Archives For technology trends

Yesterday at the BEYOND SECURITY kick-off, Lynn Murphy, SVP Westcon, North America opened with some encouraging words from Westcon’s recent strategy meetings – with strong projections for the future.  Andrew Warren, VP of Westcon Security shared a strong outlook for security growth in 2014 – citing numerous growing issues which all represent opportunities for growth to those attending this week.  Check Point’s Director of Channels and Distribution sales for North America,John Norko, also spoke, giving us an update on where Check Point is headed and what they are doing to help develop a more proactive defense system for this clients (funny to think I was selling Check Point 19 years ago, along with ISS.)  It was a great afternoon – and a reunion with many people I’ve worked with over the past 20 years.

Sharing A Vision for Future Change and Growth

This morning, the final day, started with my keynote session at 8:00 AM.  Lucky, I am an east coast guy, so the early session was more like mid morning for me.

What is the secret to success in this business?  The business of technology sales, reselling hardware and software, consulting on technology projects.?..Simon Sinek shares the need to start with WHY rather than WHAT.  Napolean Hill instructs us to Think and Grow Rich. Jim Collins gives us three things: Be the best, be passionate, and develop an economic engine.  They’re all right – in a sense they are all pointing to a vision.  A true vision that a person is wholly devoted to.

This morning I shared a vision – a vision for what a company could be like if they would really focus on this security space wholeheartedly. The need is great…looking at Target and Neiman Marcus are just small examples of a much larger problem that exists in every company we run into – whether large or small.  When you know what you’re doing, and have an excellent solution, suddenly the market isn’t as crowded as it was a day or so ago, when you were selling Networks, servers, and storage.

Out-Pacing Other Technology Areas

Security is big.  Andrew Warren shared some growth predictions on the order of 43% for 2014.  As I listened to some of these talks I was reminded of the push back I got from resellers five or six years ago when I wrote things like, UC will soon be a commodity with little margin strength left in it (I actually had people in my workshops get mad at me for saying this) – just yesterday, Lynn Murphy called UC a struggling technology area.  I turned down a global sales training opportunity for UC technology in 2008 to avoid getting wrapped up in something I knew would not last.  Instead, I chose to make security a focus area, while keeping up with some of the other emerging technologies.   Security sales have been going strong since 1995 in my experience, and there doesn’t seem to be any slowdown.  Those who have struggled to succeed here are simply missing a few key pieces to make it work, or perhaps a unified vision across the leadership to give it the focus it needs.

Big Investments

The fact that IBM, HP, Dell and Cisco are all making big investments in security should tell us something.


What’s the Secret?

So what is the secret to success in the security space for resellers?  Well, vision and determination have a lot to do with it – like anything, if you really want to make it work, usually you can.  But a vision for what?  I think it’s a vision for helping people build the security they really need around the things they really care about.  It’s not a product pitch at all.  And while we need great security products, and hope that companies like Check Point and Palo Alto,…McAfee, and FireEye, will continue to develop great technology, there has to be someone to understand each company’s unique need.  This starts by making a switch from being the VAR to being more the advisor.  And this takes vision, mentoring, studying, and passion to make a change that people have been talking about since 1995  – when margins started slipping…It’s time to make that move now.

© 2014, David Stelzl

PS. Join us in the SVLC Insider’s Group as we work on this through training, collaboration, updates and coaching…read more here (CLICK).




IMG_1087Back from a week on the road – my last stop was at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, WI.  Saturday night I met with over 30 sales people and their guests to talk about industry trends and sales relevance in the coming five years…If you’re watching the trends you know that Big Data, BYOD &Mobility, Cloud Technologies, and Social Business are all growing in popularity.  My message centered around these topics and what kinds of presentations, data, and ideas are attracting CIOs and CISOs right now.

You can’t just sell disk…you must be able to talk Big Data!  You don’t necessarily need the application to have the discussion.  You do need to understand the applications and need within the organizations you call on.  If you still don’t hear you clients talking about big data – chances are you are stuck at the IT/influencer level.  In my talk I encouraged sales people to do 5 things:

1. Start thinking in terms of reducing risk and enabling greater productivity – not negotiating on price.

2. Seek out the asset owners – find the people who are shareholders or big producers and discover their needs.

3. Market through education – not manipulation.

4. Become an expert in either risk or operational efficiency – simply by learning the sound bites (discussed in an earlier post).

