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Convey's Channel Partner MicroCast
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Convey's Channel Partner MicroCast

Author: Convey Services

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We’d like to welcome our listeners to our Channel Partners MicroCast audio series. I’m Carolyn Bradfield, CEO of Convey Services, a technology specialist that runs an informational portal network in the channel used by over 23K sales partners.
45 Episodes
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Conversation with Nationally Recognized Psychologist Dr. Sandra NewesOur social isolation, uncertainty about our business future, lack of entertainment outlets and having to home school our children have taken a toll on all of us.  Learn the secrets behind how to maintain your resilience through the pandemic from psychologist Dr. Sandra Newes as she explains resilience, how you lose it and how you get it back.
David Converse, VP of Sales at UCX Markets, visits with Convey CEO Carolyn Bradfield about the digital transformation that vendors and partners will engage in based on the evolution of the buying experience to a more virtual format.  Take a listen and then attend Cloud Conventions to hear more from David and UCX.  http://cloudconventions.com
Fireside Chat with Bob Paff, speaker at Cloud Conventions and Convey CEO Carolyn BradfieldBob Paff will be leading a session on Wednesday, May 11th at 2:00 on communication strategies during the COVID crisis.  Listen to a fireside chat between Bob and Convey CEO Carolyn Bradfield to explore what people need to be thinking about as they communication with employees, customers and prospects in the new virtualized world we find ourselves in.Register for Cloud Conventions »
Carolyn Bradfield and Jon Arnold discuss Jon's upcoming speaker session at Cloud Conventions 2020, a virtual trade show. Session Title:The Evolution of our Workplace StrategiesSession Description: Join Jon Arnold, communications industry researcher and strategist, to navigate the digital transformation of the workplace in our new virtual work from home environment and beyond. The marketplace is now disrupted, but learn how disruptive technologies will help us recover and rebound.Register today at https://cloudconventions.com
A behind the scenes look at the Cloud Conventions Trade Show StrategyConvey went to a great deal of effort and research to understand how to take the elements of a live trade show and build as many of them as possible into a virtual environment to capture the interest and attention of the 30,000 sales partners and vendors we invited to be our guests as attendees.  Here is a glimpse at our virtual event strategy that we will execute at Cloud Conventions and that you can use as a guide in the event you are considering an event in the future.Register for Cloud Conventions Today »
Adjusting Your Virtual Strategy, A Lesson from Cloud ConventionsAs many of you know, our company Convey is producing an unprecedented virtual trade show and conference for the telecommunications and cloud channel, launching May 11 called Cloud Conventions.  And yes, webinars will be part of the content we offer.  But I promise you that we are cognizant of the fact that they cannot be delivered in the same way 95% of our industry does them today.  Here is what you can expect from us and adjustments we think you need to make to ensure that you don’t lose your audience when you do a webinar.Register for Cloud Conventions Today »
Understanding the pivot point that business finds itself after COVID 19Cloud Conventions, that likely will be the industry’s largest virtual trade show and conference, takes on a higher purpose.  Even though our event is not until May, we know that survival is still going to be an issue for many partners and vendors well into late spring and summer.  But even more than that, this disruption is going to lead to business process changes, innovation through technology, and a strong push toward virtualization of the workforce at every level.  This podcast focuses on why you and why your customers need to recognize that businesses will be changed forever, and you will be the ones to drive that change.Register for Cloud Conventions Today »
Helping the Channel Get Business Back on Track Cloud Conventions is more important than ever because its purpose is to motivate our industry to keep themselves in gear so they in turn could get their business and help their customers get their businesses back on track as we navigate and emerge from the COVID crisis.  Launching on May 11, attendance is open and at no charge to the telecommunications and cloud channel.  Listen to the “why” behind Cloud Conventions.Register for Cloud Conventions Today »
