ScanSource’s Virtual Partner Conference: “Bullish About the Future” of the Channel

By: Jim Roddy, VP of Sales & Marketing at the RSPA

For the first time in seven months, I finally said, “Sorry, I’m not free that day because I’m attending a partner conference!” On Oct. 20, distributor ScanSource hosted the first-ever ScanSource Virtual Partner Conference, a 5½-hour event that attracted hundreds of channel executives. Engagement was so high, I had to turn off my computer volume during the networking sessions because of the rapid-fire “ding!” noises indicating a new comment from an attendee. I don’t know if *DING!* I can replicate *DING!* how active those rooms *DING!* were, but maybe this *DING!* sentence will *DING!* help *DING!* do *DING!* that.

I captured comments from several of the speakers, including keynote Joe Theismann, the legendary college and NFL quarterback, former ESPN broadcaster, and entrepreneur:

“The opportunity to embrace the cloud and create new opportunities is very real. … I’m very excited for the growth opportunities in this channel.” Mike Baur, ScanSource CEO

“We’re all about reinventing our company for our next chapter of growth. … It’s about creating new recurring revenue business models to help you grow.” John Eldh, ScanSource CRO

“This has been a crazy year. Looking ahead, we are bullish about the future, and based on conversations with you, I know many of you are as well.” Tony Sorrentino, ScanSource North American Sales President

“In 2020, we vaulted five years forward in terms of digital demand in about eight weeks. Don’t be shy talking about the needs your customers have. Your customers are buying these services today – there’s no reason for you to walk away.” Mark Morgan, ScanSource Intellisys President

“Add more value around your high-margin services when you become a trusted advisor. … There are lots of opportunities for everybody to play.” David Hertwig, ScanSource SVP Worldwide SaaS Practice

“I’ve been doing recurring revenue for 10 years, and the growth we’ve seen this year has been incredible. We’re seeing changes in how customers consume technology.” Ray Nelson, ScanSource SVP Technical Sales & Services

“These (recurring revenue) services can be a great complement to the hardware you sell. The world is changing and our industry is changing.” Sorrentino

Closing takeaways for VARs and ISVs from each of the ScanSource executive panelists:

  • Morgan: Focus on your existing customer base, look for alternatives to support their business
  • Hertwig: Ask more questions about your customers’ business problems
  • Nelson: Engage the ScanSource engineering team; they can help you close more business
  • Sorrentino: Now is the time to be intentional about getting into this space

Visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

“Ensure you’re documenting your conversations. Use a CRM to make sure you follow-up with (customers and prospects) and refer to your notes so you can pick up the conversation there.” Joel Douglass, ScanSource Sr. Director of Sales to VARs

“This is the year of ‘brand overdemand. You need to get your message out there to your customers. … We need to make connections even if they’re virtual. Take advantage of all the digital platforms.” Wendy Thacker, ScanSource VP, Channel Marketing North America

“The most popular technologies being adopted now are home delivery, curbside pickup, and contactless payments.” Tony D’Onofrio of TD Insights, during the Retail & Hospitality breakout

“Our customer journey begins at the end point.” Rick Smith, ELO

“Yes, you have to have the right technology in place, but the real key is empowering frontline employees to use that technology quickly.” Justin Robbins, 8×8

“Try to create an experience where your customer can order online and get what they want as quickly as they could from the largest retailers. Communicate with your customers during the entire journey.” Josh Stanphill, Epson

Final thoughts from the Retail & Hospitality breakout:

  • Robbins: When our customers can’t come to us, we need to go to them.
  • Smith: Be flexible with your point of sale.
  • Stanphill: Take a step back and look at your entire POS platform.

“In football you get a bye week and you get a chance to look at yourself instead of looking at an opponent. This year we’ve had a six-month social ‘bye week’ to reassess ourselves and our relationships.” Keynote Joe Theismann

“I had great mentors and teachers. Be a mentor – give other people the opportunity to grow just like you did. Knowledge unused is wasted.” Theismann

“Don’t give up the foundation of who you are, but keep learning and growing. There’s no better time than now to create opportunities for ourselves.” Theismann

“The main thing great football coaches stress are the details. It’s the same thing with customer service. Learn more than just the business side of them. Who are they?” Theismann

“You don’t want to fear anyone or a situation. Respect the situation and figure out a solution.” Theismann

Don’t forget to visit the RSPA Solution Center – a web platform designed to connect VARs and ISVs to providers of innovative solutions

Jim Roddy is the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA). He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as an RSPA board member, one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board, and several years as a business coach for VARs, ISVs, and MSPs. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success and Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer. For more information, contact