…a job. … I took the leap. I worked to not only build my book of business but was a key member to assist in the operational infrastructure build we had to do as a small and rapidly growing firm. I was there for four years, and then cut out on my own.
FL: After selling my small business, I was recruited to join a Fortune 500 tech company where I spent a few years learning that side of the business. Again, priceless experience, and one where I really learned the channel and a partner’s perspectives around running a business. There were so many different types of partners, and they all ran their businesses in their own ways. I developed great relationships with partners throughout the country and 14 years later I’m still happily working for one of them.
CP: What do you love about being in the channel?
DD: The people. There are so many smart and motivated people in the channel and it is filled with innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s so great to be surrounded by so many people who have such passion for their customers. We have a whole industry full of people who actually give a s*** about the customer, at a time when the big providers may not always be filling that need. That’s very invigorating to be around.
MH: The simple response here is; control, freedom and money. This is what the channel offers those who truly seize it, work it and embrace it.
FL: I enjoy working with customers. I enjoy introducing them to new, innovative services that have a positive impact on how they operate their business.
CP: How much was your first really big sale — whether in the channel or not — and what was the key to winning it?
DD: The first deal I did over $1 million in contract value was in 2001 while working for AT&T (SBC at the time). I sold new phone systems to a large grocery retailer. We won the headquarters and call center as well as all the stores. The key to winning then was similar to the key now. It was a team effort with multiple people chipping in with the strengths they had. The most critical factor was really digging in with the customer. … When it came time for final proposals, rather than focus on the price and the technology, we focused on the productivity outcomes, standardization and the road map for how we would make the rollout go well. This is something I have lived by since. If you can show clients that they are buying outcomes not technology, you will win way more often than not.
CP: How much was the biggest deal you’ve lost and what did you learn from that experience?
DD: We learn something from every deal we lose. Sometimes it’s an issue of alignment, other times it’s that we missed something critical in our discovery process. Thinking back…
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