This past week, I had the pleasure of attending
the Team Polycom Partner Conference in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel. I must
admit, I haven't attended this event in the past several years but when the
venue is an easy 3 hour drive from Memphis it made for a much easier decision
to take the time to participate this year. And am I glad I did!
This year's conference was literally a worldwide event drawing over 1600 people
representing 70 countries (speaking 50 different languages) in attendance. And
this year's event was all about "changing the game" at Polycom which was
a theme that was reinforced many times in almost every presentation during the
3 day event. And frankly, based on the past few years' financial performance, I
believe Polycom HAS TO change their game to survive in today's
One way that Polycom demonstrated that they really want to change the game is
by presenting solutions that are focused more on a company's workflow and
customer "experience" rather than the speeds and feeds of a video
device. Makes sense! Among the more impressive demonstrations during the
conference was with the RealPresence Trio, Office 365 and the VVX. That was
Polycom Trio - Speakerphone meets easy visual collaboration
One of my favorite presentations was given by my buddy Ira Weinstein with
Wainhouse Research (unified communications/videoconferencing consultants) who
spoke about today's effective selling strategies and "spending time
understanding their customers businesses." Ira talked a lot about
positioning technology sales as "solving business problems" and not
selling hardware and software.
Another presentation that was really interesting was given my an executive from
LinkedIn who discussed the power of social media and " social
selling" in 2016. Many great insights were presented and definitely
reinforced that the game has changed in not only the videoconferencing industry
but in the entire world of technology sales. Old-style cold calling and
prospecting simply aren't the smartest way to grow a business in 2016. Powerful
stuff and great food for thought!
Without a doubt my favorite presentation was delivered by Captain
Chesley"Sully" Sullenberger who is the hero of the famous
"Miracle on the Hudson" Captain Sullenberger started off his talk by
playing the live recordings (from the cockpit and control tower) when he and
first officer, Jeffrey Skiles, made an unpowered emergency water landing in the
Hudson River after multiple bird strikes caused both jet engines to fail.
Captain Sullengerger spoke about how he and his crew had to impose a
"forced calm" on the 155 passengers to bring them to safety and how
"exposure created composure" He also spoke of how the extraordinary
circumstances brought out the very best in his entire crew. What an impressive
story and a true American hero!
The conference wrapped up with presentations about the changing world of work
and also about attracting millennials in the workforce (with technology). There
were also several comments about the proliferation of huddle rooms (50
million) and the massive sales opportunity they represent.
The conference concluded with a terrific presentation from Scott McKain who
talked a lot about creating great "customer experiences" and about
how a company should be "obsessing about making it easier to do business
with you." Scott spoke about how great customer experiences include clarity,
creativity, communication and customer experience focus. Great advice and
definitely a sound strategy for both Polycom and ISI to "change the
game" in 2016.