IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Channel Partners Conference & Expo Focuses on Current, Future Channel Needs

Postponed from March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the three-day virtual event featured educational sessions, networking, and lively discussions on the future of the channel. By Joel Zaidspiner

The Channel Partners Conference & Expo, postponed from March due to the coronavirus crisis, gathered the technology services community online this week, September 8-10, for three days of education and networking. Colocated with Channel Partners Evolution, the inaugural online event featured more than 80 industry leaders and experts sharing insights on best business practices, customer experience, sales and marketing strategies, cybersecurity, and more.

Keynote speakers covered a variety of current topics to the channel. On Tuesday, Tiffani Bova, growth evangelist at Salesforce and author of Growth IQ, shared her insights on what it takes for channel partners to stay relevant. Christopher Jones, assistant vice president of sales channels at AT&T Business, presented on the evolving impact of COVID-19 on the channel.

On Wednesday, Will Harris, sales consultant, motivational teacher, and humanitarian at Willpower Consultation, discussed social selling and the newest ways partners are upselling and outselling on LinkedIn. And John DeLozier, senior vice president and global channel chief at 8x8, presented on “The Golden Era of Communications.”

Thursday, Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, offered attendees “Five Ways to Survive and Thrive in the Next Year." Laura Padilla, head of global business development and channel at Zoom Video Communications, discussed using UCaaS to increase business value. The day also featured a panel on “The Business Case for Diversity,” moderated by Risha Grant, an internationally renowned diversity, inclusion, and bias expert.

In addition to the expo hall, attendees could also attend mindfulness meditation sessions each day, plus quiz SD-WAN and UCaaS vendors in "thunderdome" sessions, and ask questions during the 2020 Debate Series.

Hot topics up for debate included: convergence: hype or the future of the channel, moderated by Janet Schijns, CEO at JS Group; to MSSP or not to MSSP, moderated by Mike LaPeters, vice president of worldwide MSP and channel operations at Malwarebytes; and the future of distribution, moderated by Joel Zaidspiner, vice president and associate publisher of The ChannelPro Network. Pictured above, the future of distribution panel, clockwise from top left: Karin Fields, CEO/COO, Microcorp; Zaidspiner; Jennifer Anaya, senior vice president of global marketing, Ingram Micro; Tim Basa, vice president of sales and operations, AppSmart; and Ashley Peters, director of vendor management, Tech Data.

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