Archives For mobility

EggPizza

We completed our first day of security sales training, but more importantly, here’s an update on Bangalore pizza!  On this trip I was happy to see that Marriott (my preferred hotel chain) finally has a hotel in Whitefield, just outside of Bangalore India. The last time I was here I wrote about the surprisingly great pizza at the Oberoi Hotel.  I was disappointed to find that the Marriott does not have a pizza on their menu – however, when I showed up for breakfast yesterday, there was a pizza on the breakfast buffet!   Notice the egg in the middle of this pizza…if you are looking for my expert opinion on this pizza, you’re out of luck – This is just a little too weird for me…so I opted for a picture instead.  The crust looks pretty good for international pizza, but that’s as far as I can go.  The good news is, the rest of the breakfast buffet was outstanding.

Our training session was a great experience for me.  I love learning from sales teams around the world, hearing about their experiences and how different cultures approach the sales process.  Last time I was here it seemed that the Indian run companies were not that interested in security – they felt like they had it covered and the threat was not that great.  Things have changed.  The tech business is going strong, and the level of security awareness is high.   Our class focused on the systems engineer’s role in presales support…my goal here is to give them the tools they need to identify security opportunities emerging from their existing projects – mostly data center, VDI, and core infrastructure as well as mobility projects (BYOD).

The SE role is an important one – and with a little sales training, and some coaching on public speaking, this role can become a tremendous asset to the sales organization.  And since most companies neglect giving their engineers this kind of training – those who do create a amazing competitive advantage.

The SE should be the bridge between highly complex technology and the business leader who doesn’t have time to wade through mounds of technical jargon.  They need to make decisions.  In a two day board meeting there might be 30 minutes on the agenda to review the company’s security posture.  Most CIOs are not going to be able to accurately pull together the company’s position, provide accurate insights into the top threats, show how likely the company is to experience loss, and show whether the company’s security posture is trending up or down.  IT most likely can’t provide this information either, in a format board members can consume.  So who will be that bridge?  It should be the presales systems engineer…

Over the next 12 months technology providers would be wise to add this skill set to their existing engineering group.  It may make all the difference in the world.

© 2013, David Stelzl

Important Transformational Technology Trends

As I read the CIO Journal (special section of the Wall Street Journal), I continue to come across four transformational technologies areas:

  • Cloud
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Mobility/BYOD/Consumerization
  • Social Media and Collaboration

While you might not be specifically selling a turnkey solution in one of these areas, it is helpful to know where your offerings fit within these.  For instance, you might not have an application for ad hoc reporting on data analytics or BI (Business Intelligence), but what about the back end data center required to handle the big data part of this? Without a great storage management solution in place, companies are going to have trouble as their big data world gets…BIG.

Security is another area that surrounds all of these.  Can you help people move toward cloud technology solutions that you don’t necessarily host, and still be involved?  There are numerous security issues wrapped up in making such a move, and many considerations as to what kind of cloud solution they choose.  On the mobility side, security is becoming a huge issue – so make sure you build this into your messaging even if you don’t really deal in smart phones and tablets.  Most of the end-node security solutions are headed that way, so be the security arm of this movement.  How they collaborate, use social media, and even looking back at the security of email, should be on your list of things to talk about.

The point is, to be able to use the key words executives are using.  Talk big data vs. storage, and don’t constantly put down cloud solutions, or you may find yourself distanced from the decision makers.  Speak their language and plug your offerings into their world.

© 2012, David Stelzl

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

Photo By: Hannah Stelzl

I’ve met too many sales people over the past decade who are stuck dreaming about the 90’s.  They had large accounts, perhaps covered one large global client.  They made big money, have impressive contacts, traveled the world, and won awards.  Innovation was high, new technologies drove early adopter buyers to research and seek out differentiating technologies.   And they were on the ride side, selling it all.  They had it made!

Sales were high because companies were seeking out new technologies that would put them ahead.  Perhaps the first restaurant to use pagers was a hit, the first realtor to use a cell phone beat his competition to the sale, and the first company to deploy email changed the way people communicate, gaining an advantage somehow.  Sales were strong and margins were good.  But it seems as though today’s technology developments are improvements on yesterday’s innovations.  They’re faster, cheaper, and in some cases more reliable.  Digital cell phones are much clearer than the old analogue, desktops are a fraction of the cost we paid twenty years ago, and the size of mobile computing devices has made it possible to carry the power of yesterday’s mainframe technology on our hip.  And with this era of improvement comes commoditization and thin margins.

Commoditization of technology is speeding up and the number of ways to purchase just keeps growing as prices fall.  The old days are not coming back, and sitting around wishing, won’t improve your numbers.  Expect sales to get harder going forward, margin to grow thinner, and buyers to be smarter.  As a sales person, you can’t be coaches anymore, responsible only for bringing in the team.  You have to become consultants, bringing knowledge and ideas, and prepared to solve problems; in short, you have to demonstrate that you are the best choice to advise business leaders on the direction to take with technology.  The more a sales person dreams about past success the less likely he is to perform in the coming year.  Margin can no longer come from product alone, but rather the intellectual capital you bring; ideas that are better than any other, work ethic that out performs your competitor, and creativity.  All of this starts with your message; the thing that positions you above the noise and creates an opportunity to demonstrate lasting value.

© 2010, David Stelzl