Sales vs. Tech…Who’s Right?

The “Sales Said – Tech Said” panel, hosted by Rich Rysowitz of Synnex Corporation in the ITSS Community meeting, shed some much needed light on the sales / service clash that can occur with solution providers.

 

If it were Judge Judy’s court, the Sales department would be accused of agreeing to any and all customer demands, with no regard to technology implementation. The Technology department, on the other hand, would be accused of not understanding the customers’ needs, and not educating Sales on technological advancements. In reality, however, the “Sales Said – Tech Said” panel, hosted by Rich Rysowitz of Synnex Corporation in the ITSS Community meeting, shed some much needed light on the sales / service clash that can occur with solution providers.

 

Panelists Frank DeGiglio (SmartSource Technical Staffing), Cathy Hill (Hobi) and Reid Schwartz (ASI) represented the Sales side of the equation, while Scott Davis (Marathon Deployment), Dave Klopack (TrueNetwork Solutions) and Rick Lang (Unisys) were the voice of the Technology function. Amidst the good-natured jokes about each group’s perceived “bad” behaviors, the panel also spoke to the importance of coming to an understanding of how to work together.

 

From the initial panel questions, it was clear there were challenges from both sides. For starters, the technology team felt that often the solutions that are sold to a customer don’t always align with a solution provider’s strengths. Rick Lang noted, “The scope may not be doable, due to the abilities of the organization.” Scott Davis echoed this sentiment, adding that figuring out whether or not a solution could work was often left up to the technology people – after the sale was made.

 

From Sales’ perspective, there was acknowledgement that communication is an important issue for both sides to consider. If Technology does not understand what the sales team is selling, and if Sales does not understand what Technology can implement, it can cause critical conflict. “Honestly I think we all screw up,” said Frank DiGiglio. “It’s [often] a finger pointing game.”

 

Part of the challenge, according to Dave Klopak, is that the industry has evolved so that customers really need a tailored solution, despite the fact that vendors often want a certain product set pushed. “It’s putting a square peg into round hole,” noted Klopak. The solution? “People have to figure out a solution based on a price point, that’s not vendor based.”

 

So what can be done? All panelists agreed that communication between the groups and training play critical roles. “We communicate in different languages,” noted DiGiglio, who added that it was important to not make assumptions about what each department understands, during the sales and implementation process.

 

In fact, when the two groups collaborate, it can provide added benefits for the organization. “Communication between the two parties is key to solving the problem,” said Klopak. “Your field techs are your best salespeople, when they are able to implement the solution.”

 

A challenge with training is staying current on all the new technology solutions, according to the panel. Reid Schwartz highlighted how his organization created a tiered ranking for vendors to help the company focus its training: Tier 1 vendors were the ones most frequently used, and so all customer-facing employees were trained on those products.

 

In other community business, the leaders reminded the audience of the group’s efforts to increase the talent pool, including the Test Drive an IT Career video series, which can be accessed through the ITSS Community page. The videos were created by the Creating IT Futures Foundation. There are now 17 career videos available for sharing, to interest both youth and adults in IT careers.