How to keep employees socially connectedLet’s face it.  Times right now are pretty stressful at best and downright scary at worst.  We’ve sent our employees home and changed the way we do business as we cope with how to keep our employees truly connected and business moving forward.  Many of our people are more focused on navigating the dangers of going grocery shopping and how to keep their kids educated and entertained.Convey kept its office open and available to employees who wanted to come into work until we decided it was no longer safe to do so and sent everyone home to work virtually.  We’ve got a lot going on as we launch our virtual trade show, Cloud Conventions, in May so finding a plan and process to keep everyone motivated, feeling connected and staying productive has been top of mindshare.  Right now, we are all being over-webinared to death, so having a better way to stay connected is critical so we don’t just check out.Being a veteran of the conference calling industry, as well as having run an addiction treatment program, I went back to that well of my past experience to create a plan and process for social connecting while social distancing that seems to be working for our company.  Here is our plan and process that I want to share with all of you.We start with an 8:15 HuddleFirst thing in the morning, we have a quick huddle over video conferencing that focuses more on how we are doing personally vs. what we are doing professionally.  Cameras are turned on, even though we don’t look that great in our pajamas or sweatpants and with no makeup, but we can see the environment that everyone is working in, even if their cats jump on their desk. Here are the three questions we ask our team:1.     What did you learn about our current situation with the virus?2.     What are you watching that you’d like to recommend to everyone?3.     What did you accomplish personally?The answer to the first question is designed to have us talk about the progress our country is making in the fight against Covid-19, debunk any false information, and do a reality check on how long our situation might last. Since we are all streaming Netflix or Amazon, we can connect socially on shows that we are all watching together.  Right now, our guilty pleasure is Tiger King, a 7-part documentary about Joe Exotic and his big cat animal park in Oklahoma and his death match with animal rights activist Carol Baskin who runs the Big Cat Animal Rescue in Tampa.  This gives us a big laugh and an opportunity to talk about the bizarre story that has gripped the interest of America.  We’ll be on to the next binge-worthy show soon.  We would have talked about this live in the office and doing so virtually gives us as close to the same experience as possible.The question about personal accomplishments keeps people focused on finding something small they can do to feel they are not just wasting away at home.  We have people share their online workouts, something new they cooked for dinner, or even attending support groups online.  Tonight, I’m participating in a virtual trivia game that our team is doing vs. going to the restaurant we owned that had to be shuttered during the crisis.Break up the day with a virtual lunch.The first day of our total work from home environment, we had everyone meet for lunch over video.  We got a chance to catch up socially, find out what everyone had cooked, and just hang out as we would have at the office.  We won’t do that every day, but I suggest once or twice a week as a great way to break up the day. End the day with a 5:00 daily recap.Our last call of the day is at 5:00 and we ask everyone to weigh in on the following:·      What was your bi
How Businesses Can Adjust in the face of the CoronavirusYou can’t turn on TV or the radio without having the media create a level of panic about the Coronavirus.  The telecommunications, cloud and contact center industry’s largest trade shows were cancelled with moments to spare.  And you all know the wild ride we are having on Wall Street. However, because we live in a technology-driven world, perhaps it is time to pivot, not panic and let technology step in while the virus behaves like the flu, has its season, and then goes underground as the weather warms up.  Here are some thoughts for our business community.
Reasons why you should not “do it yourself” when it comes to your websiteMany small businesses think it’s OK to take a DIY approach when it comes to their website.  They get free technology from WordPress or inexpensive site building programs, set out to build their website or engage an inexpensive intern to do the job for them.  But much like those home DIY projects, the results are often not what the business needed or wanted and the results can be a website that is not interesting and engaging, too hard to keep up to date and  doesn’t reflect how that business wanted to be viewed in the marketplace.Here are some reasons that having a DIY website may not be your best business decision.
Why WordPress sites are bad for small businessThe current market leader in websites is WordPress powering 50 million websites.  It’s “free” technology for creating the site, appeals to the cost-conscious business, seems easy enough and offers some great looking layouts to make site creation easy.   If you already have WordPress as the underlying technology your site is built on or are considering using it, here are some downsides that should give you reasons not to use this “market leader”. 
Avoiding Website Gotchas We talk about understanding the hidden issues that can bring a website to its knees.When it comes to websites, most people realize that if the website looks bad, is outdated, and difficult to navigate, it hurts rather than helps a business.  But what they may not know, is that there are some gotchas in their websites that are often nasty surprises that cause them to spend lots of money in redesign, maintenance or what’s even worse, legal fees.
