Love ‘em or hate ‘em, IT sales reps are a necessary part of the supply chain. We’ve all heard the stories about the bad ones, but we don’t talk enough about the good ones and what they do.
They go by a lot of names: VARs, Account Executives, Storage Experts, Account Managers, Data Storage Gurus, IT Gods, (OK, I made that one up), etc. But the water can get murky when you start trying to sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly. They play an important role to both vendor and customer, and today I’m going to talk about what good reps do.
Here are a few common traits you should look for in a great storage provider.
The gamut is wide when considering all the reps out there. You’ve got folks from recent college grads to those with 30 or 40 years of experience. The first test of a great rep is experience. When you talk about an industry that is constantly changing under a vast umbrella of services and products, it’s virtually impossible to find a knowledgeable rep with only a year or two of experience. A great rep will understand current trends in the industry as well as being able to predict coming changes. If you have to choose between experienced and inexperienced, always go with experienced.
Large IT organizations often move as fast as a blob… that is to say, not fast at all. The IT landscape moves fast and the red tape you find within large organization is bound to leave your hands tied with said tape. Small organizations typically have far fewer gatekeepers and policies to slow you down. When you’re looking for a great storage provider, it’s important to find an individual, and a company, that is agile, flexible and, usually, smaller in size. Like the old horse cavalry, you want someone who is agile, mobile and hostile – toward your problems.
3. Knowledge of the Industry
A great sales rep will be able to inform you about the industry. Very few IT pros are familiar with the overall trends in the industry or overall marketplace. There’s enough going on internally. Understandable. However, a great IT rep is able to sort through and provide you with a bigger picture and help you understand where the industry and technology is moving as a whole. They know what is going on in your company and can also inform you about what’s going in other companies.
4. Problem Solver
It sounds basic, but at the end of the day a great sales rep will help you solve your problems and answer your questions. Most “sales” conversations don’t start with someone wanting to buy something. The customer has a problem and needs a solution – hopefully one that meets his or her needs and expectations. A good sales rep solves problems by asking probing questions, researching different options and providing you the best solutions available. A great sales rep will also conclude sometimes that their company simply isn’t able to do what you need and will advise you accordingly. If a rep can think quickly, provide good solutions fast and give you multiple options, chances are you’ve found a good one.
Being a great sales rep is hard work. That’s why many people simply don’t make the cut. Chasing people down, unreturned phone calls, months of working on a solution only to experience radio silence when it comes to signing the purchase order – these take their toll. A great sales rep will be available to help you despite the challenges and be customer-centric whether or not he or she closes the deal.
While I’m thinking about it, go check out this great article on EMCs blog, In Praise of IT Sales Reps.
Have you had a great experience with a particular VAR or sales rep within IT? We’d like to hear about it. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our customer experience and provide solutions for our customers. Comment below or contact us!