Resellers twist to satisfy the sales cycle

Resellers twist to satisfy the sales cycle

Resellers following the well-worn path from box-moving to integrated services have discovered an interesting twist in the chase for new revenues: motivating sales staff.

As one network integrator observes, selling a services contract is just not as "sexy" as boasting about securing a hardware deal worth millions of dollars.

Laurie Stevens, managing director of Anite Networks, said the company has overcome the "psychological" issues behind the old box-moving sales mindset of the past with a new approach to its sales staff incentives.

Specifically, he said the company makes sure sales staff receive the commissions or extra financial incentives for winning services-based deals up front. "Sales people love to get commission cheques [up front]," he said.

A concern for sales staff, he explained, is that large services contracts are typically settled on an annual basis leaving them without immediate compensation.

Kent Brooks, managing director of network integrator NetStar, said that to shift to a services-led mentality is "not to be underestimated".

The difference, he notes, is services require a business sell which in turn requires the reseller to adopt a different business structure of its own.

His solutions include "productising" your services, investing in sales training, and awarding sales compensations based on gross profit dollars - which are typically higher for services.

In addition, Brooks will not allow box sales below "a certain gross profit percentage".

Brooks said the company has successfully made the services transition; however, the ongoing issue resellers face is how they handle salespeople who remain uncomfortable with the services sell.

The solution is to keep those sales staff focused on box-moving. "There will always be a certain area in reseller land where you can't sell services," Brooks explained.

Meanwhile, Darron Lonstein, Com Tech director of technical marketing, said services is not considered as a separate offering in itself as the company maintains a "solutions" focus. "We've never had a culture of being totally product and box-drop focused," Lonstein said.

"We've found services have taken a natural fit with our solutions."

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