"You never have a second chance to make a first impression"People make the same snap judgments about website that they do about people.  Google and other researched how people react to websites and found out that in about ½ a second, a person will form an opinion about your website and either stay to explore more or leave and go elsewhere.  Explore how your website might be leaving a bad first impression.
We keep you from flying blind and make your decisions count. For this MicroCast series we are focusing on the topic of gifts.  Now that doesn’t mean we are going to teach you how to find those deals and steals, get you informed about the latest gadgets or help you with the coolest trending Christmas gift.  Rather, we are going to focus on the gifts that Convey’s technology brings to master agents, vendors, carriers and partners to make their business lives easier. Whenever I think about how old I’m getting, how long I’ve been in business and how much I can no longer do because I’m not built like a 20-year old, I remember that all the time I have spent on Earth has one huge advantage and that is insight.  Insight is something that can come because you’ve had experiences over the years that have taught you to be wiser, more tuned in, and strategic. Convey also gives you the gift of insight without having to spend all of that time and years developing it.  We are a data collector and organizer of that data to let you know if partners are interested, what they care about and if your message is getting through.  If you take that data and analyze it, then you know what is working and what isn’t so you can adjust and pivot.Let’s start with who is looking.  You’ve put together an amazing program, spent countless hours developing marketing resources, added good content and were inspired when you created a killer promotion.  But now what?  Wouldn’t it be great to know if things are being looked at, who is looking and how much time they are spending engaged with what you added online?  If you have a Convey catalog or portal, we give you this insight.   If portals are public, then you can see how many views you are collecting on catalog pages, banners or content.   If people are behind a login, you can tell which member is looking and their viewing habits. And then, what are people looking at?  It’s very informative to know if your message is resonating or being ignored.  It’s also very informative to know which of your portal members are engaged and those that just aren’t looking.  Convey’s reporting system shows you all of the activity for a content catalog as well as each and every piece of content and event inside.  You can see what is being looked at and who is looking if they have logged in.  Now that you have the insight about what’s working and what’s not, what should you do next?  Remove the clutter of content nobody cares about.  Adjust the promotion so more people care.  Add more case studies if that’s what gets people’s attention.  Spend more time with people that are engaged with you and less time with people that are not inspired by your message or what you sell. Insight lets you adjust.And are your messages getting through and how they are received?  For all of the complaining about getting too many emails, let me remind you that email outperforms all social medial combined in getting the message out and producing the right ROI. Convey is email centric because most of our users are businesses that rely on email to stay informed.  Convey portals send out notifications, reminders, welcome emails, custom messages and newsletters to portal members.  Portal members use our Conduct marketing tools to deliver promotional email campaigns. But how do you know if it’s working?  That’s where the insight you get from email reports comes in.  Reports tell you if the email was delivered or if it bounced.  It tells you if it was opened or not read.  Then, we go above and beyond that to let you know if people clicked and how many times they hit those hyperlinks.So, what insight can you gain from our email reports?  First, you can see if you have a good or bad email list and remove emails that
We help you get more done in fewer steps.For this MicroCast series we are focusing on the topic of gifts.  Now that doesn’t mean we are going to teach you how to find those deals and steals, get you informed about the latest gadgets or help you with the coolest trending Christmas gift.  Rather, we are going to focus on the gifts that Convey’s technology brings to master agents, vendors, carriers and partners to make their business lives easier. I know tons of people who obsess over watching Marie Kondo show you how to fold things, organizers that keep clutter at bay, or gadgets that help you go faster and do more with less.  If you are efficient, you are likely much more to be effective in both your personal and business life. Convey is built to give you the gift of efficiency.  Because we are a small company, we built our technology to be automated, manage processes without you having to intervene, onboard and manage partners, remind and message, and manage your communication and marketing.  