Are You Still Missing The Social Media / Blogging Train?……..


Don’t Be This Guy, He Missed The Train

Since Sage Summit I’ve been talking to a lot of companies of different sizes & different industries about the importance of getting on the social media train. Social media is not a fad, it’s here to stay.

Consider these statistics from Econsultancy Network Statistics Quarterly Compendium

  1. Global Wi-Fi usage is up by 240% between Q2 2011 & Q2 2012
  2. 76% of marketers plan to increase their YouTube and/or video marketing
  3. 25% of corporations have at least 1 staff member who works exclusively on social media
  4. 57% of corporations have their social media team within their marketing department
  5. Most corporate social media is used for Communications, Marketing, Customer Service & Reputation Monitoring
  6. 62% of corporations intend to increase budgets for social media
  7. 90% of corporations say social media is becoming a more important part of their marketing strategy
  8. A LinkedIn profile can bring many opportunities in your direction. If you’re sure what to do ask someone who has had success utilizing LinkedIn and to a lesser degree Twitter and Facebook The other area that I’m stressing to companies is blogging and that’s because most of them  don’t have a blog because most people don’t think they can write.

    I employ a very simple methodology that proves that ALL people can write and they shouldn’t be afraid to.

    Below are my reasons why I think blogging is so important to a company:

    a. It gives the company a face & more visibility
    b. It helps build a trust relationship
    c. If your blog is about your industry it helps mark you as an industry expert
    d. Some people are leary of “Push Notification,” be careful that you don’t come off as being pushy with your sales pitch. As a matter of fact, don’t try to sell anything other than yourself and your quality company
    e. A blog can generate leads & business provided your blog isn’t one huge sales pitch

There are more reasons to blog, these are but a few. I’m sure that you can come up with a lot more of your own. While you’re contemplating a company blog ask yourself two questions;

Are my competitor’s blogging? Are my customers blogging?

If you answered “yes” to at least one of the questions then you should be picking up the phone & calling someone who is an expert in the art of setting up company blogs.

I just saw a statistic at Sage Summit that made me smile; approx. 65% of all businesses blog. I wish I could remember which company it was that shared that with me. Even it’s off 5-10% +/- that means that over half of all businesses are utilizing a fantastic tool that most of didn’t use just 5 years ago.

So, are you willing to get on the train or are you going to be left at the station wishing you had jumped on? My suggestion? Get on the train, now!

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What To Wear, What To Wear @ Sage Summit 2012

I get teased a lot because I don’t know how to pack lightly. I operate under the “You Just Never Know” Theory when it comes to travelling.

A man writing a blog about what to wear to a conference? If you are Wayne Schulz or Robert Wood you pack 2 pair of socks, 1 pair of tennis shoes, 1 semi dress pair, 2 pair of Dockers, 2 Polo Short Sleeved Shirts, & assorted accessories. Nothing has to match, just has to be comfortable and ready.

Sometimes I wish it were that easy for me. It just isn’t. I like wearing suits, sport coats & wool gabardine slacks with matching shirts & shoes. I probably spend more making sure everything is dry cleaned and laundered PRIOR to a trip that some people spend at the dry cleaners in an entire year. I’m not bragging, it is an affliction to which there is no cure.

We’re only 3 weeks away from attending Sage Summit 2012. Prior to leaving San Diego I think that it’s time to get out the checklist. If you’re like me, you’ll discover that if I don’t prepare a checklist I’ll always end up 1 pair of socks short, too few business cards, forgot toothpaste, brought 2 bottles of shampoo, no conditioner. You name it, I’ve forgot it on one trip or another. That’s why I pack like I’m leaving for a year around the world.

Belove I’ve included the average temperature & humidity for Nashville just in case you’re wondering about what to wear.

Nashville Average Humidity August

Airline Ticket √
Sage Summit Registration √
Room Reservation √
Luggage √
4 Suits √
2 Pair Slacks √
1 Pair Jeans √
8 Shirts, Dress
2 Casual √
3-4 Pair of Shoes,
Including Flip Flops√

Average August Temperature Nashville

6-8 Pair of Socks √
6-8 Pair of Underwear √
3 Belts √
4 Tee Shirts √
Assorted Toiletries √
Laptop √
iPad √
Camera √
Cell Phone √
Chargers For Laptop, iPad, Camera, Cell Phone √
Extra “AA & “AAA “Batteries for Any Emergency √
Necessary Travel Documents √I enjoy wearing suits at conferences so I need those. I have to wear different shirts to match the suits, sports coats, etc.  Of course extra socks & underwear are a must & different shoes for each suit are very important. There’s nothing worse than wearing a black suit & the wrong shoes or socks.

Should be all set, right? Wrong. Don’t forget your wallet! I’ve done that before also. If it can be forgotten I’ve forgotten it on some trip to somewhere.

This list looks like a list for a man, but it can be used just as easy for women.

I think that someone could make a decent living as professional packers. Hand them your list, they go through it with you, and voila your only job is to get to the airport in time. She’s already packed your luggage in your car and included your entire itinerary and any other necessary documentation.

I recently purchased a new large piece of London Fog luggage and I feel very compelled to fill it. One of the local luggage stores was having a killer sale on London Fog luggage. Had to have it! Retail Therapy is so rewarding & satisfying (until you get the credit card bill)

One item that is HIGHLY recommend  is a light coat. Longer Flights  tend to get chilly and so do the Session Rooms. This reminder comes from #SageSummit so I would pay extra attention to it.

