Podcast: Play in new window
Subscribe Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Amazon Music | Android | Pandora | iHeartRadio | Stitcher | Email | Deezer | RSS | More
Listen to this special episode where we talk with Telarus Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Patrick Oborn. We talk about his winding path to founding Telarus, then get into key strategies he has seen partners embody that truly 3x, 4x, or even 10x their sales and their business. You won’t want to miss the first of many sales tips and strategies!
Josh Lupresto (00:01):
Welcome to the podcast that is designed to fuel your success in selling technology solutions. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of Sales Engineering at Telarus. And this is Next Level BizTech. Hey everybody, welcome. We are back here with a special episode with a special guest, longtime listener, first time caller, really important person, Chief Product Officer and co-founder of Telarus, Patrick Oborn. PKO, welcome.
Patrick Oborn (00:31):
Thank you so much for having me, Josh. I, like you said, longtime listener, love, love this podcast. It’s amongst one of my favorites. I’m not saying that just because you’re here right now, but cuz it’s a little truth. You, you do a very good job of bringing on people that can, that can deliver information that helps people’s businesses. So, congratulations on a very successful podcast, my friend, season two, I believe, um, pushing season three here, real close and, uh, too many more successful seasons. I think if you continue to do the job you’re doing, you’re not only gonna keep growing this thing in terms of, of quality of content, but in terms of audience and everything else. So I’m starstruck to be here with you and thanks for having me, Josh.
Josh Lupresto (01:08):
Love it, man. Uh, thanks for giving me a job. This is gonna be fun.
Patrick Oborn (01:12):
<laugh>, uh, you kind of deserve it.
Josh Lupresto (01:15):
All right, we’re talking special episode here. Uh, you know, we usually have these three part tracks where we talk about, uh, you know, perspective on the technology a supplier, and then really get the partners purview on it. Today we’re talking about how to 10 x sales. Um, we get a lot of these questions from partners, A lot of tips, a lot of tricks. I feel like we could pack this into 50 episodes, right? And who knows, we might. Uh, but today we’re gonna boil it down from your perspective. We’re gonna run through some of the normal stuff, but then we’re gonna spice it up with, with some of your input, which I’d love, cuz you’ve got so much passion and energy and good stuff to share in this. So, as we always do, when we kick these off, let’s talk about your background, your path to starting to Telarus. And I want to hear anything good and anything bad, and anything I don’t already know.
Patrick Oborn (01:59):
Fantastic. Well, when I was growing up as a teenager, my dad owned his own business. He was a part of a three-way partnership. It was called OTA Physical Therapy, obo, TrackMan Aston. They had 15 locations across Southern California and they had a really, really nice business. Um, he later on in, in development of the business, he kind of got out of sorts with, uh, his partners and stuff, and basically was telling, telling me, Patrick, whatever you do, don’t start your own company. It’s a pain, it’s a hassle. There’s stress. The employees are always the first to get paid. The business owner’s always the last to get paid. There’s risk and, and you know, God forbid something doesn’t go right with your partners, it’s a, it’s a total train wreck. So just go to college, get a good job, save up for retirement, live a good life.
Patrick Oborn (02:41):
That was his advice to me. So I I, I did that thing. I, I went to college. I studied, I was a math and engineer geek. Um, I had, I had interned a few summers in my dad’s physical therapy offices. So when I went to college, I kind of thought I was going pre-med or something like that cuz both my parents are physical therapist. Um, my wife is a physical therapist, so surrounded by physical therapy, um, you know, rehab, uh, hips, knee replacements. Um, um, I thought maybe I’ll be an orthopedic surgeon. I’ll fix people up and then send them to physical therapy, right? So, wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. Um, but as I interned with my dad, I realized that people didn’t wanna pay their bills. Like I, they put me in the collections department. It was fantastic, you know, calling people, letting ’em know, Hey, this is not covered by insurance.
Patrick Oborn (03:25):
You need to pay this. And I was like, you know, I really want to go into an industry where I can use my talent, where I can guarantee it. I’m gonna get paid. Not necessarily a lot of guarantees in healthcare. If you’re gonna do all this work in half, the people are gonna stiff you. So I, I went to my, my, my counselor at, at Brigham Young University where I did my undergraduate and I said, what, what’s the major that I can make the most money at? Like secure money where I can apply my talents, like math, physics, you know, that kind of stuff. And she said, chemical or electrical engineering. I said, I, I’m really bad at chemistry. Let’s do electrical engineering. Not even really knowing what electrical engineering was. Um, long story short, I got a master’s degree in, in computer chip design.
Patrick Oborn (04:08):
So I went back to California where I’m from and I got a job at TRW Space and Defense, now Northrop Grumman designing, um, classified communication computer chips, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it sounds, sounds good. Now, how the heck did we get into telecom is probably, yeah. Like we gotta start, you know, closing the loop here pretty quick. Um, honestly, I, I was very disappointed when I came outta college and I learned how much money I was gonna make. Not that the starting salary was bad, it was decent, but the velocity at which I would grow my paycheck, right? Right, right. Raises promotions was incredibly slow. And, and my manager sat me down one day, said, Patrick, you seem like you’re a young man full of ambition. You need to lower and temper your expectations a little bit and have patience. Have patience. You’re gonna be the manager one day, but man, you gotta might take 10 years. And I’m like, I don’t have 10 years.
Josh Lupresto (04:58):
What are words that entrepreneurs don’t want to hear? Slow down.
Patrick Oborn (05:01):
But I didn’t know as an entrepreneur just quite yet. And so, um, in order to make more money, uh, I, I did everything I could at work and I found that I was, you know, I don’t wanna toot my own horn, but I was pretty smart. I was top of my class. I, and it wasn’t that I understood stuff more than other people. I just understood it at a faster philosophy, right? I just, I just got it quick. So I got my work done in short order, and one day I went to my boss and I said, Hey, boss, um, I, I don’t have anything to do. Like, I’ve, I finished this project you gave me six months to do in four months, so what did I do for their two months? And they said, well, we can’t give you another project is yet, just look busy, <laugh>, right?
