Southern California based master agency/distributor Sandler Partners (who recently acquired Chicago based master agency X4 Solutions & claimed "2nd largest" services distributor status behind Intelisys/ScanSource) hosted their first "Partner Summit" in Redondo Beach, California October 6th.
Sandler is known for being a reasonably well rated master agency but alot of agents & MSPs don't know about Sandler because owner Alan Sandler is notoriously thrifty when it comes to spending marketing dollars. After their recent X4 acquisition though it appears that Alan's staff have finally convinced Alan to open the marketing checkbook.
I signed up as a Sandler subagent a couple years back in order to experiment with hosted provider RingCentral so I got an invitation to the event. Following are my notes.
The event started at 8am in a large meeting room with good lighting, audio and a hot breakfast you can eat while listening to two hours of basic product training where the product training is done by Sandler staff instead of vendor employees.
The best master agencies have experienced in-house product sales engineers who train their sub-agents as opposed to having the training done by carrier vendor employees. This is important because master agencies that have in-house trainers can better sort through service vendors and pick the best ones to represent.
Sandler Sales Director Jess Bryar Sharing Cloud Computing Training
Other initial impression positives include: paid parking, hot breakfast & coffee, printed guide (not just an app), free & good WiFi, in-house trainers, tables for laptops (not just seats), good PA systems (so you can hear the speakers). The only bad - no electric at the table to keep laptop & phones charged.
101 TRAINING PROVIDED
Cloud UC/Hosted Voice Phone Systems (Curt Allen & Caleb Tucker);
SD-WAN (Eric Beller & Tim Tucker);
Cloud Computing Office 365, Backup as a Service, Disaster Recovery as a Service (Jess Bryar & Todd Peterson) What is your 2017 cloud strategy (AWS or Azure)? What are you doing for backups? Cloud email/Office 365 strategy? Do you have hardware or software refreshes planned?
Ride the Big Waves Rauline Ochs/IPED - The Channel Company
Cloud UC/Hosted Voice: Choosing the Best Provider for Your Customer (Moderator - Curt Allen, Sandler/XO; Panelists - Jim Murphy/Broadvoice; Marek Wasilewski/Mitel; Gregg Rowe/Vonage)
Cloud Connectivity: Key to Cloud Success (Moderator - Todd Peterson, Sandler/X4; Panelists - John Muscarella/Cox Business; Craig Schlagbaum/Comcast; Tom McCrosson/Solex; John Cunnels/XO Communications)
SD-WAN: A New Approach to Agile Networks (Moderator - Eric Beller, Sandler/X4; Panelists - David Zahn/TelePacific; William Madison/Masergy; Darren French/ZeroOutages; Mike Frane/EarthLink)
Cloud Computing: Jumpstart Your As-a-Service Sales Engine (Moderator - Jess Bryar, Sandler/X4; Panalists - Jim Dietler/NaviSite; Steve Sigmon/Birch)
To the Edge and Back Greg Long/Surfrider Foundation