Death of a Salesman: Enough with the marketing already

A launch is not enough on its own

Atlantis on the launch pad. Pic: NASA

Storagebod Reflecting recently on the changes that I have seen in the enterprise IT market, more specifically the enterprise storage market, I have come to the conclusion that over the past five years or so, the changes have not been technological but rather having to do with everything around the technology and its packaging.

There appears to be significantly less selling going on and a lot more marketing. This is not necessarily a good thing; there is more reliance than ever on PowerPoint and fancy marketing routines. There also appears to be more focus on the big launch and less on understanding what the customer needs.

There are more webinars and broadcasting of information and a lot less listening than ever from the vendors.

Yet this is hardly surprising. As the margins on Enterprise hardware slowly erode away and the commoditisation continues, it is a lot harder to justify the existence of the shiny suit.

And many sales teams are struggling with this shift. The sales managers setting targets have not yet adjusted to the new rhythms and how quickly the market can shift.

But there is a requirement for sales who understand their customers and understand the market. Salespeople need to understand that no one solution fits all; that there is a difference between the traditional IT and the new web-scale stuff.

However, if the large vendors continue to be very target focused and panic over the next quarter’s figures – ultimately leading to setting themselves and their staff some unrealistic targets – they are going fail. Vendors need to realise that the customer now has a lot of choice on how and from whom they buy technology.

Customers themselves are struggling with some the new paradigms and the demands that their businesses are making of them. And the answers will not be found in another webinar or another mega-launch – but perhaps in the conversation.

We used to say that ears and mouth need to be used in proportion; this has never been more true but yet has never been more ignored. ®


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