Finding Value in Commodity Technology

The Hyatt Pool

Just leaving Orange County, CA – I had the honor of presenting to Ingram Micro’s Unified Communications and Mobility resellers this morning at their annual Technology Solutions Conference.  My topic:  How do you demonstrate strong value with commoditizing technology?  Starting out with the question, “What do you do and what does your company do?”  demonstrates that most companies use the same lines – “Technology solution provider”, or “We design, install, and maintain…”, or some more esoteric like, “We help you improve your business.”  All but one attendee claimed to have good people, certifications, and other standard, non-differentiating features, so where do you go from here?  I gave 7 essential things companies should be doing or saying if they want to stand our and command strong margins…

(Note: I almost bought the pizza at John Wayne Airport – in which case we would have had a great pizza picture here, but the John-Wayne-Airport Pizza is not very good…Today I learned that the deli sandwich also falls into that category).

Here are a couple of points made:

1. Using my signature Lawn Care story, I illustrated the difference between selling grass seed & week control, vs. green lawns.  Companies must deliver value and we noted several ways UC and mobility can be positioned to do just that.  One important point is to use operational efficiency for applications such as UC and Mobility; then apply risk mitigation as a differentiator.

2. I talked about fee setting and how to double, or if your not careful, cut in half your realized margin on any given deal.  Everyone should be heading down the value-pricing road at this point.

3.  Using the same discovery process almost all resellers use in the UC roll-out process, I showed how to move up the ladder and establish justification for budget.   We also talked about the number one reason companies cancel or place on hold, seemingly approved projects.   The simple answer, “Likelihood of results or risk” has not been adequately established.

© 2011, David Stelzl


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