Thursday, December 29, 2011

Iowa Caucuses for Your Sales

What are the Iowa Caucuses anyway? Well if you don’t know, you can check it out here. In short, it is a popularity contest. A small group of people in an insulated area are give an extreme level of decision making power for the rest of the country.

So when you are selling to an account, who needs to vote for you first before you even get started? The CEO, the IT department, end user, management? Whoever it is, it is a personality contest.

It is what you say and how you look, do you pass the smell test, these are the things that get you in the door. By you, I mean your solution too, but generally you can get a meeting without ever showing your product, if they like you.

So go to those picnics, kiss those babies, and don’t be afraid to step in a cow pie or two and you may get “voted” to the next level.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DOD Approves Android Devices

Security and technology just don’t play well together. Is that what you think, or have heard? Well they can, with limitations it seems. If you have never had to deal with Department of Defense (DOD) or Department of Energy (DOE) security, count your blessings.

Neither of these agencies slack when it comes to security. Before I moved over to software companies, I held security clearances for many government agencies in order to access and repair hardware and software inside facilities secured with men carrying automatic weapons.

I used to call it the place where time stood still. That has two meanings. First, anything you could do at an enterprise client’s site in an hour would take 6-8 hours. Hours to check software in, hours to get it approved, hours to get approval to install it, hours to get an admin to login so it could be installed. Second, employees were never allowed to have a radio inside, let’s not even talk about a cell phone.

So the times they are a changin’. I read post about the DOD allowing Android devices on their network, sort of. You can read it HERE. The short story is, 1 OS (Android 2.2), 1 device (Dell Venue). No access to classified data, no access to the Android Marketplace.

The first thought was are you kidding me? My experience has taught me that this speed of getting this type of device in the building is a huge step forward in the blending of technology and security.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Blog

I want to wish all my readers a Merry Christmas. For me, Christmas is a time of memories. Who doesn’t remember stories and memories from years past? I saw a picture of my brother and me from a Christmas many years ago, so long ago I don’t even remember. Even that picture triggered memory after memory.

Memories are an important part of life. We discount memories in business and think only in terms of process and performance. I am here to tell you, that memories will serve you better that data alone.

Data is cold, and Scrooge Liked it. Well, if not Scrooge, that is why business likes it. It is not emotional, it evokes no feelings. But if you are in sales, you know emotions drive you, teach you, keep you moving forward.

When you feel the ghost of lost deals past calling, do not shut them out. Take those feelings and emotions. Remember all the events, just like a Christmas past. Use those memories to make better decisions.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good deal!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Perfect Drink

What is your perfect drink? If you said water, stop reading now. Imagine your favorite drink. Now tell me why.

That is hard isn’t it? We can start to list some things like sweet or tart, cold, refreshing, strong, but it all blends into some odd muttering that ends with the statement “you know?”

So the answer is it is everything that makes it our favorite. Even some things that aren’t in the drink make it special. The memory of a moonlit beach with that drink has a lot of power.

How do we expect to make or keep ourselves as our customer’s favorite drink? If they can’t tell us why it (we) are their favorite, how do we make sure we are doing what it takes?

Provide the right ingredients, mix it well, and provide the right kind of experience, and how could it go wrong? Every interaction you have with them builds the experience, whether it is a moonlit night or a typhoon.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Democratic Support

Do you treat your customers like Kim Jong Il treated North Korea? Well maybe that is harsh, but do you give them just enough to keep them happy and keep them in the dark?

I was watching the news stories showing film footage of distraught women sobbing over Kim Jong Il’s death. All I could think was if you only knew what we know you wouldn’t be shedding a tear.

If you went away from your customers lives, would they shed a tear or jump for joy when they discovered what they had been missing?

We cannot run our customers networks like a closed society. You cannot be a choke point of information. We should have the Voice of America attitude. More information. More choices. More work. Happier customers.

Democratic support works for everyone, when it is done right.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It Only Makes Sense In The Moment

I heard Joe Strummer say this in the documentary about his life. He said when you get an idea, write it down. Even if you have to knock people out of the way, just drop to the floor and write it.

What ideas did you have today that made a lot of sense when you thought them? Can you even remember them now? Of course not. Why? You didn’t write them down or keep track of them in any way.