Patrick Oborn (05:36):
So during my look busy time, I started teaching myself how to code. Um, uh, unfortunately, I, I opted to the math and physics routes of all the electives at BYU. I should have in, in retrospect, done a lot more computer science, but I didn’t. So I bought myself SQL for Dummies, HTML for Dummies. Yes. I read it, started throwing up some websites, and then as soon as as I started throwing up websites, I started to get really interested in internet marketing. Like, how do I get people to those websites when I get them? How do I convert them into customers? And so that’s what I started to do. And, um, I, I, I started a website called cheap rates.com. It’s still there today, but we took, took it down. It’s just too hard to maintain. But I realized that out of the airfare and the home security systems and the cellular and, and everything else that I sold, long distance, calling cards, call back, dial around, OnePlus, all of that stuff toll-free, it paid residual income.
Patrick Oborn (06:29):
And so that’s the first time that the, the telecom, the residual income, light bulb, light, you know, went off in my head. And I said, hold on a minute. So I started to really focus all my efforts on driving traffic to those, to those products. Um, the company that captured my traffic and converted it into dollars for me, um, a couple months later actually reached out to me and gave me an unsolicited offer to come and code their whole website. And I said, yes, under one condition, and that is that I get to keep my agency do, do not make me walk away from my agency or I’m not gonna take this job. And they said, fine, that’s, you can keep your agency. That was earning some good money. So I took the job, um, I started working at home way back in the 1990s, 1998. Um, started working at home. Um, and it was fantastic. I’ll never forget the day where I told my parents I was gonna quit my job that I had spent six years studying for, got security clearances for, and I was gonna work for this internet company. <laugh>.
Josh Lupresto (07:24):
Yeah. What is this internet
Patrick Oborn (07:25):
Thing? The interwebs man? The interwebs. Yeah. It was, it was a crazy time. So it was, it was really early on. And the thing that that captured my imagination was trying to find information that was floating out there mm-hmm. <affirmative> and consolidated it into one place that people could access that. And that’s really still the essence of Telarus that I’ll talk a little more about. But, but, but Compartmentally compartmentalizing that information, consolidating that information into one consumable place, um, carried and still does today a ton of value. And so, um, we, we did that and then they were really focused on residential. One day I raised my hand, I said, boss, this residential thing ain’t gonna work out forever. Right? Reading the tea leaves doesn’t take an expert to see that that long distance is going to flat rate or just you pay a fixed amount and you just get it right as part of your, your wireless plans.
Patrick Oborn (08:16):
And so I suggested to my boss one day, Hey, why don’t we open a commercial division where we can leverage all of these affiliate relationships? We out there, we have out there to drive commercial, telecom and internet leads as opposed to just residential. So yeah. So I have my background in residential. Um, I built all their backend systems. I said, let’s do this. And my boss politely said, that sounds like a great idea, but we’re not doing that <laugh>. Oh. And I said, okay. I said, but how about this? What if I start my own company and we build it up and we federate our two companies together and all be the business division of your company and you can maintain the residential division of your company company. And they said, fine, but don’t expect us to invest any money in it. If you wanna do this on your own dime, then let’s go forward. So my next call was to my best friend growing up, Adam Edwards. And I said, Hey Adam, I have a business opportunity for you, my friend. I think we can, we can really make some, some inroads here. And he said, really? What, what are we gonna do? I said, we’re gonna sell commercial telecom in long distance.
Josh Lupresto (09:16):
<laugh>. Yeah, there it is.
Patrick Oborn (09:19):
And he laughed because he was an auditor at kpmg and then later on a controller of a, of a startup tech company, and he is like, commercial telecom, what the hell is that <laugh>? I said, bro, it pays residual. He said, I’m in <laugh>. Yes, I done.
Josh Lupresto (09:35):
It’s all that matters.
Patrick Oborn (09:36):
So, so yeah. So we, we, our, my first, my second question to him was, how much money do you have in your savings account, <laugh>? Cause we’re, we’re gonna need it. Good. It does. I’ve been saving up. You’ve been saving up. And he said, I have 70 grand in my account. And I said, dude, I have 60 grand in my account. And we did the math and figured out what our burn rate was. If we could eliminate all of our expenses, we could survive 19 months and give it a go. So we started coding and working hard. Adam just was out just trying to sell anything he could sell mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I was, I was coding and trying to consolidate information so that I could have a system to plug into that network. While that system became geo quote, that system became the Telarus agent back office. That system became all of those things that we needed to work with that company. And so while we got started into an area that was really new to us, we really had a competitive advantage coming in because I knew that once we had this system built, it would instantly show up on thousands upon thousands of websites on day one. Where
Josh Lupresto (10:33):
Was that? Yeah. Where was that moment? Where was that moment in there? Was it that moment of when you realized, oh my gosh, we, we got something special here. Like, what was that turning point for you?
Patrick Oborn (10:42):
Um, it, it really came when, when they said no, and I saw it like, clearest day. It’s like, I’m telling you, you’re gonna be in a car accident. You need new tires, I’m telling you it’s gonna happen. And they’re like, we don’t believe you. And I’m like, all right, I’m not gonna be part of the accident. I’m gonna remove myself and, and, and build another vehicle that has those nice tires on it. So I, I knew that would be big. I knew that, that people would want more internet, right? And so, um, people always ask me like, what’s, what’s the vision of, of a, of a founder of a company? Well, really it’s, you know, in retrospect, the last 20 years, it looks like we made most of the right turns. We made most of the right choices. But, but in reality, we could really only see one or two year out.
