Page 3 of 3
Shepard said his company has been transitioning its sales reps to be less hardware-oriented and more focused on understanding data centers, operations, applications and users.
"They have to become more user- and app-focused," he said. "We're now starting to meet with customers' applications people more and more. Our guys need to talk about the impact of IT on their applications. We're training our guys to ask if they can get a user into the meetings to talk about the apps and turning calls into more of a business-centric meeting."
Shepard said ICI has three big letters up in the office spelling out "WHY." The main target of the letters is more mature sales reps who are having trouble transitioning from their old ways of working with customers' IT requirements.
"If a customer says they want to do something, the reps need to ask, 'Why?' " he said. "A ton of the old sales reps don't want to ask. They're afraid of the answer. But they need to ask in order to help guide the customer."
The need to rethink sales for the future hit Teter recently after a meeting with a customer that provides Infrastructure-as-a-Service and that just hired an ex-CIO as its new sales rep.
"It probably does help to have an ex-CIO to sell the cloud," he said. "With the cloud, sales reps need to be more of a CIO consultant-type of person rather than someone who calls up and says, 'I'm here, let me buy you lunch.' "
Yet while all the coming massive changes in how IT is deployed and managed will mean a big shift in the skills IT professionals will need to keep up, there is still time to get ready.
David Scott, senior vice president and general manager of storage at Hewlett-Packard, said these transitions take a significant amount of time.
"Today, the biggest part of IT spending is still on traditional infrastructures," Scott said. "So the good news for resellers is they have time to adapt to the changes and disruptions that are going to happen. They can invest in changing their business model, and in building their own services, which is capital-intensive. Or they can become brokers to these new services."