Are You In Or Out? ~ Sage Summit 2012

Robert Schayes, Himanshu Palsule, Bill Kizer, Pascal Houllion Sage Summit 2011

“I go to Summit annually to see old friends and create new relationships, but more importantly I go because I know my competition is going to be there.” Brandt Morrell, President and COO of Altec 

There has been much discussion about the value of attending Sage Summit 2012 Conference, which is being held in Nashville in August at the Gaylord Opryland.

Add to the mix that there have been many changes recently starting with CEO Pascal Houllion’s Opening Keynote last year about the new re-branding strategy to the recent “Journey of Transformation” announcements and one could come to the conclusion that attendance may be a bit light. But I won’t miss it and neither should you!  I’ve have found that Summit provides me with great value and relevant information. Our industry changes daily and there’s no way to stay on top of these changes if we don’t talk to the source(s). You can find the source(s) and other partners who have utilized those changes successfully by attending Sage Summit 2012.

 In a following blog will be my Annual Top 10 Vendors/Booths  to see. Don’t miss them!

Most of the real interesting conversations are those that you find in the hallways between sessions and keynotes. If you want to watch a partner who is adept at decipher what is said and more importantly what’s not said, find Wayne Schulz and tag along. Its eye opening, informational and very rarely is his take on things wrong. I talk to Wayne 3-5 times a week and the conversation is always lively. You can catch Wayne on his daily morning walks at 6:00 a.m. along with other partners like Robert Wood .

If sessions are your thing then go park yourself in every Ed Kless session that has an open seat. You won’t leave disappointed. I have sat in many of his sessions, taken the week long Consulting Academy, gone to conferences just to hear him speak and rate Ed as one of the top speakers in our industry.

Look at the business partners and vendors who consistently attend Summit.  If you want the keys to success they’re the people to see. Go to their booths and see what they’re doing that you’re not. It’s probably a safe wager that they’ve been involved in Summit for many years.

“It has always been MY rule that if I am serious about selling Sage products I need to attend Summit. I need to “breathe” the air, sense the mood of the Sage community, and get enough inspiration to see me through another year.” ~ Arlie Skory; Managing Partner at Skory Employer Solutions LLC ~

There is a long term value of creating lasting relationships with other BP’s or third party solution providers who will gladly share their knowledge with you. I have spent many hours talking with other partners, providers and executives about the direction that our industry is headed.

How do you put a price tag on industry information you receive at Summit? What about face time with Sage executives?  Where else can you visit directly with 3rd party representatives all in one room? Truth be told, you can’t put a price tag on these items. The sessions alone that Sage is offering this year are numerous in count, covering Sage products, upgrades, changes, new products etc.

Too often we get caught up on doing business as we’ve always done it, not knowing that there are better ways of streamlining and making our individual businesses more cost effective. But if we don’t go to Summit and attend sessions, talk to other BP’s, then we’re going to stay in that same spiraling vortex & will get the same results. One of my favorite quotes is: “If you keep doing what you’re doing;  you’ll keep getting what you get. If you want something new you’re going to have to try something new.”  ~ Author Unknown ~

I have spoken to BP’s who have concerns that they have never written any new business while attending Summit. Then there’s that have bought booth space, brought a large contingency from their office, who collect business cards & found that most of those cards belonged to other Business Partners and not potential new opportunities. Is it worth the expenditure? How do I justify the costs? I can’t build an acceptable ROI from attending. How much business will I miss out on while I’m at Summit? These are all valid questions and concerns. Brandt Morrell, President and COO of Altec which provides productivity enhancing technologies for Sage partners  and is a long time Summit supporter wrapped it up very neatly in a recent one on one conversation. “I go to Summit annually to see old friends and create new relationships, but more importantly I go because I know my competition is going to be there.”

First, if you’re heading off to Summit with the sole intent of closing deals then you’re going to be disappointed. It’s kind of like going to a Barnum & Bailey Circus expecting Shakespeare and the best you get is the infamous Clown Car; or going on vacation to the North Pole in January wearing shorts, flip flops & sun tan lotion, with your surfboard and golf clubs; you’re going to be disappointed by setting up unrealistic expectations. A lot of companies look at expenditures that don’t provide immediate revenue as having no value. Unless there’s a dollar amount involved most Partners don’t get it. I think of activities like conferences the same as I do Spring Training, (that’s baseball for the uninformed.) The chances of having a productive year without Spring Training are very small, even for perennial powerhouses like the Yankees or the Boston Red Sox.

To the partners who don’t get it, there are three questions you need to ask yourself.

By not going am I adding or taking away value from the success of my business?
What new technology can I find at Summit and add to my offerings to my customers and prospects?
Am I part of the problem or am I part of the solution?

Come to Nashville & see the changes that are happening at Sage and in our industry. You’re going to be surprised and more importantly you’re going to go back to your business with new tools, ideas and a new attitude and isn’t life itself about how you approach it?

I think so and I hope to see each of you in Tennessee.