Patrick Oborn (11:25):
Yeah. Right? So we knew that at the time, a, people were gonna want more internet. B, they’re gonna wanna know how much it costs, and c they’re gonna wanna know where it’s available. Because even back then, the availability was much, much worse than it is now. Like, you could be on one street and have great internet on the other street you’re on DSL and dial up. It was awful. And so, you know, figuring out those problems and figuring out how to consolidate that information to one place so that the people that worked with us could have a competitive advantage, right? They could be faster, they could be more knowledgeable, they could be more efficient in their sales motion, and, and, and consolidating that into one easy to use software platform. And so it’s really funny, if you look at the, the TSB that are out there, uh, Telarus is not started by people who are in the business who just morphed out and just kept growing it, right?
Patrick Oborn (12:11):
We were from outside of the business coming into this space. And the things that really jumped off the page to us were all of the inefficiencies that existed. All the things that maybe if you were, if you grew up here, you just accept as, as normal. Because that’s how they always are. We came in and those things stuck out to us, like a s sore thumb. It was like, okay, let me get this straight. You don’t know what you’re selling. You don’t know where you’re selling it. You don’t know how much you’re charging, and you don’t know how much commission you’re gonna make on the back end. Like, how, how does,
Josh Lupresto (12:40):
And you in this business, and you’re going, guys, I’ve, I’ve figured this out. Like the answer is right here. Oh my gosh, we could do something great.
Patrick Oborn (12:47):
And so, yeah. So we didn’t come here for the technology. We came here for the opportunity to organize information. And that’s what I think a lot of people don’t see when they look at this channel itself. Yeah. And especially when they look at h Telarus, I mean, your job Josh, as a sales engineer is to, um, organize information, right? Through experiences, through trainings, through interactions, right? And then, and then take that information and to be able to push it back out into, uh, a very proprietary, very valuable, um, information stream. Very valuable advice, say, based on my experience, which is a lot, um, based off my training, which is a lot, C I S S P AWS certified. I mean, you’ve gone through all those things, right? Plus you add on top of that the frosting, which is actual real world interactions with customers. The information that you have organized in your brain is, is really more important than anything that, that we could offer here at Telarus.
Patrick Oborn (13:38):
And so figuring out a way to, to compartmentalize and, and consolidate that information is really why we’re here today. And, and, and this is an area that I think a lot of partners miss out on. I think that in this business, just like we kind of change the paradigm a little bit, right? From let’s just get out there and hustle our network and just get ’em to order their stuff through us. That was, that was version 1.0. Version 1.0 was a network marketing, let’s be honest, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> like it was order that, you know, CenturyLink circuit through me and I’ll get paid and it’ll be great. But they really weren’t adding value at any stage of that interaction.
Josh Lupresto (14:12):
Right. We’re gonna, I want to come back to adding value. Yes sir. I wanna start with motivation. Yes. So we’re gonna get, I know you’ve got some, uh, some really good unique strategies that, that we’re gonna talk about of how to add value, how to 10 exit, all of those things.
Patrick Oborn (14:24):
Real fast. Can I finish that story?
Josh Lupresto (14:25):
All right, go ahead.
Patrick Oborn (14:26):
When I told my parents I was leaving, they mocked me. They thought I was a dumb decision, right? With with, you know, kids sometimes they’ve got these grandiose things. My parents didn’t understand internet and they didn’t understand residual income. They didn’t understand any of those two, two things. So when I started working on it, my first check came from my first affiliate company and my dad was like, wow, you’ve been working all of your free time, your total side hustle, all of it on that computer. He called it working on that computer all day. You’re not coming down to eat with us. You’re not hanging out with us. You’re on that computer all the time. And I got a check in the mail and my dad actually said, Hey Cheryl, come here. Patrick just got a check from his little internet business, <laugh>,
Josh Lupresto (15:09):
How much Patrick?
Patrick Oborn (15:10):
Open it up, how much is it? $18 and 58 cents. Yes. And he was like, wow. He goes, son, I knew you were smart, but this, this is like genius level. Do you spend all that time and effort? And I said, but dad, it’s gonna be $18 and 58 cents plus the commission I earned last month, plus the commercial I earned this month, plus the commission I’m gonna earn next month. Plus he didn’t understand that. He literally told me, you would’ve been better off to spend that time at McDonald’s cuz you would’ve made 10 times more money. And so every time we had a polar partner summit back in the back when he was alive, um, I would invite him. And every time when Adam started his big pitch and everyone’s in the ballroom, I would just whisper to him McDonald’s
Josh Lupresto (15:54):
Patrick Oborn (15:54):
And he knew what I was talking about.
Josh Lupresto (15:56):
That’s right. That’s awesome. I have not heard that story. That’s great.
Patrick Oborn (16:00):
Alright, well, while we’re, while you’re crushing it with motivation, uh, I want to keep on that theme. So you’ve had a lot of, I mean, besides obviously being part of founding this, driving it to what it is now, but you’ve had some great, you know, personal motivation, right? You’re, you’re running 800 miles a day, all these great, all these awesome things that you’ve done these a hundred milers, but I’m, I’m just kind of curious for, for the partners, what are one to two, whatever lessons that you’ve learned personally, professionally, in all these crazy accomplishments that you have that are helpful, you think, to motivate the partners to push it to the next level to do the things that we’re about to share secrets on with them?
Patrick Oborn (16:40):
I think one of the things that I suffered from, especially early on was imposter syndrome. You know, Adam and I showed up at Channel Partner show, our company was four or five years old. We had a brand new business model, which was really tool based, online based. It wasn’t human network based, so to speak. It wasn’t multi-level market based. It was based on a couple of key things. And people told us, you’re, you’re, you’re just gonna, um, not, um, you’re gonna commoditize the market. You gotta sell our products on value. And I’m like, people don’t really care what value your product. They care what the capabilities are. They care what you’re gonna charge. They’re gonna care how you support it, how you install it. That’s what they’re gonna care about. They’re not gonna care about the value that you keep referencing. And so, so talking to a supplier or talking to a partner about a business they know a lot about and, and kind of telling ’em they’re, they’re not wrong, but maybe they’re misinformed or maybe they just don’t see the, the vision, the the, the total vision of what it could be.
