Monday, June 14, 2010

HTG Vendor Peer Groups Kick Off Successfully

As announced by The Var Guy a week or two ago, this past week we hosted our inaugural vendor peer group. Seven of our HTG sponsor vendors answered the bell and we had a great couple days together in Denver. A special shout out for IBM, SonicWALL, CA ArcServe, Great America Leasing, ConnectWise, E-Folder and Xerox. Lisa Jenkins from Xerox won the best practice contest. Each company had two participants in the room, and we gave them as much of the HTG experience as possible. It was a very exciting couple of days.

As is always the case, everyone was a bit tentative leading up to the meeting. The first time a new group meets is like going on a first date. People start out with some tentative positioning and want to make sure it all comes across the way they want. After all, this is far from the way their day jobs have been – sitting in a room over two days with folks who at some level could be considered competitors. Not what most are accustomed to. But after we did introductions and people began to share a little about life – important facts like being on the hunt for a husband or having 13,000 emails in their inbox – the laughter broke down the walls and people moved past their fears and the ideas and sharing began to flow.

We tackled issues that were specific to their roles in working with partners. How do you engage and activate partners? How should they communicate effectively without overloading our inboxes? What does a good partner program look like? It was great learning as ideas were shared and best practices exchanged. Everyone came prepared and ready to share – homework was done – which already sets this group apart from their solution provider peers. We struggle to get HTG members to get that homework done and posted – so thanks to our vendor group members for keeping that bar high.

It was enlightening to me to be able to facilitate and be part of the idea exchange. I was able to interject the voice of the partner and offer some tips and ideas that will hopefully help share the landscape for these companies as they interact with the partner community. That is part of the value – we all learn from each other when we spend time together – and I certainly learned much from this group.

Some may be wondering why we would create a peer group for vendors. One of the things we find about our HTG peer groups is that unless you experience them, it is extremely difficult to understand the value of a close knit community that becomes invested in each other. So we decided to create this group to help deliver that experience for our vendor sponsors – to let them be part of what we do every quarter – and to create the same kind of close community that can share life together. We are using most of the same objectives and goals as we have for HTG – planning and goals and execution and accountability – it is all part of this program.

So what was the outcome of the two days? The feedback was extremely positive and everyone who attended is ready to proceed and meet in Q3. But the best way to share how things went is to hear from one of the attendees himself. Ted Hulsy from SonicWALL shared this: “Ever since my first ‘seat at the table’ with an HTG group, I realized that working with peers is one of the best ways to learn and change. Now that I am in HTG, I feel so fortunate to be working with peers who have passion for their work, are trusting, and are willing to share the secrets of their success.”
That is what it is all about. Becoming part of a community that you can share with and help one another achieve more than you can do on your own. We believe in our mission. Get involved in a community – be it in your industry, your church, your community – just find one and get involved. It will change your life if you let it!

1 comment:

Lori Berry - GreatAmerica Leasing said...

I agree, it was a great event! A big thanks to Arlin and his team for doing the unthinkable and getting a Vendor Peer Group together. It was apparent that the participating companies can benefit from a peer group just as much as the solutions providers. It was amazing to see the changes in people in just a day and a half, and an honor to be a part of the first HTG Vendor Peer Group.