Day one of Channel Partners Virtual is in the books — and it didn't disappoint.
Despite talk of "virtual fatigue" running rampant in the industry, the channel responded in force. We registered nearly 2,100 people to kick off the industry's largest independent channel event. And these folks engaged with one another, exchanging approximately 10,000 messages and setting up hundreds of meetings on our virtual platform. You might say that going virtual isn't stopping an audience that is exceptional at networking.
The channel's most prominent sponsors and exhibitors showed up as well — 65 in all. Also, we have more than 100 top speakers participating in 75 sessions this week overall.
I polled our members of our editorial team, doubling as session monitors, for some of their highlights from day one:
You have to start at the beginning. JS Group's Janet Schijns kicked off the day with what our managing editor, Buffy Naylor, described as a "big-picture view" of the channel. Schijns, a frequent keynoter at our live shows, set up the entire event describing how channel businesses can succeed in 2021.
One of news editor Edward Gately's highlights was "If You Had a Second Chance." The session featured reps from partners Iuvo Technologies and Pine Cove Consulting, who talked about how they stepped in and helped customers navigate the struggles brought on by COVID-19.
"It was interesting finding out how not only the two companies, but others in the chat, were and are still impacted by the pandemic," said Gately.
Our MSP 501 editor, Allison Francis, loved "Marketing Mistakes You're Making and How to Fix Them." The session featured four top channel marketers with a recap of a challenging year, but optimism for the future. They unleashed a ton of tips to improve partner marketing efforts.
"Marketing can a lot of times be something that partners don’t invest in," said Francis. "That's due to lack of resources, budget, know-how, etc. This session did an amazing job of providing digestible tips for those who may not be marketing-savvy."
For me, the marketplaces debate was one for the history books. Forrester's Jay McBain, our Influencer of the Year, led an important discussion on a critical industry topic. It gave partners a lot to think about, with the implication that should they should open their eyes and consider if their traditional routes to market will serve them in the long run.
This all sets up a jam-packed day two. New T-Mobile channel chief Pat Watkins kicks things off Wednesday with a close look at the partner opportunity in 5G. We'll follow that up with a panel discussion on the topic. Later, learn how partners and vendors can work better together in another panel discussion.
That's just a taste of day two. We're excited for our first-ever diversity and inclusion (D&I) meet-up. It'll be a networking event that features stories from organizations that are leading D&I awareness in the channel. We'll wrap the day by recognizing some of our Channel Partners/Channel Futures award winners. Be sure to check the full agenda for the sessions you want to attend.