Patrick Oborn (17:36):
Um, that was hard because how do you, how do you build your credibility when you’re new at something? Yeah. And so that’s something where, where we really struggled. And even today, sometimes I, I get up on stage and I, I have those doubts in the back of my mind, like imposter syndrome. Like, you’re getting up, you’re talking about cloud, you’re talking about security. Dude, you started creating a, a website that compared long distance minutes, like rates, like how are you qualified to be here speaking? And, and the same thing with, you know, you, you alluded to the, the ultra, uh, endurance running, you know, for a long time I just tried it, thought it’d be a healthy habit, wanted to go see nature and, and everything else. And I was just happy to be there. I was happy to be mid back of the pack in the middle of the pack.
Patrick Oborn (18:15):
And, um, I didn’t really see myself as an endurance athlete. I saw myself as a weekend warrior that’s just out there trying to, trying to give it a go. Right? And then I hired a coach two years ago. I said, look, Patrick, if, if you wanna stay middle of pack, that’s great, but if you want to like, push the envelope a little bit and see what you’re capable of before you’re 80 years old, right? Cause you’re not getting any younger, um, like take it serious. And so I hired a coach and he changed my diet around, he changed my workouts around, and it was a lot harder, took a lot more discipline, but I started seeing actual results when I thought plateaued. And so I busted through that plateau. Things started happening. And um, and this year, like right after Partner Summit, ironically the day after partner Summit, all those nights with no sleep and stuff, I went and I ran a 100K ultra, the Cachina Mosa 100K.
Patrick Oborn (19:03):
And I won first place overall, not like first place age group. And I was like, and once that happened, every race I show up to, I, I think I look around, I go, I’m gonna beat you. I’m gonna beat you. I’m gonna beat you. I should at least, I should at least finish top five in this race. Like, right? Like, I have that confidence now that I never had until I put in some work and I saw, I saw a little bit of success. And once that, that, that success hit, it’s like putting the key in the door lock and it just ch just unlocked. And so same thing with business. When, um, and there wasn’t like that crystal clear moment in the Telarus, it was just a gradual, people started coming to us. They started asking us for, for more advice, asking us for more information, asking us for more tools.
Patrick Oborn (19:43):
And the great thing about the residual business is it creates more money the month before than, than than the month before. And so we, we had the, the luxury of having money to invest and figure out how to get better. And eventually, you know, I call it, it’s the very unsexy, you know, planning a tree and growing it, and eventually your tree’s gonna be, be strong enough to support a hammock, right? To support some weight. You don’t really know when that moment is until you actually tie the hammock up on and test it out. And, and, and now I think, I think Telarus really got to that point when we combined with your company carrier sales, Josh, because we were kind of stuck. We we’re not stuck, but we were, we were following that same online model for 12 years, 13, 14 years, right? And, and we were really missing out on the enterprise deals.
Patrick Oborn (20:32):
We were missing out on the big lumen deals. We were missing out on the big contact center deals. And we realized, hey, if we’re gonna play in the space, we either need to get better or we need to go buy the talent that we need to plug those, those holes. And, and you guys just stuck out like a sore thumb. I mean, it was just like the obvious match. We were, were transactional and automated. You guys were not automated. You guys staffed and built for expertise in different areas and we like, that’s gonna be the perfect marriage. And so, but again, like I said, you, we see the road, it’s like there’s a fog out there, right? We can see maybe 500 meters, a thousand meters at a time. We can’t see 50 miles out. Fair. But I, I think as long as we know where we’re going, eventually, the, the exact, um, tact we take, the exact road we take to get there is, is a little less relevant. <laugh>.
Patrick Oborn (21:18):
I mean, it’s, it’s very relevant and, and impactful now. But if you know where this train is headed, if you need no need to go west and you’re headed east, like red flag, right? Yeah. But if you are headed west and you’re going northwest and you’re gonna meander back to the west and you don’t know exactly where the road goes, man, that’s what you wanna be on. And so that’s really what we’ve, what we’ve done. We, we, we get credited a lot for being visionaries and getting this company to where it is now. But, uh, and in reality it was, it was take it one mile at a time and listen to your partners. Listen to the people that are on the front freaking lines of battle mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? And, and listen to them, um, listen to what their customers need. Because at the end of the day, this whole industry exists to help the customers consume technology the way, the way they want to consume it. So it’s, uh, so yeah. Good. It’s a long road.
Josh Lupresto (22:05):
Good stuff. I love that. Uh, let’s talk about the first step here. Let’s, let’s baseline it, right? I mean, you think about who’s listening to this potentially, this could be partners that have sold a specific technology in cloud, but maybe didn’t venture into contact center or vice versa. Or maybe somebody that is thinking about doing this that is a, at a current affiliate marketing company and going, wait a minute, I’ve got all these relationships. I could come do this. Right? Step one, right? Our, you know, people understanding our world as it exists. Some people still don’t even know that it exists. They think direct sales is the only way, or I go buy my, my gear from a, a, a certain gear company and, and that’s it. And that’s the only way. So what of the partners that you have seen be very effective in communicating their value to a prospect? Let’s say it’s a new prospect. What’s the, what is that pitch? What’s the strategy? What have you seen really work well in that part of it?
Patrick Oborn (22:58):
I think that is a fantastic question. It’s an area where everybody needs to figure out what their value is. And what I like to tell people, I said, look, you know that you’re doing something right when the customer thinks of you as a part of their team, not a sales rep, right? Direct reps are out there all the time. You cannot have your customers pigeonhole you into that direct rep plug. Like, that’s not, that’s not your whole, that’s not what you do, right? You are a part of their team to advise. Now how is, how is advising a thing? How can advising be valuable? Especially to customers in many cases that don’t think they need your advice. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? You have to make it crystal clear as an advisor that you are a technology broker. Ah, rewind. You are not a technology broker. Why’d I say that?
