Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not all Communities are Created Equal

This is the second blog post based on the content shared with the HTG and Ingram SMBA group last week in Charlotte. Today’s topic is about the need for a variety of community experiences.

Not all Communities are Created Equal

There are many different types of communities that are available for technology companies to participate in today. They serve a variety of purposes and actually are very complimentary in many ways. You can’t select one from each area, but you should likely be involved in several of these if you truly want to grow your company. Here are some of the communities that are available for you to participate in. Try them out, find what works, and then get involved. There are definite values each bring to the table. But thinking about community doesn’t do a thing for you. You have to get involved. And the more you do, the more you give, the more you will receive in return.

Distributor Communities

Organizations like Ingram's VTN or SMBA focus on high level strategy and executive vendor relationships. At these events and meetings you are exposed to great content from the best speakers available. The rooms are often filled with executives from around the industry and it is one of the best places to connect with many vendors at one time. They also bring many exclusive offers to their members and work to connect members to the many resources they provide.

Vendor Communities

Many vendors have communities that are often focused around events. ConnectWise does this really well. These communities are typically a mix of content around the vendor’s products and services with some general industry content sprinkled in as well. These types of communities are valuable in that they allow you to get very specific answers to questions regarding specific items from both the vendor and their partners as well. You are able to rub shoulders with people using the exact products you use and can get specific on how to leverage your investment to the max.

Peer Group Communities

Many peer groups like HTG focus on execution and skill building. These peer communities are often the deepest and require the most openness as financial disclosure and full transparency are often the basis of going deep together. Most peer groups play a “peer board review” type of role where they are working in each other’s businesses and lives. HTG has a very focused mission - to help our members grow by teaching them business skills, driving execution and benchmarking performance.

User Group Communities

User groups are normally focused on specific technologies. These groups are typically laser focused on practice building around that technology and look at all angles related to success. User groups bring big value to members by helping resolve technical issues, giving ideas that are specific to selling or marketing the technology, and bringing together expertise around this technology.

Partnering Communities

Groups like IAMCP or Ingram’s IMSN focus on sharing of business opportunities and sharing work. This type of community attempts to bring together partners that have different specializations so they have the opportunity to pass and receive leads from complimentary partners. As the world shrinks and the economy becomes global, we see more and more partners leveraging others to fulfill work on their behalf both at home and in different geographies.


So there is an opportunity for partners to participate in many different communities as each has value to add to the mix. Each company needs to evaluate which communities can help move them toward success for their organization’s needs. Pick one or two or more, and then get involved – deeply involved. HTG encourages participation in other groups like outlined above while we fulfill the specific business needs of our members and stay true to our mission. No one community can meet all the needs out there, so find those that fit your company and get started today.

No comments: