As we move into the future, we believe the complexity of voice and data network services will actually increase as companies wrestle with their cloud strategies and the demands for increased connectivity and reliability. To engage on the opportunities of the future in the midmarket space will require a significant investment on the part of the channel partner. The return to the partner during the initial contract term will be minimal, if anything. The only way to succeed and be profitable is to earn an ongoing relationship that extends well beyond the initial term. The transactional model simply doesn’t position you for that renewal relationship.
When did your company begin its transformation away from transactional sales?
We began moving away from the transactional model 15 years ago.
How complete is your company’s transformation?
We expect to continue to transform our company based on market demands. We feel we have a massive advantage in the market by having incrementally transformed over the years. It would be hard for a new partner to come into our market and make the same investment in value-added resources. Our existing base of clients, which has grown many fold over our 20 years, provides us huge leverage and resources to keep investing in those services that will provide our clients a better experience.
Transformation Leader: Tim Burke, President and CEO
Number of employees: 100
Year established: 1982
Original transactional business model: VAR/IT systems integrator/Interconnect
Post-Transformation business model: Transactional business continues to be a part of what we do, but we work with our clients as partners helping them deliver technology.
How has your company moved beyond transactional sales models?
We saw the writing on the wall a long time ago. It’s partly a mindset to veer away from transactional short-term to long-term relationship selling. First, you have to look for clients who have real needs and genuinely wish to work with you. That involves fact gathering on the part of the sales group. For us it meant training and retraining — and it’s ongoing! In a relationship or consultative approach, both the seller and buyer partner to solve the customer’s challenges and in doing so you build trust. That trust gives way to new opportunities and ultimately satisfied, long-term customers. Both transactional and relationship selling facilitate the sale, but with everything else being equal you can’t beat the combination of building trust with legitimate expertise. There’s a lot of information available for anyone willing to learn more and I’d encourage you to do just that. That’s what we did. I share a lot of useful information like this on my blog. It’s mostly geared toward the client, but the more you understand their needs, the more successful you’ll be.