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Sell What Your Customer Needs, Not What’s Easy

I’d like to take a few minutes in this article and rather than discuss the importance of our technology for customer environments, which is highly important, but rather the importance our technology gives resellers.

Our world is fast paced, ever changing, and presents new challenges and demands daily.  Not not all technologies have kept up which puts resellers in an uncomfortable spot. So you as the seller have a few challenges including understanding the market drivers, who is providing solutions to address customer demand and need, and the net impact to your business and customers of delivering those solutions.

Let’s first take a look at the market drivers for SD-WAN. SD-WAN was designed to give customers the freedom of choice and move away from the clutches of the carriers and legacy transports.  They have grown tired of paying double the price of Internet for MPLS capacity.  They spend an inordinate amount of time waiting for provisioning and troubleshooting circuit issues.  They want self-service, reduced cost, and more capacity to run the applications that will drive their business and tomorrow’s innovation.

So now that we understand the market drivers for SD-WAN, we need to understand the vendors providing solutions. I promised only a few minutes for this article so I cannot possibly list the 45+ companies claiming to have SD-WAN products, so instead I’ll simplify by categorizing.  First, incumbent network, security, and WAN acceleration companies who are big, have established reputations, and more than likely have acquired their innovation rather than designing it in house.  Do you sell solutions from these incumbents to your customers to reduce friction or perceived risk, or, do you make a bold statement and sell something that is truly differentiated, enables your customer’s business, but is radically different?

In my 25 years of industry experience the more risk adverse you are, the more you limit your ability to help your customer innovate, which means you are at risk of losing your customers. What I have seen is customers growing tired of incumbents acquiring technologies with the promise of integration and innovation only to be kept waiting for it to actually happen and being left with something that was a shell of the original promise.  Smart businesses will not wait long for these promises.

Listen to what your customers are saying.  If a manufacturer walks in claiming to have the biggest and best logos on the planet, but can’t get one of the customers to talk to you about their experience, I’d argue that they have a minor footprint or the customer isn’t really excited about the product or the decision to buy it.  Listen to your architects. Architects don’t care about buzzwords and marketing, they care about the technology doing what it says it does and making the business better, more efficient, and more streamlined. They can sniff out when someone has just added feature sets to an already existing product set and not built something unique or differentiated. Lastly, listen to what they say they need to be successful. Once you understand their business, you will understand the technology needed to enable their business. When was the last time you had a conversation with your customer about their 5-year plan, growth initiatives, and what they perceive to be market threats? Listening and designing complete solutions around this will allow you to enable your customers and keep the competition out.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, which is from Elon Musk, “Technology breakthroughs require clean sheet designs.” We are CloudGenix are doing for the network industry what Elon has done for the car industry. We are changing the rules and giving customers product that is more innovative, agile, and secure, with the best possible user experience and alignment between business and IT policy.

If you want to learn more about how CloudGenix can help you retain your customers, increase their efficiency, and increase their loyalty to you, please connect with me on LinkedIn!