I’ve just returned from a quick trip to Darwin – my first visit there. Man was it hot… we landed at 10:35pm at night and it was still 30c outside and sticky. I was asked to be involved with Microsoft in presenting to the reseller community in Darwin about SBS – do a summary of the 2 hour network build and also present my spin on Dean Calverts excellent session on how he builds his business around SBS 2003 and a session on mobility around SBS 2003. What I learned going over Deans presentation was that we do many things in a similar fashion and at the same time many things differently. I’m going to be adopting some of his ideas into my business model in the future.
What surprised me about Darwin resellers was their initial reluctance to look at doing any real marketing. Many of the Darwin SBS resellers are like I was a few years back – they get 100% of their business via word of mouth. Now this is not all that bad – it tends to give you qualified leads that are of good quality. The problem though with word of mouth marketing is that it’s inconsistent. You can not predict when you will get your next lead, therefore if you are having a low time in your business, you can’t really do all that much to excite it and get it moving. This is one of the key things that I feel has held back the growth of our business over the last few years. The solution to this is to get involved in marketing – getting your name out there so that you can get a larger share of peoples mindset and business than what you already have. When asked at the beginning of these presentations by Microsoft if the resellers would engage in marketing, only one or two people put their hands up. I then had the chance to present a number of sessions based on my real world experience, and as part of that I presented Deans session. I kept reinforcing to the audience just how we were doing marketing around these activities and how little effort some of it required. I had a lot of fun presenting to this crowd, and they were all ears. At the end of it, around half the audience now want to get involved in marketing activities because they saw that it’s not as scarey as they first thought. I felt good about this because I felt that I had helped them see the light and the potential they could achieve with this.
We ended with the potential to start an SBS User Group in Darwin – Lucinda Hodges is going to head up the group for now, and we’re looking at the first meeting late January 2006 or early February.
Time will tell how they succeed with this or not. I enjoyed my all too brief visit to Darwin