Memories of Customer Conferences Past

Note to readers: This post is focused on Sage Partners. If you are not a Sage Partner, you might want to sit this one out.

Having been with Sage over seven and a half years now, I am hesitant to begin a story with the phrase, "When I was a partner…" So much has changed in the almost ten years since I practiced that hearing myself say this makes me cringe. But against my better judgment, here goes.

Among my fondest memories of when I was a partner, was participating in the Great Plains customer conference which is still known as Convergence, albeit a Microsoft event now.

In the first year of its existence, my firm was fortunate enough to have a few customers who were interested in making the trek from New York to the Swalphin (my wife’s pet name for Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Convention Center in Orlando). In fact, one of our customers won the first ever software industry award for customer loyalty.

The most dominant memory though is the fact that all of us partners felt as if we were cohosts of the event. As examples:

  • We gave each of our customers tee-shirts with our logo and the old Great Plains logo on it and asked that they wear it on a certain day of the conference.
  • We made sure to eat breakfast as a group and invited our friends from the GP support department.
  • We arranged for special walkthroughs of the trade show area with our customers in attendance.
  • We were encouraged to organize dinners and invite GP executives who graciously came and spoke to each customer.
  • We met our customers and GP friends every night at the dueling piano bar, Jellyrolls at the Disney Boardwalk.

All this was fun to be sure, but there is one important business result, we never lost a customer who attended the event with us.

As someone who is working on the first combined (partners and customers) Sage Summit 2011 team, I can tell you we want our partners to feel like they are cohosts of this new event. I am sure many Sage partners have heard about some of the things we have planned, but I would like your feedback as well on how we could make you feel as if you are cohosting the event.

A Call for Ideas

I have been asked to deliver a four hour session for Sage Partners at Summit 2011 on some advanced consulting topics. I have a few ideas as to topics including: change and transition and dealing with sabotage, but I am wondering if any of you have some thoughts as to topics. Again, the session is on advanced consulting.