For most everything in our portals or catalogs, you can just set it and forget it! Let’s start with automation.  If you’ve been in business long enough you have suffered through manual processes that create a time suck when you are trying to get things done.  What’s worse, is that when processes are not automated, people forget to do things, make mistakes and focus way too much time in administration and not enough time on running the business. Convey has the philosophy that it’s so much easier on you to just “set it and forget it”.  We automate how content and events are displayed on our portal home pages by automatically displaying events on the home page calendar, rotating content posts on and off the home page or adding content to directories when it’s posted.   It’s now really efficient to keep your information from being old and out of date.  It’s super frustrating for people to go look for an incentive only to find one that they get super excited about and find that it was for Q1 and now you are in Q3.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with promotions that are out of date, events that have come and gone or anything that has expired.  Convey makes it easy and efficient for you to keep old stuff cleaned out by using our scheduling engine.   Take down any banner, event or piece of content by scheduling it to appear and then be removed when it’s no longer relevant.Let’s talk about the efficiency you have in engaging the members of your portal.  You would likely stop looking at things unless you are reminded to do so.  Think about how many emails you get from that favorite vendor with new products, sneak peaks or special sales.  Retailers know that you have to see something a number of times before you click through, take a deeper look and buy that item that they have so diligently been promoting.This process is no different when you think about getting your portal members to pay attention to you.  Convey’s technology is built to engage its members and makes it efficient to do it.   Start by whether portal members are looking at all.  The system knows how long it’s been since the last login and if that is too long, sends a gentle reminder to take a look.  The portal invites members to be responsive and take action vs. just look around.  You can add forms, links, registrations and other calls to action so portal members have something to do and not just something to look at.  You can send emails, newsletters and text reminders to get portal members to remember you are still out there thinking about them.We make training much more efficient. New portal members can land on a dashboard that takes them through the product training they need, gives them more information about your partner program, and lets them know how
Explore the tools that make your channel life easier. During the holiday season, we are focusing on gifts.  Not those deals and steals, cyber bargains or doorbusters, but the gifts that Convey’s technology brings to master agents, vendors, carriers and partners to make their business lives easier.  Today is tool time. Everyone has a tool guy in their life like my husband who has a gadget for everything to build things, repair stuff that breaks or manage just about any landscaping need.  He always says that what he doesn’t have one of, he has two of them. Convey likes tools as well and we’ve built quite a few of them into our portals.  Our tools let you market to partners and let them market to customers.  We built in tools to get people’s feedback, analyze what people are interested in and let you know if they login, look around and click.  We have tools to manage your data, keep your contacts organized and remind you to do stuff.   If you like tools, then our portals and catalogs are like one giant toolbox with things that you can use to build, repair and renew. Let’s start with our portal marketing toolkit.  To us, marketing means getting the word out and in the hands of the right audience, making your offer clear and getting people to respond.  And we have lots of tools to do the job.  If you own one of our portals, you have a message library with automation built right in, so you don’t have to grind it out creating and delivering messages.  The library has automated notifications, reminders and welcome emails that talk to your audience automatically.  Those messages remind portal members to login if they have been inactive too long, let them know that they have a file waiting, or have a new marketing campaign ready for them to look at.  Newsletters are automated.  Create one and add sections, put it on a schedule, and then it automatically goes out with links back to new content and events.And we don’t forget about portal members.  We created marketing tools that members can use to deliver content from the portal in just one touch or run a sophisticated marketing campaign created for them with no creativity or work needed.  When a piece of content is added to the portal, there is a 1-touch email share button.  