Patrick Oborn (23:49):
Because most people like nodding their heads, right? Do No, no, that’s a no. You are not a technology broker. Know what you are. You’re a technology information broker, right? Because as you talked about on prior podcasts, especially in Security Cloud, it manage services. Where, why are, are companies having a hard time staffing, right? Because these people are incredibly expensive. It doesn’t make make sense to have a credibly expensive person, limited to just your company. They get bored. Like they’re not, they’re not exposed to all the technologies that they want to be exposed to. And ultimately, where do these people end up? They end up at our suppliers. They the suppliers are it. And, and our suppliers are multiplying and replenishing the earth, right? There’s over 400 now and growing because there’s more suppliers coming in on the consulting side. I mean, there’s so many different areas of technology that require consultants.
Patrick Oborn (24:39):
So that’s where all the talent is. So, so how do, do customers match up all of the things they’re working on with all of the talent that’s out there, right? You need information, you need, um, case studies. You need people who have, have maybe tried that consultant before and put in a review about that consultant, kind of like, you know, um, uh, any type of review board y you have to take all the information that’s out there about the capabilities as the suppliers, which are, are numerous, right? The quality of the suppliers that are numerous, um, and work with somebody like Telarus, right? Where we vet each of these suppliers, we make sure that they are quality, right? You will never be embarrassed by putting one of these people in front of your customers, but also giving you the tools and information you need so that you can be that broker of information of who can do it, who can do it well, who can do it on time, who can do it on budget, right?
Patrick Oborn (25:32):
And, and really help our customers augment. Because right now, every customer, every business is a technology company, right? When you’re battling for customers, when you’re, when you’re out there battling for market share, when you’re out there sometimes battling for survival or battling the regulating authorities or battling whoever, they’re in battles, right? And, you know, um, by virtue of of being the information broker who can help them, in which instance. And so if a partner can communicate to clearly enough to their customer, look, I am a technology information broker. I can give you, remember this pitch. I can give you information that you cannot find in Google. I love that. I can give you information that you cannot find in Forester. I can give you information you cannot find in Gartner, right? That is why you need me, right? Cuz I will help you make the decisions that make sense for your business to keep you in budget and help your projects progress everything else.
Patrick Oborn (26:23):
But more importantly, I can help you, Mr. Customer, be an all star because I’m on your team and you get credit for being my boss. I’m just funneling information to you. I’m funneling a list, list of suppliers that you need to talk to, the questions you need to ask them, um, the things that you need to vet your, um, uh, uh, technology world. So each one of our, each, each customer out there has a so many projects, so many needs. Um, some of them are technological, some of them are, are human resource staffing and, and other resource related issues. Some of ’em are budget, some of them are legal. Like they’re our cus the customers out there, they face so many of those things. And so if a person can convince a customer, I need to be a part of your team because I bring information you cannot find anywhere else, that is the pitch. And I think a lot of people are still get pigeonholed into the sales rep, pigeonholed into the go, get me a quote, right? You’re, you’re like, these are things that, that Google, like there’s plan of technology out there that they can do some of these things. So I think that’s where people miss and combine that with the imposter syndrome. And it’s like, well, how am I really, a technology information’s crazy. Like they don’t believe it. They look in the mirror. What? And tell yourself
Josh Lupresto (27:28):
What’s the worst thing that happens, right? If the worst thing that happens when you ask these is if you get, that’s scary. If you get a no, great. That’s scary. Let me move on and stop wasting time with a customer that I don’t need to. And you brought up a really good point. If you can get past the imposter syndrome thing. I looked back at three or four of the really large deals that we’ve done that have, have timbered up and have grown and grown and grown. And we’ve sold multiple products to through, through one two man shop partners. They all started out as, yeah, I don’t, I don’t really think that we need you. We kind of manage all of this in house. I mean, you guys seem nice. I appreciate you being here, but we really got this, you know, that kind of standoffish IT team, right?
Josh Lupresto (28:04):
And we’ve taken those accounts and because of the partner’s willingness to do exactly what you just mentioned, sell more, sell more, sell more. And it, it was, it was an eye opening moment for me that we had earlier this year, we were sitting down with an enterprise customer that we’ve been selling to this partner for three, four years. And it, it was a business review. He brought his whole team in and this is the guy that’s been there signing the contract, signing the LOAs, that is the sole purchaser that we thought knew us, knew the partner really, really well. He was like, Hey, I got just one quick question. How do you guys get paid <laugh>? And we’re going, you’re asking, he’s asking.
Patrick Oborn (28:42):
It’s because you’re doing consulting level work. People typically bill for.
Josh Lupresto (28:46):
Four years into the relationship. That tells me how much of a bang up job and how much value there is if we get it right and get the recipe communicated. So I love that.
Patrick Oborn (28:53):
Yeah. And there’s, there’s a caveat to that too. There’s, there’s coming in too hot. Yeah. Like coming in, like I know everything. I’m gonna help you, everything else. And you know, you’re telling someone that you need that they need help that probably doesn’t think they need help. Yeah. And so you have to temper it with, hey, let’s, let’s give it a, let’s, let’s start out small, just like you said. I mean that’s, that’s the key. Start out small, find a beach head and expand from there. If you come in spilling all the stuff that you can do, and I’m your security guy and I’m your cloud guy and I’m your everything guy, people are like, whoa, time out. I, you just sold me some voice a couple years ago and now all of a sudden, like, like your, your everything technology? Like, so people have to understand what that is. But if they can just start with the basic concept of technology information brokerage. Yeah. Um, I’m your, I’m your conduit to, to people that can do certain things for you, they can do them, them well because we have a collective experience that we’re, that we’re putting into our, into our, um, into our recommendation engine.