I make a point to keep track of my ideas. I do this by either emailing myself, or using the voice memo feature on my phone. Some of these ideas even make sense the next day. So while the thought process only makes sense in the moment, the idea itself can live on.

It May be a million Dollar idea, or just an idea in a million. Either way it is something that made sense in and for at least a moment, maybe it is work thinking about again tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Over Promise and Under Deliver

Well no one wants to do that, but it happens nearly everyday. In fact, today we are hearing about the Amazon Fire having that issue. It was marketed as a $199 iPad killer, but performance has been less than expected.

So it seems you can be cheap ($100 HP Touchpad) and some people will overlook the flaws, when sold as a flawed option, or you have to be able to kill the King. Lukewarm won’t get it done.

How do you do this with your products or services? Go big? Go cheap? Go home? Not a lot of other options. Do you market cheap or great? Great cheap rarely works.

It is important to keep to a consistent message from marketing to delivery. Improper marketing can set expectations that you may not be able to deliver on or it may limit the people who are interested in you based on low expectations.

People will buy cheap or great, just be sure what you are selling...

Friday, December 9, 2011

BYOD = Bring Your Own Device

Of course it could be BTOD or Bringing Their Own Devices. Whether you want them to or not, they are bringing them. They bring them, you have to manage them, it isn’t fair, but it is true.

So if you are a service provider, how do you manage this unmanageable situation? I recall some adviceI heard once. “Always give permission for people to do what they are going to do anyway, that is how you stay in control”.

Say Yes, not no. IT should not be a barrier to getting business done. No is an absolute, yes can have conditions. Yes, but...

So put in place the tools you need to easily control these devices and their unmanageable users. You owe it to your clients, their employees, and yourself.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When Too Much is Too Bad

Ever wanted less interest in your services? Wish I had that problem too, but it is possible. Have you seen Flipboard today? They released the iPhone version of their product today and it overwhelmed their network.

The Good? People what to use their stuff, or at least try it. People wanting to look at your services and products are not bad...unless.

The Bad. People may be so interested in the idea of using this type of product that they can’t access, they may look for an alternative that will work today.

Way to build you competition's pipeline. Building market awareness is awesome if you are the one filling the orders you generate. Not so good if you are marketing for your entire industry. Can you hear me Cloud providers?

Building awareness is great, closing business is better.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Problem Solving verses Business Solving

I love engineers. Logical, straight forward problem solvers. That is really what I have been for many many years. Problem solvers look for solutions, get excited about a challenge, want to fix stuff, even if you shouldn’t.

Shouldn't might be harsh, maybe isn’t economically feasible is better. An Engineer’s time is valuable. Far to valuable to be spent on a problem solving excursion for a low probability prospect. Instead they should be Business solving. What is business solving you ask?

Business solving is monetizing your problem solving skills. In some circles it is call consulting. If you find yourself giving away your time and ideas and you are not charging for either, stop. You should be able to tell someone how you can help them fix their issue without giving it all away.

Give your engineers big juicy problems they can solve, but after the check has cleared.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

After a Week

Well All, after a week at a brand new position with Bradford what do I have to say? In a word, WOW. Have you ever stepped into a moving clock? If not, watch The Great Mouse Detective. It is a lot like that without Ratigan. I had forgotten what is like to learn a new solution while juggling.

Part 2 of the WOW is what a fantastic team of experts we have in the NAC space. From the Sales amd Marketing team helping our partners drive revenue, to the Support team providing expertise, to the Development team who has put together a product that gives amazing viability and control over the network devices and users, and last but not least, a Management team that will drive growth.

Part 3 WOW? How much the SMB space has been missing. Missing control without having to jump through hoops. Missing reporting for compliance. Missing a solution for ease of  BYOD and guest registration. I used the word missed, but really it was overlooked. Not the SMB space overlooking NAC, but NAC overlooking SMB.

Well no longer. If you are an SMB provider with customers who need compliance, and that means you, there is a cloud based, affordable, 100% channel solution available for you to deploy.

The only thing that stays the same in our industry is nothing stays the same. Providing the best solutions for your clients requires that you stay informed.