People and relationships continue to be the backbone of the IT sales process, a fact that has been reinforced by the challenges and opportunities brought about by the pandemic.
According to Geoff Augutis, co-owner of MSP and IT provider Queensland Computers, vendors in particular that are out for themselves first are going to ostracise IT providers – the very people who end users are increasingly turning to for help keeping up with evolving technology needs.
“We got caught up in the last decade or two where we all convinced ourselves that technology was the way of the future and we're living through the data revolution and we're going to be all talking to live chat robots,” Augutis said.
“I don't know whether it's lockdown to the lack of face-to-face interaction, but I think COVID really highlighted that people buy from people and people trust people, and they want to work with humans.
For Augutis, not all vendors are equal when it comes to supporting their reseller and service provider partners. While some provide strong sales and technical support, others, particularly the more established players, can be adversarial.
“Dell have a Dell network, they have Dell partners, they've got Dell getting solid Ingram Micro, and then on the same deal, we're getting quoted against by Dell directly.
“The brands who are writing large revenue targets without supporting the channel, the ones who are looking at and going, ‘You know what our system works, because we're making money.’ I think that there's a clock on how long that's going to work for, and until it'll happen until it doesn't. and then they'll realise they've lost those relationships because they haven't had boots on the ground singing that song for them.”
Speaking about how customer engagement has shifted in recent years, Augutis says end users are more interested in working with partners to achieve outcomes than they are in chasing specific products.
“For things like cloud services, or office 365, that sort of environment we’re definitely seeing the partners value showcased. People are very much looking for a capable partner, in the past, they might just be looking for the product.
“The complicated technology is getting more complicated. The back end systems, the cloud systems, if you're a large enterprise, the SAN storage arrays, the terms that we throw around like hyperconverged solutions for server infrastructure. And I think it's reached a point where unless people work in that field, they don't want to know the ins and outs of it
“If we can showcase that and build on that then we hold a lot of the power in the relationship to build that trust and really deliver the outcomes, in spite of them not understanding the technology. ”
Check out the full video as well as more great content at the 2021 CRN Pipeline virtual conference.