Above all, get there safe and on time, dress accordingly and if the airline loses your luggage you can participate in one of my other favorite hobbies and that’s shopping. Gaylord Opryland has a couple of shops to purchase something new.

Yeah, I know I’m a guy & I should honor the Man Code & not admit to enjoy shopping so much.

HAVE FUN!!

Another (2) Reason(s) To Attend Sage Summit 2012

One of my goals at my early Insights was to meet these two guys listed below. The first was Ed Kless and I would attend every one of Ed’s Sessions, sit in the front row where I made sure Ed could see me and then I’d spend the entire hour thinking of questions to ask. (Some were good, some weren’t) I went to Sage Consulting Academy in Dallas and I still think it’s one of the best investments that any VAR can make and it doesn’t have to be just for your consulting staff. I’m Sales oriented and found it to be invaluable. Since those early days Ed has had a positive influence on me and when I really have an issue I know I can call him and get the feedback that I need. With his travel schedule it makes it a little tough, but I know he’s just a phone call away.

When I first started working at Blytheco somehow a newsletter came through my e-mail from some guy named Wayne Schulz and after a few weeks of deleting them I started to read them. I was surprised that this VAR from small town Glastonbury, CT. had his pulse on the Sage environment and that so many people knew him. As with Ed I met Wayne at an Insights meeting because I wanted to get to know him better and find out more about him, how he got his information (He still won’t tell me) and only using information that he could confirm.

What I found from both Ed & Wayne was that you can succeed and still hold on to your core values.

I asked Wayne and Ed to be Managers on the Sage LinkedIn group because I trust their judgement and know that they have solid reputations in the Sage Software World. There’s been times when I would see a post that would send me flying through the roof and I would run it by them only to hear that I needed to come in off the ledge. Neither of them are “Yes” Men. If they disagree they’ll let you know.

Wayne and I talk 2-5 times weekly with most calls running 30 minutes or so and the topics are of a wide variety but mostly center around what’s going on at Sage, who he just saw at the Indian Casino and his family.

I sometimes think about what would have happened if I hadn’t trusted my gut instincts and taken the chance to meet this guys.

So if you’re going to Summit for the 1st time and are looking to maintain new relationships, work the floor and don’t stop working it until you can’t walk anymore. Wayne is always surprised at how many people I know at Summit. I’ve just made it a goal and if I can help someone feel a little bit more comfortable in a sea of nameless faces then I’ve accomplished what I’ve watched people like Ed & Wayne do for years.

Have fun and I’m looking forward to another Sage Summit and I’m anxious to see what Danielle and her team have up their sleeve.

BTW: Tomorrow 7/10 is Wayne’s birthday. Drop him a Happy Birthday wish and if he wants to share his advanced age with you that’s his business.

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.

Final Sage Summit Wrap Up

I woke up in my own bed in San Diego and that’s always a great feeling; not that waking up at the Gaylord National Harbor is a bad thing, but there is nowhere like home. I get to spend the day with my sons and that always makes for a special day.

Sage Summit 2011 is now a memory but what sweet memories. This conference was by far the best Sage Event that I’ve attended for many reasons.

The highlights for me were being asked to be an endorsed Sage Summit blogger. I had a front seat to the growth and acceptance of  social media and how far it has come in the past 3 years since I first started the Sage Partners, Employees & Alumni LinkedIn Group. I got the opportunity to talk to alot of partners about their social media strategy and how it important it has come within their respective businesses in terms of marketing.

My other highlight was being invited to a Meet & Greet with Sean & Leanne Tuohy. What marvelous people they are. Their story is inspiring & I especially loved their message of how just One Person Can Make A Difference. Their journey that was the genesis for the blockbuster movie “The Blindside” is a testament to a core belief of giving rather than receiving. 

There are so many highlights from this event but what really stuck out for me was the accessibility & transparency of the executives. Our new CEO Pascal Houllion is dynamic, friendly and I think our Road Map under his leadership is going to take us places we’ve never been.

Himanshu Palsule, Laurie Schulz, Tom Miller, Dennis Frahmann, Pascal Van Dooren, Connie Certusi, Dominique Bopp, Alok Tyagi,  & many others make Sage what it is today and what it will become. Hold on tight for the ride of your life.

For those that don’t know & asked me for directions & a whole host of other Sage related questions,  I am not an employee of Sage however I am as strong a Sage supporter as you will find. I don’t walk around with blinders on, but if I have questions I will ask and I normally get a response the is satisfactory to me. Just so that we’re clear nothing would give me greater pleasure than to work for any of the people above that I’ve mentioned.

There I go again on a different tangent but to get back to Sage Summit; there are a group of people that are largely responsible for the success of this past event and that the Entire Events team. I hope that each of you get a chance to thank them for the long hours, creative ideas and attention to the smallest detail to make Sage Summit the success it was.

I hope that each of you who attended enjoyed yourself and that you will be in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland for version 2.0 of Sage Summit. I know that barring any unforseen bumps in the road I’ll be there if for no other reason than to see what the Events Team has in store for us.

Have a prosperous year and I wish each of you the very best as we move forward under the direction of our new CEO, Pascal Houllion.