Josh Lupresto (29:48):
. And to you brought up a really good point. Play the long game. Yes. This is not a short term. These trees take time to grow, um, play the long game. And I think you’ll add a ton of value into that relationship. It will, it will pan out. Because to your point, we’re in a weird economic time where these people are pressed, these customers are pressed to do more with the same or less resources. And we’re seeing a lot of those conversations. We were already seeing them before this weird economic climate because it was just hard to find people. Now people are getting squeezed out at some of these companies. And so they have this tech that is sunken in. They may or may not be ready to buy new tech. They might, but they also just need help in maintaining and managing and building and, and best architecture, design, all of those things. We’re seeing all those conversations right now. Um, yeah, it’s a great point you bring up.
Patrick Oborn (30:35):
Yeah. And technology’s really interesting space and it’s really a space that’s not so much driven by technology, ironically enough. It’s it’s driven by human resources. And as soon as people start to understand that, as soon as our partners start to understand that it’s, it’s how do you, how do you connect your customers with the resources that they need, um, that they may not be able to maintain in-house anymore. That the days of having all your resources in-house probably long gone. We’re talking legal, we’re talking accounting, we’re talking everything except your core business now almost needs to be outta house.
Josh Lupresto (31:05):
And you bring up, uh, it’s funny you bring up resources. That’s my next question. Hey, so my next question is, again, this is about how to help people improve their close rate. And, and with that we obviously we have to overcome difficult things and have conversations we might not be comfortable with. But I think sometimes, you know, now that, that we’ve grown and scaled so much, there is a lot of resources here, right? We, we’ve got everything from an engineering to advanced solutions to partner support commission, all of this stuff. If you look again back at your snapshot of partners that are successful, is there a, is there an under underutilized resource? You know, is it one resource? Is it a lot of resources at Telarus? What do you see partners that are underutilizing, if you could say, gosh, I wish you guys would, would, would just use this more.
Patrick Oborn (31:47):
So I have a two part answer to that question. First I wanna talk about just stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with Telarus. It’s just the, the bedside manner of the partner and how they are communicating with the customer. So, so when you go in and start to engage with a customer, you need to find a problem that they have that they don’t know about. That’s, that’s key number one. So I talked to a partner the other day and they had just signed, coincidentally, a large physical therapy firm, <laugh>. So, so the, and this is how the conversation went, um, Mr. Customer, um, we need to talk about your unified communication platform. Mr. Customer said, no, we just have put in a new phone system and, and we’re good and we’ve got 19 locations and I’m in constant contact with my IT guys. They give me the thumbs up and most agents will be like, okay, well I guess let’s talk about security.
Patrick Oborn (32:35):
No, no. What the, what the agent did very smartly, he texted their main number. Hey, is it okay if I come in tomorrow for an appointment? Do you have any open spots in the afternoon? And guess what happened? That text came back as undeliverable… And so he’s like, look, your competitors can accept text appointments from their customers. You cannot. And the customer didn’t believe that the agent, the customer’s, like, that’s, that’s wrong. They’ve been telling me this works cuz he’s the ceo, right? So he’s not necessarily the tech guy. I said, and, and the, and the, uh, agent said, pull out your phone and text your biggest physical therapy location, your biggest office. Text them if you can come tomorrow for an appointment. And his bounced as well. And that, and, and the CEO was like. He’s like, and the agent said, congratulations, you can’t communicate with over half of your potential patient, your your customer base, right?
Patrick Oborn (33:34):
So, so it was again, illustrating a problem that they didn’t know they have it. Every cu every company has one, every company has one. You may call their call center and sit on hold for 10 minutes, right? That means they either have a workforce optimization problem, they have a queuing problem, they they have something, something is off, or they, or they haven’t put AI in front of it so they can eliminate 70% of the calls that could be self self-serviced, right? So there’s always something there. So if, if our agents can understand how to figure out what that problem is. Second thing is, is understanding the resources att Telarus, because being part of being a technology information broker is understanding what problems could potentially exist over here and what solutions you can marry them up to and match them up to. So, uh, understanding the different types of engineers that Telarus has that that we can bring in the different types of tools.
Patrick Oborn (34:27):
Maybe you don’t, you’re not ready for an engineer yet. Maybe you just want to go through a quick security assessment, right? Just ask ’em a couple questions about their GDPR compliance or pci. I was on the phone personally with a customer, um, the other day who wanted to have a security conversation, but the agent was definitely terrified. He’s like, I’ve never had a security conversation. I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m suffering from imposter syndrome right now. I would really appreciate it if you would just use the tool, use the Telarus, uh, assessment tool and, and guide the customer through it so I can hear right? And I can hear what it’s like and then I can do all the assessments on my own after that. So I said, fine, let’s go. And I started talking to the customer. Instantly the customer um, um, entered into a defensive posture, right?
Patrick Oborn (35:07):
He thought, I was like, why are you asking me all these questions? I said, listen, listen, I’m your defense attorney. Like I can’t defend you. I can’t help you. Like right, or like a doctor. I can’t help you if you’re not honest with your physical condition right now. If you lie about symptoms or things that are going wrong, like I can’t treat it and worse, I may, I may misdiagnose you with something cuz you didn’t give me all of the symptoms that you had. So I said, listen, in the spirit of just openness, okay, just be transparent. This is, this is not gonna go to your boss. This is not gonna impact your job, job rating or your pay or your promotion or anything like that. Just be as honest as you can and we’re gonna give you an assessment and you can choose which part of the assessment you wanna run upstream or which part you just want to use your own whatever.
