Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lessons from the Folks Down Under

I was blessed to spend a week with our HTG21 friends from down under a few weeks ago. As expected - when we boil down the real issues facing partners in ANZ (Australia-New Zealand) it starts to look extremely familiar to those facing partners in the US, UK and Canada. In fact, it is just almost the same list. Here are the challenges I believe face all of us if we want to be ready for the coming changes cloud computing brings to the marketplace.

1. We have to become sales organizations. Gone are the days when technical genius will win - we will have to sell some things before we ever get a chance to show that we even have any technical talent. Nothing happens until the sale is made.

2. We have to learn to manage a sales team. This is not like managing engineers. It is not about utilization, nor is it rocket science. But for many it is very unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory that must be conquered.

3. We have to learn how to market. Sales people only take us so far. Good ones require a solid marketing plan driving opportunities into the pipeline for them to close. That means we need to spend time and money on reaching out to new prospects. It is not magic, nor are vendors going to hand them over to us on a silver platter.

4. We have to learn to build repeatable processes. Margins will shrink and the only game in town will be volume and driving every last dollar from the deals we sell. That happens when we have process, procedure and discipline.

5. We have to build leadership. The days of one person leading an entire company to success are coming to a close. This will require teamwork, practice leaders, C-level partners that can get things done. They don't magically appear - we have to train and build them.

6. We have to build relationships. With vendors, with distibutors, with customers, with other partners - I am convinced the truly successful will have this one nailed. It will be the differentiation that will separate the winners from the rest of the pack.

I didn't need to go to Australia to come up with this list - but by going - it certainly has verified that the challenges are the same no matter where folks are doing business in the IT space. It is just a matter of the size of the issue and where companies are in addressing them.

It is good to be back on the farm again. Now we can tackle the next set of issues and get ready to put the cloud to use!


Ted said...

Another great post from Arlin. As a member of the vendor community, this is a great roadmap for where we need to help our partners evolve and develop.

Habib said...

Yes, this is the way to do business in this Asia Pacific Region. The technology know who is more important here than the the know how. Relationship management is a vital process in securing any deal. Relationship must be built, but solution can be sourced. I've been doing this IT and TELCO business in this region for 14 years and this has keep me going thus far.