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IT Roadmap a Must for the Future of Hybrid IT Distribution

Michael Sterl of Intelisys shares the important elements of drawing up an IT road map, and the must-haves for success.

In some ways, channel partners are hesitating at the threshold in terms of creating an IT road map for their customers. Want proof? Only 20% of all digital transformation plans are completed. This leaves ample greenspace to pursue.

Accelerating growth will require some unconventional thinking on the part of channel leaders. They must bring together hardware, SaaS and services. That is the future of hybrid IT distribution. With the market headed in that direction, the adviser that masters all three will be at the table with their customers.

During his session on this topic on April 12 at the Channel Partners Conference & ExpoMichael Sterl of Intelisys will share his concoction for the future of hybrid IT distribution.

Michael Sterl is one of more than 100 top speakers at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo/MSP Summit. Register now to join 6,500 fellow attendees, April 11-14. You can also interact with more than 300 key suppliers and technology service distributors.

In this session, attendees will gain insight for establishing a sales methodology that includes upselling, cross-selling and solution selling. How to achieve this? By constantly evaluating the MRI of the customer and presenting opportunities based on an authentic prognosis. It all adds up to purpose-built strategies for a modern sales team. It’s one that is empowered to navigate paths to transactions with total confidence.

Channel Futures: What is the importance of channel partners taking the time to create an IT road map for their customers?

Intelisys’ Michael Sterl

Michael Sterl: The No. 1 reason for an IT road map is alignment. Do you fundamentally understand where your customers are today and where they are going? Being simply widget-based is something the IT road map cannot be. To be sure, it is the support mechanism businesses are looking at to enable their internal customers. This encapsulate sales, marketing operations, finance, etc.

The IT road map now supports visibility, which generally begins with a business challenge that technology can fix or enhance. But with a good road map, you start to identify (360° assessment) and acquire the technology to start the journey. As a result, based on the company’s behavior and usage, the IT road map is fluid and aligns to the customer value metric over time.

Does the customer see value in what they are procuring? Does it create efficiencies to grow the business? And, more importantly for the channel partner, are they protecting their customer by minimizing the opportunity for the third party to sell the customer something they never identified in the IT ecosystem and the future of the IT road map?

Don’t tell me you have a good relationship with your customer unless you are at the table brainstorming all things strategy — things such as business, operations, marketing, finance, sales, applications, platforms. There are consequences to not being at the table. Your visibility of any IT road map will be limited, and you won’t be set up for success to keep that customer long term. Therefore, it is vital you keep your seat.

CF: You say that accelerating growth will require unconventional thinking on the part of channel leaders. What does this entail?

MS: Simply put, lean into data and analytics to identify broader opportunities. Gone are the days of selling a widget and moving on. Our customers are researching more than ever before they engage. Moreover, we have enough legacy data points. Customers sold to build the model that supports prospecting, acquisition, education, and future growth.

Activity doesn’t mean productivity. For instance, I genuinely believe we can take the Amazon approach around “if you buy this, then also buy this.” Or like profiles, buy these things. Data will be the shift in our market that either …

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