When a viewer presses the button, their email client pops up with a landing page link to view the content letting them send it out with a personal message.  It’s a great tool to share case studies, marketing materials or product information.Then there’s the toolkit every salesperson wants under their tree, Conduct.  This tool lets portal owners create email marketing campaigns with 4 outbound emails and a landing page and delivers it right to the members’ dashboards in the portal.  Salespeople open up the campaign, set a schedule for delivery, add their list and out the door it goes.  All their emails and landing pages are branded for them and they have reports to see who is opening, clicking and signing up.Who doesn’t love organizers, right? There are quite a few of us that like to straighten our drawers, declutter our closets and watch Marie Kondo tell us how to fold clothes.  Convey has lots of tools to keep you organized, reduce the chaos and clutter, and save you time looking for things.  Let’s start with our CRM tools built right inside each portal.  We “decluttered” big CRMs like Salesforce, created a simple tool that anyone can use, and made it perform the most common tasks like holding data, creating notes, assigning tasks and running reports.  We have a CRM to hold member data, another one to keep track of administrators in the portal, and a prospect CRM with an automated way to get prospects into the hands of salespeople.  It’s a business organizer’s dream.So back to portal members.&nb
Save time in how you manage, message, onboard and connect with your partnersFor this MicroCast series we are focusing on the topic of gifts.  Now that doesn’t mean we are going to teach you how to find those deals and steals, get you informed about the latest gadgets or help you with the coolest trending Christmas gift.  Rather, we are going to focus on the gifts that Convey’s technology brings to master agents, carriers vendors and sales agents to make their business lives easier. If you ask just about anybody, the one gift we all want but often eludes most of us is the gift of time.   Imagine having hours back in your day so you don’t have to work late hours, can spend more time with your family, get to the gym for that workout or just have time to sit down.  It’s something we all strive for. In the industries we serve, sales agents and master agents are small business owners, so they have to do it all from selling deals to managing accounts to doing all of the administration to run a business.  Vendors and carriers don’t have it any better.  They have lots of people to satisfy, need to travel and attend events, and then keep both partners and their customers happy.  All of those things can suck time right out of the day with little left over for personal things. Every day, Convey delivers the gift of more time by reducing the time it takes to distribute content, automate processes, managing messaging and outreach, and consolidating content in one place to eliminate wasted time searching all over the internet for what sellers need to serve their customers.  Let’s take a look at some of those time-saving opportunities so you know they are out there and how to take advantage of them.We save you time in getting the word out.  Marketing spends a lot of time developing product slicks, case studies, incentives, videos and marketing materials.  However, that time is wasted if it doesn’t make it into a salesperson’s hands.  That’s where Convey’s Hub and Spoke technology comes in. Vendors and carriers have online catalogs where they can tell their story, let partners and producers know what segments of the market they play in, how their products and services fit in and why partners should pay attention.  A catalog is a blank canvas where marketing can paint any picture they want.  It’s quick to add pages, banners, videos, and marketing materials, but the efficiency of getting that information into the hands of partners is time-savings magic.  Put a product slick online in the hub site, press the save button and it magically appears on every master agent portal.  It’s not enough to just get information online, you have to get people to pay attention and for portal owners this is automated.  Portals send out messages when new content is added, can automatically add content to the home page, and reminds portal members to come look.  All of these processes are automated, so no time is wasted in trying to get the word out. We save you time looking for stuff. You can certainly find a lot of content on Convey’s portals online, but the time it takes to search and look on different websites can be lengthy.  Portals put information in one online location and make that information easily searchable, saving time looking around.  If you are looking at a master agent portal with many vendors and carriers adding information, those vendors give you links to take a deeper dive, so you don’t have to guess where to find it. We save you time onboarding portal members.  So, you sign a partner or agency up, now what?  Sometimes training and onboarding people can be a time-intensive activity unless you have technology to help you. 
