…or is it?
Sometimes, I think we spend too much time worried about how much X solution is going to cost without looking at the big picture. I’ll be quite honest with you: a $25,000.00 array IS expensive to SMB, regardless if a Commercial or Enterprise account rep thinks otherwise. “What’s the value that the $25,000 array is going to bring you? Is it truly worth that cost? etc. etc.” have to be the questions swirling through the minds of any competent IT Director/Admin, etc. After all, the last thing you need in your Data Center is deadweight.
One of the concepts that I try to get across to ANY customer is the concept of a relationship. At the end of the day, I’m going to run through 5-10 accounts on the phone per any given business day. Some might want to pull the trigger then and there, some, perhaps, 3 months down the road, and some, never. It happens. My interaction with them needs to be on a relational basis, not as a “tech consultant pushing product down my throat.” For example, I had a client call recently that wanted to talk about a certain replication solution. In digging into his environment, we determined that there were several initiatives going on that would change the landscape up at his office, thus negating any solution sold right now. Rather than focus on what we couldn’t do for him, we started discussing his futures, his desires for his company and where he felt they were going. Leaving the conversation, we told him that we’d help design his future infrastructure and that all he needed to do if he had questions was contact me directly. Moral of this story? We didn’t go for a “quick kill” or even a half-way product sale. We wanted to support his future move to protect and streamline data even though it was at least a 6-9 month project.
Now, of course we’re going to evaluate EMC’s fitment in their environment (and, after talking to him, we’ll be able to streamline EVERYTHING), but he was HEARD and, funny enough, he appreciated the fact that a Fortune 500 company spent the time to listen. How often do you hear that? That’s not arrogance talking, that’s amazement.
Looking at the competitive landscape for a moment, I see a lot of “pump and dump” sales strategies that seek to rapidly escalate the sales cycle by promising the moon and delivering, well, the same solution that Company Y, in a dissimilar market with dissimilar applications, is using. How does that fit with a Information Lifecycle Management worldview? If I only plan for today, I’m completely neglecting the needs of tomorrow.
In any case, I’ll write more later about designing for specific solutions…Until then, may your day be blessed!