Patrick Oborn (35:50):
So we went through and I said, you know, you know, some of the questions like, do you have a sock and sim? And he is like, uh, I know we need to do that and I’m trying to get one in by the end of the year. Can, can we, can we assist you? He’s like, yeah, that would be okay. And then we got through another question. I’m like, you know, you are a a medical facility. Are you HIPAA compliant? He goes, I think we are. I’m like, okay, well let’s put you, you know, yeah, I said, you process credit cards and copays. Are you PCI compliant? Uh, yeah, I, I don’t know Patrick. Um, I’m the IT guy. Like, is PCI my job? Like, like, so it wasn’t even a technology question. It was like, who’s a responsible for this type of question? And I said, yeah, you run the firewalls, you run the network.
Patrick Oborn (36:33):
That’s the information that carries the credit card data. Yes, it’s, yes, it’s you, but don’t worry. We have access to people that can come and help you get PCI compliance so that your job’s not at risk, right? So your company’s not at risk for, for losing their PCI compliance. And once you lose PCI compliance, guess what, buddy? No more credit cards for you so that that could impact your business. Pretty, pretty big time that you can’t collect credit cards at the point of when the patient’s at. So it was, it was, it was a combination of technology knowing the things that I was gonna bring in, knowing the things that, that we could connect that customer to, but it was also understanding the mindset of the customer, right? It’s not shoving all this stuff down your customer’s throat. It’s having honest conversations with them. It’s, it’s simple things like building trust with them and getting them to open up to you because once they open up to you, then, then you can really do your job.
Patrick Oborn (37:22):
Then you can really have the opportunity to connect them to the engineering and, and all the other resources that Telarus has to offer. And one of the biggest values that we have is that we have relationships with lots of suppliers, but it’s not just the relationship itself, it’s understanding the quality of that supplier. Understanding Yeah. How they perform in the real world, right? And that’s information that your customers are never gonna know. They a they’re never gonna find all the suppliers that are out there. Cuz quite frankly, a lot of ’em come to us, Josh mm-hmm. <affirmative> because they’re terrible at marketing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Their technology is, we sell our stuff. Engineer is awesome, right? But they can’t sell their own story. They can’t, their website’s awful. But man, their their product is awesome. And so that’s, that’s really where, where we’re coming in. But it all starts with the customer engagement, you know, from the challenger sales model.
Patrick Oborn (38:05):
Like the customer engagement with the, the sales rep column, um, is over 50% of, of the whole entire sales interaction satisfaction, right? So it’s understanding what your customer’s fears are. It’s understanding how your customer’s paid, understanding that the person you’re talking to may not be the decision maker, but he may wanna raise from the decision maker, or it’s understanding all of those politics and all the nuance in addition to the technology. And that’s really where our, our industry, that’s our whole job. Our whole job is to make people look good, make good decisions in a way that is, is so non-transactional.
Josh Lupresto (38:37):
You bring up Great point. I wanna throw two things in there. One, it’s, it’s simple and it would, you wouldn’t think that it would be so effective, but I love when we use and partners use the word augment, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Cause how all of the great deals, very non-threatening. Most of the things that we come into people are, you know, it’s a body language thing. People are, are, are, wait a minute, is this person trying to, you know, push me out, blah, blah, blah, right? Um, augment is a huge thing. You brought up another great point of where make no assumptions when you go into this. Um, I love your strategy on, and I’ve seen it be really effective on figure out what their competitors are doing. Are you aware that you can’t do this? And are you aware that your competitors are right? Leverage that kind of intelligence coming in cold, calling them, emailing them, uh, with, with no unique information in the customer’s eyes.
Josh Lupresto (39:22):
They’re hard to get and understand that value you make. No, but I have this value, I have all this great stuff I can tell you about, but you’ve gotta find that hook right at the beginning. I’m gonna throw out, and I, I really should get royalties on this book, but I don’t, but it’s such a great book. I still throw it out and it’s only like 15 bucks on Amazon. There’s a great book out there called Power Questions by Andrew Sobel. It’s, it’s a really simple read. It’s big yellow cover. You can get it on Amazon, but I think it it, what it does, it’s, it’s a bunch of situations and it comes from a guy with a financial analyst background. So, you know, it, it’s, it’s in a sales role, but it’s not exactly our role. But the idea is the same. Don’t just walk in with an agenda of what you think needs to happen.
Josh Lupresto (39:59):
Because what the book talks about is it says, here’s what happens in a scenario of this sales rep that walked in and said, Hey, Mr. Customer, I’m real excited. I wanna talk to you about, you know, improving your, uh, customers that aren’t paying by, you know, three to 15%, right? We’re gonna help you recoup those costs in the, you know, in the, uh, uh, physical therapy, right? When you’re sending out those bills, blah, blah, we’re gonna help you get ’em paid thinking that’s the agenda that you wanna come in. You think that’s what they’re gonna go? Versus, um, if you don’t have that information and if you come in and you say, Hey, Mr. Customer, listen, I I would love to talk to you about helping improve some of these, you know, three to 15%. I think we can get some of your pays down, some of your payers responding quicker, but is that an area that you wanna cover?
Josh Lupresto (40:36):
Is that the key initiatives that you got focused on or kind of given some of the changes that are happening right now, is there other things, other big business initiatives or technology initiatives that you need to, to, to solve and just stop and listen? Um, that was a huge eye opening book. I, I love some of the things in that that just helps us think differently. And I think you, you’ve, you gave a great story of the examples of when partners do that, we see a lot of great things happen. And that’s how you get in and you three x you five x that sale because you find all these things that nobody knew were there and nobody knew you could help ’em with.
