the waterline: software, facilities, hardware and support. The partner and end user handles management, devices, apps and OS.
  • Accelerate time to value - use cases: mobility and BYO, high availability, remote offices or locations, outsourcing or offshoring. Want to get use cases of the biggest problems companies are having and how can VMware help them solve that.
  • Top three sales plays: Upsell program (Horizon View to Advanced and Standard); Citrix takeout (XenApp/Desktop to Horizon 6/DaaS; sell around with Mirage, Virtual SAN, Workspace, Hybrid DaaS); DaaS (stuck Citrix and View customers; short VDI sales cycles, recurring revenue model)

Larry Kesslin, 4-Profit

  • TechSelect Business Pillars
  • Introducing a structured format: marketing, leadership, culture, services
  • In fall session will be focusing on sales, finance, people and wealth
  • Entrepreneurial scar tissue -
    • Most CEOs are first-timers
    • 75 percent in this industry have more than one owner
    • Recruiting can be a challenge (high-end - expensive or green - learning curve)
    • Business systems - challenge to run on back end
    • Financial acumen not primary knowledge set
    • Business partner growth is expensive - how to fuel?
  • Transfer of wealth - No more business going from manufacturer to the channel in ways it was 20 years or so. Now staff leaving for solution providers. Manufacturers looking for ways to help solution providers grow their business to grow their own bottom line. How do you reduce the tension in your organization?
  • Manufacturers used to be in the drivers seat, but now solution providers now in drivers seat. But that takes a totally different skill set than be a passenger.
  • Brought on Frank Albi to discuss business pillars
    • Albi on business - The greatest challenge is having an endpoint - what am I trying to accomplish? Understanding the dynamics of the marketplace, it can be challenging.
    • Albi on growth - Great value is people, our greatest challenge is cost. Thinking through logically the focus and clarity of where I go and how I do it, that’s the focus
    • Albi on people - Getting the right talent is most important. Really focus on people. In our world as CEO or owner, our greatest inefficiency is people. When growing, two or three headcount isn’t a lot but they mean a lot.
    • Albi on sales and management - Know what is the sweet spot? Need to know what is their market? Stay focused
    • Albi on leadership and communications - When you develop a plan, how do you enable company to be successful? We fragment from being pulled in different directions - how to stay focused? It is difficult as a leader to tell people they can’t sell something.
  • The job of the leader is to listen, digest the information and come back with a decision as to how a business is going to move forward. And ensure everyone is on board with the decision or at least in lockstep.

Mark Scharenbroich, author and speaker

  • Quote from Al Capone, an entrepreneur in distribution - “In order to be successful in business need three things: A smile, a gun and a plan. If you have to get rid of one, lose the smile. Need to lose another one? Let go of the gun. Never let go of the plan.”
  • Every one has four questions: Where are we going? How are we going to get there? Do you have my back? Do we have the relationship?
  • PCA (box maker) - grew from 7 percent to 9 percent market share at a higher price than competitors. How? We have three core values - we believe in the Golden Rule - treat people like they deserve to be treated; we over deliver - we beat new solutions to the edge every time; we are connected with each other.
  • Once our core needs are met, we need two things: We all need to belong: to a family, tribe, etc., and we all need to hear the words, “Nice bike” -  when we create communities where people feel who they are and what they do, it matters. Nice bike is a metaphor for acknowledge (treat everyone like humans), honor (bring more than you take) and connect (the journey is more meaningful when we take it together).
  • How you make your people feel is everything.
  • Acknowledge: You must be present to win - when you are present (not on your smartphone) you acknowledge the other person. Everyone has a story — when you know your people’s stories, they will stay with you forever. But you must be present to win.
  • Honor: When you are passionate about who you are and what you do, people are drawn to you.
  • Connect: Community is where we belong. Celebrate who you are as a community.