Solutions vs Products

Buy My Widget It’s On Sale This Month Only

For some people it’s really easy to talk about products, Value Added Resellers (VARs) abound with the latest gadget or license for whatever hardware or software they are pushing this quarter. It’s another thing all together to step back and talk solutions. 
Vendors are a different story, they sell the specific products. I have been approached by several large vendors in the past, been asked to join their sales engineering teams, and have politely declined. I just don’t like being restricted to talk about a single product or the latest in blinky lights. Selling solutions is a different gambit all together; I enjoy talking to customers about their road map and strategizing their way forward. This lets me present multiple products and some off the wall solutions that they have never heard of.
I focus on how my customers can make money off of the IT strategy we put into place vs. how I commoditize the solution I put in front of them. The idea isn’t for me to make vast sums of cash to swim around in like Scrooge McDuck in Duck Tales but rather that we both make money and come out ahead. If I put a bad solution in place the customer doesn’t do business with me anymore and I don’t make revenue off them and lose a referral. On their side they lose money on a bad solution and the subsequent costs to replace it. You compile bad with bad and you don’t get good. That’s why I don’t talk single solution. I want the decision making process to be open with the customer and let them choose the path that makes the best sense for them while I guide them by presenting the solutions that meet the problems they face.
Think of EUC as a great example. I have worked on several solutions be it VMware, Citrix, Unidesk, or even Microsoft. At the end of the day the solutions were chosen by the customer because they fit a unique need. For some, View’s single vendor and replica set up is preferred. For others 3D graphics are the requirement which led them to Citrix. Still others require low video latency which led them to Microsoft, or prefer the single pane broker and app management solution of a Unidesk. Each customer’s requirements helped shape the engagement and their decision was reached from presenting the options and allowing for a technology bake off, achieving the end result. Sure this process adds to the sales cycle and may mean that the products your company sells may not win. But the customer will trust that you have their best interest in mind which is the goal, and that means you win.
Ok, this is my last sales based blog for a while I will get back to virtual solutions next time. Duck Tales references will continue however until moral improves.