5. Propose results – not products.

These are simple things to do – things that every technology sales person should be doing.  You can read more about them in my book  titled: From Vendor to Adviser…available right here in my store or available through Amazon in soft cover or kindle.

© 2013, David Stelzl

“Have you been reading the investing forecasts for next year? The most optimistic forecasts expect more of the same—slow economic growth, a stock market that’s vulnerable to every little hiccup, continued high unemployment and a sluggish housing market.”…Dave Ramsey

I expect Dave is right, however that doesn’t mean your business can’t grow over the next twelve months. Whether you run a company, or sell for one, or are in charge of marketing, there are some simple things you can be doing to continue  steady deliberate growth.  Some things you should be considering before year end:

1. Have a Plan!  Your plan can’t just be, “We need to grow the bottom line,” or “Let’s grow 50% in the coming year.”  I see these kinds of statements all the time, and they don’t materialize.  A plan involves the primary solution areas you will focus on, marketing plans and schedules, and strategy.  Plan out marketing events and campaigns through the year, not just next month’s effort.  Consider training needs as well.  But also look at where time was wasted in 2011, what efforts failed and why, where gross profit was lost and why, what kinds of projects seem most profitable, and what client profiles are working well.  Managers and owners should be scrutinizing the team. Make sure the right people are on board, and trim non-producers.  Also, consider where each player should be focused in the coming year.  This might be a great time to consider doing a joint strategy session – I am scheduling companies right now!

2. Look at your value proposition. It might be time to invest in strategies that are driving business in this economy.  If you have been working on some area for five years and it’s not working, it might be time to move on.  Also, consider your opportunities with security.  Security offerings gave resellers an incredible boost in 2011, while other technology areas did poorly.  Consider attending my online workshop – Making Money with Security (Click for more info), in January…This program has been a game changer for many over the past seven years.

3. Build you consulting capabilities.  Learning to interview, discover, and assess is absolutely a differentiator.  Companies that just “sell products” are in trouble, unless they have something very unique to offer.  I don’t need to name names here – just look around.  If you are a typical reseller, selling the big names, you are likely seeing it too.  Your value must come from your own ability to consult and make application to the products you sell.  Big name manufacturers are not going to drive your profits in 2012.  I just completed an important book, From Vendor to Adviser, this year.  Read it…but also consider getting some training in this area.  I have been running free webinars on topics presented in this book, and have a workshop which will be announced shortly.  The goal being, to bring sales people up to speed on the skills consultants use to sell and fulfill very large projects.  Check it out here…(Click)

Don’t wait until January to plan – remember, a business without a plan, is a plan to fail.

© 2011, David Stelzl

What IT Wants

October 20, 2010 — Leave a comment

What does IT want?  A vacation…  Here are ten other possible answers:

1. Higher pay

2. A better chair

3. A new laptop – probably a MacBook Pro

4. Add to it a new Ipad for personal use

5. Education – on technology, to improve the resume

6. Recognition

7. A promotion

8. Better stuff to oversee

9. Better stuff to oversee with

10. A new job that just is…better.

So why are we spending some much time negotiating prices, selling ROI, or talking about risk and liability?  IT doesn’t really care.

Every technology company should be building and selling managed service offerings – this is the foundation of financial stability (whether traditional management, SaaS, Cloud, etc. ).  It’s the equivalent of software license renewal.

If you are in sales, and your company is smart, you are being asked to sell these services.  If you are hitting the wall on this, remember, all managed services are sold like security solutions.  They are in fact, security – some form of confidentiality, integrity, or availability.  As an example, server monitoring is done to ensure uptime and response time which are availability, backups are done to ensure recovery/availability and integrity,… and the list goes on.

So stop talking about ROI, operational efficiency, or price, and start focusing on critical assets and looking for asset owners who are liable for functions that depend on the confidentiality of that data asset.  Then determine what risks exist, what level of risk is acceptable, and what managed services could be used to maintain an acceptable level of risk.  This is the key to selling managed services, and brings with it the foundation of financial stability.