Patrick Oborn (41:06):
Yeah. Especially now, I mean, a lot of the technology decisions aren’t even made by the technology decision makers, right? They’re made by other departments. They’re made by the board of directors who said, we will be, um, cybersecurity resilient. We will pass our audits, we will get our cyber insurance policy together so that the, the interests of the shareholders are protected. Right? We didn’t talk about carbon black, we didn’t like, we, we didn’t talk about technology. Yeah. We just said the company needs to, to do these things. And so if you can get your, you know, the people you’re talking to, to cough those up because you’re asking those right questions, it like, they gotta figure out what are their initiatives. They gotta figure out what do they wanna be when they grow up? They gotta figure out if they’re in, in, in offensive or defensive mode right now due due to the economy. Are they growing their number of locations? Are they just trying to hold onto the ones they have and really lower costs or just kind of weather the storm? Like you have to figure those things out in advance because, or, or, or at least ask those questions and find out what those things are because those will lead down into so many little, little technology conversations. But you, if you start with a technology conversation, there’s a one in 10 chance that you’re gonna be off.
Josh Lupresto (42:14):
Great stuff. All right. Um, I don’t think we have a crystal ball here anywhere that I can see, but if we look into Patrick’s crystal ball Yes. You know, you, you gave a great point that I think it’s hard to look out in the beginning, right? When you were building this thing out to look out really far and given the, the rate of change and how crazy fast everything changes right now, I still, I, I certainly agree it’s, it’s hard to look out, but if you look out, let’s, let’s say just look out a year, look out maybe two years max, what’s your, what’s your perspective on what the future looks like? The, the changes, the technology, any, anything strategy wise that you see anybody shifting that’s gonna be more effective or different or just anything you wanna put out there to be aware of as we wrap this up?
Patrick Oborn (42:57):
Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, my, my simple answer is this. When, when you look out into the technology landscape and you figure all of the different things that your customers are gonna have to take into consideration, right? It’s not just connectivity to the internet. It’s not just how they’re gonna communicate with their customers. It’s not just how they’re gonna, uh, advertise, it’s not how they use social media. It, it’s, it’s everything, right? And, and as Telarus grows more and more of those, those people that are what we call the digital workspace, those digital workspace infrastructure providers, they’re coming to us and saying, Hey, you guys have built this phenomenal distribution system, sell my my widgets, right? And so what, what widgets are we talking about? What more can be be put in there? We have, well AI companies are great. They’re like, Hey, can we get in there and help you, you know, fast track some of those phone calls or, or scan through some of your files to pull out information faster.
Patrick Oborn (43:53):
Um, workflow or work process automation, uh, that is a huge one. Uh, people are coming and saying, Hey, you need a call center in India or, or Philippines. We can connect you with that. So there’s bpo there’s point of sale, right? Like you’re already talking to the company that runs millions of dollars of, of POS transactions. Why aren’t you getting your, your 3% of that or whatever. Like, so you’re gonna see more and more, um, technologies coming in here, which means you have to either a, become expert in more and more technologies, which is brain busting, right? A lot of people feel like they’re maxed out as there is with one or two technology, um, swim lanes or two partner with the, the TSB that has the capability to not only go and vet those suppliers, but organize the information of their performance so that you can then be the technology information broker and take that information back to your customers.
Patrick Oborn (44:44):
So there’s almost no part of their digital workspace or digital workplace that, that you can’t help them with. And so their, their needs are not only growing, but our capabilities are growing and they’re growing fast. And so keeping up with that is hard. I mean, you look at the uht polar supplier management department in and of itself. I mean, they’ve got divisions now. They’ve got people that specialize in certain providers and certain service categories. It’s, it’s, it’s a lot. And then, then, you know, from my perspective on the, on the product side, we’re going through and we’re, we’re creating SKUs, we’re creating individual categories of every product, right? Every product even down to the OEM level of everything that we have access to. And Josh, it’s tens of thousands of SKUs and growing is probably gonna get into the hundreds of thousands of SKUs. And so how does a person keep, keep track of that?
Patrick Oborn (45:33):
You just have to partner with somebody like a Telarus that is dedicated to finding those relationships and, and, and, and, and really systematizing those in a way that you can easily pull information out and be the hero to your customer. There’s no way on the planet your customers are gonna have access to all of the information that they’re gonna need to figure out which POS goes to, which network goes to which SD wan, it goes to which firewall provider, which puts them in compliance with X number of compliance for, for North America, for their industry, for it’s, and it’s all a connected chain and the chain is getting bigger, it’s getting more complicated, but that creates opportunity for our partners to be more valuable. And so I see more providers, I see more providers in more areas and I see more opportunities for us to, to, again, going back to the very first thing I said, to centralize all that information in one spot that customers can’t get access to, but our, our partners can.
Josh Lupresto (46:25):
Beautiful stuff. Okay. Patrick,
Patrick Oborn (46:28):
Did I mention flying cars? I, I forgot flying cars. It’s coming.
Josh Lupresto (46:31):
We’re selling cars. Hey, I know we joke about that, but why not? We’re selling charging stations. We can do that. Let, we can get you doing that.
Patrick Oborn (46:38):
Charging stations and video surveillance.
Patrick Oborn (46:43):
There’s literally nothing we can’t sell if as long as our partners focus on creating their own value in their customer’s mind. If their customers are thinking that they are part of their technology team, that’s your product and, and companies like us will figure out what, what to put in store shelves. We’ll, we’ll go out and work with our upstream providers and make sure that you have everything on that shelf that you need Yeah. To service that customer.
Josh Lupresto (47:05):
Good stuff. Okay. I’m questioned out. Patrick, man, I appreciate you coming on. I appreciate you doing this. Lots of good nuggets in there. Lots of just motivation, inspiration, and then some strategies. So excited to do this. We will have to have you back on for more of these. I feel like we could talk for about three hours on this topic, but thanks again, man. Appreciate you coming on.
Patrick Oborn (47:21):
And thanks for having a, a tremendous podcast. Tremendously successful, interesting. And uh, keep up to fantastic work, Josh. Love Next Level BizTech. You’re doing an awesome job.
Josh Lupresto (47:28):
Appreciate the Kudos, man. All right, everybody. That wraps us up for this week. I’m your host, Josh Lupresto, SVP of sales engineering, and this has been Next Level BizTech.