Explore how where to find those gifts in our services.This time of year, we are obsessed over gift giving.  We’ve now been through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday trying to find just the right gifts for what seems like an ever-expanding list of people that expect them.  What makes this time much more stressful is the gift buying season happens to be shorter this year based on the limited number of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.When those of us at Convey thought about this gift giving season, we remember you, the customers who give us the gift of your trust, your support, your participation in educating your audiences and your marketing dollars that make what we do possible. Those gifts come to us all year long and we thank and appreciate you for your business and friendship. We’d like to take the time in this MicroCast series to look at the gifts that using our technology brings to you, your businesses and the partners and producers that use our services to help them be better at serving their customers. One of the most precious, and often overlooked presents that we all need is the gift of more time.  I’ve watched my master agent friends work long hours to manage all of the activities it takes to run their business.  They are on the phone countless hours helping sales partners and producers close business, connecting with their carriers and vendors, processing commissions or resolving issues.  The time drain applies to vendors and carriers as they jet around the country, meeting with partners and customers and getting more of them to develop relationships.  Time in the industries we serve is precious and often in short supply.Every day, Convey delivers the gift of more time by reducing the time it takes to distribute content, automate processes, managing messaging and outreach, and consolidating content in one place to eliminate wasted time searching all over the internet for what people need to serve their customers. Convey adds tools that helps you manage programs, marketing and messaging. My husband is the ultimate tool guy with a gadget for everything from tools that let him build things, repair stuff that breaks or manage just about any landscaping need.  In fact, he likes tools so much, we have duplicates of them across two houses.  And I’ll admit, I like tools as well.  Alexa is a tool that lets me stay put while she turns on the lights, TV, tells me the time and lets me order stuff.   And I have my own color coordinated tool kit to hang pictures and fix stuff.Convey likes tools as well and we’ve built quite a few of them into our portals.  Our tools let you market to independent agents and let them market to customers.  We built in tools to get people’s feedback, analyze what people are interested in and let you know if they login, look around and click.  We have tools to manage your data, keep your contacts organized and remind you to do stuff.   If you like tools, then our portals and catalogs are like one giant toolbox with things that you can use to build, repair and renew. And who doesn’t like gifts that make you more efficient.  I know tons of people who obsess over watching Marie Kondo show you how to fold things, organizers that keep clutter at bay, or gadgets that help you go faster and do more with less.  If you are efficient, you are likely much more effective in both your personal and business life.Convey is built to give you the gift of efficiency.  Because we are a small company, we built technology to be automated, manage processes without you having to intervene, onboard and manage partners, remind and message, and manage your communication and marketing...
MicrocastGaining an EdgeThis year Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will not be making an appearance in the college football playoffs thanks to Auburn’s stunning victory in the Iron Bowl.  But you can count on Coach Saban to be there just about every other year.  He has many secrets to being at the top including the undying support of his university and the alumni, a huge budget and good coaches.  We have focused our college football MicroCast series on why he has been so successful, and today’s episode is about Saban’s willingness to use technology to get an edge.A few years ago, Alabama began using a GPS system to track the performance and workload of its players.  Without getting too technical, this GPS system tracks a player’s top speed or acceleration in practice with his past performance.  Saban is looking to see if that player is getting worn out during the season.  Alabama lost to Clemson in the final minute of a national championship game, prompting Saban to consider that his team was tired.  Once he started using the GPS system to crunch the number, the data showed that the Tide had a performance drop off in post season, so Saban adjusted practice to keep his players fresh.  So, if we take a play from Saban’s playbook and use technology to get an edge in our channel program, what technology should we be looking at and how can using that technology help us recruit better, run our program better and get more deals?Start by using the data to be analytical about the ROI for each partner you work with.  I’m sure Saban’s GPS was relative complex, but once he used it after losing to Clemson, he won the national championship the next year after adjusting his strategy.  Your program likely has quite a bit of data that you need to use to determine what adjustments should be made in your partner strategy.  Look at the number of referrals and quotes to closed deals to see if the partner is sending in junk or real opportunities.  Look at what it is costing you to recruit and support a partner and adjust if the cost is too high.  Geolocate where you have the best partner traction and spend more time going to those locations. If you are in the Convey Channel program, run a catalog report to see which partners are engaged and what they interact with. Create digital experiences that engage partners when you’re not with them.  You’ll never have enough staff, money or time to go everywhere and that’s where digital experiences come in.  Technology, particularly Convey’s Channel program and partner portals, enable you to educate partners online, be present when partners are doing their research and starting their journey to find the right services and ensure that they are aware of your latest and greatest financial incentives.Use technology to automate your processes.  Channel programs have a lot going on, never enough money and almost always are understaffed.  One way to get around this dilemma is to invest in a partner portal to make your staff more efficient and do more with less.  If you were using one of our portals, we would automate partner onboarding, managing your data, regular messaging and outreach and provide assets for marketing and campaigns.  Without automation, your program will never grow and may even have a hard time being relevant and surviving.Leverage technology to make sure partners show up.  Saban believes that a full stadium is essential to keeping player morale up and winning games.  However, when the Tide is far ahead by halftime, students tend to leave, and the stadium starts to empty.  Technology has stepped in to encourage students to stay longer with an app called “Tide Loyalty Points”.  If students stay through the 4th quarter, they earn points toward priority access to post-season games. &nb
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