A CIO’s Greatest Asset: Their Strategic Partners

Do you dread sales calls and avoid them at all costs? I’m a salesperson, and I don’t blame you because I dread them too! I see companies that are littered with tone-deaf salespeople who ooze desperation and have ineffective listening skills – so choosing the right technology company to partner with, and building a long-term relationship with your salesperson, can make all the difference.

Good salespeople work overtime to earn your trust to become an asset. In fact, a good salesperson is one of the most strategic tools in your toolbox for you as an IT Manager, CIO, and even a CFO.

To be sure you get exactly what you need, here are ten tips to help you maximize your relationship with your technology salespeople:

  1. Education & Training. Effective salespeople have access to training literature, classes, and events that can enable you and your teams to be at the top of your industry-knowledge game.
  2. Selling Up. Successful technology leaders have vital resources outside of their organization to leverage for assistance. The best salespeople can offer you strategic technology plans, business cases, trends, and analysis on your existing assets, and will even assist you in presenting to your board.
  3. Relationships. Peer introductions and networking are valuable tools to help you long-term. Ask for introductions to other players in your industry or region. Garnering those introductions that make it easier to collaborate and even progressup the ladder.
  4. Problem-solving. On average, a good salesperson is meeting with 25 different companies per month and twice as many people. They are learning about the technical challenges clients are facing and digging in to understand the business objectives.  That broad knowledge will aid you in navigating your specific challenges. One of the many perks – your salesperson can probably connect you to another CIO that just solved the same issue.
  5. Competitive intel and analysis. Are you evaluating new backup technologies? The best salespeople will provide you with unbiased evaluations. Technology companies who are vendor-neutral are a massive asset; they will assist you in deciphering the marketing literature to uncover technologies that genuinely fit your specific and unique
  6. Price negotiation. The best salespeople take time to understand your budget and work with the manufacturers to ensure you are paying a fair price for the technology you need to move your business forward.
  7. Challenger. We are all better when we challenge our standard way of thinking and evaluating the best options. Healthy relationships with your trusted partners can push you to think outside the box. Good salespeople won’t be afraid of taking you outside of that box.
  8. Technical Expertise. The most effective and successful salespeople have access to peers within their companies who are highly skilled and trained. Does your team need training? The ability to learn from someone who has already cut their teeth on the technology is a time and money saver.
  9. Technology Lifecycle. Let your salesperson help you keep track and understand the full technology lifecycle. When is your hardware at the end of its life? What about the end of support? The best technology partners are always examining your stack for future needs, and providing you with peace of mind that minimizes the surprises and unbudgeted expenses.
  10. Fun! My goodness,we all spend a lot of time at work! Let your salesperson spoil you a little and have some fun amidst the heavy lifting.

So, yes, I understand the hesitation to pick up those calls; I hope that the tips I’ve provided above give you some ideas about picking a technology company to partner with, and investing time in your relationship with your salesperson. A good salesperson loves what they do; I know I sure do!

 

By: Sarah Tucker