DA: It is a challenge but the reality is that 80 per cent of the good reps out there do own the client, whether you like it or not. It doesn't matter what your company is going to offer, people buy from people.
MB: We have 35 per cent of our business coming through our website and my aim is to get that as high as 50 per cent in the next 12 months. Sales people do feel they own the customer and, if they leave, they can sometimes take customers with them. Taking business online is a way to combat that.
CM: We are the other way. We do none of the Internet, commodity products and try to do everything facing the customer to get a hook in and get stickiness developing. The online model wouldn't work for us because we are adding a lot more value. We need to get in there and get some commitment from the customer.
MH: We find clients break down spend and will separate components out as much as we try to pull them all back in. My experience is that it's getting harder to do. They are more prepared to break things up than they ever were before.
CM: We haven't found that. We've found people want a one-stop shop because the relationship has been developed over time and there's trust because of a proven record. They don't want to involve multiple suppliers.
SE: It's one throat to choke.
CM: There is one invoice, there is less paperwork and it's easier for them to manage. They tend to value that.
CH: If it is IT led I would agree with you; if it is procurement led, it's difficult.
BC: What services are you offering to build margin into your business models?
CM: For us its managed services and security. With those types of services you are typically talking to customers with 500 or 1000 seats and quite large IT budgets. You know when they are demanding these types of services that they are going to be running high-end servers or mainframes. You know they are dealing with serious IT budgets and are going to require the types of products and services we are offering. When you provide those services and the relationship develops to the point where they commit yearly revenue, the chances are they will give you the hardware business because they see that as an easy transaction.
DA: Although we push a lot of product we lead with services. Klikon was founded as a service organisation and we only got into product about four years ago. We do anything around Microsoft specialising in Active Directory or Exchange migrations; we do a lot of work in security, mainly around vulnerability assessment and Sarbanes-Oxley; we have a dedicated Lotus Notes development team; we do network monitoring; and offer Citrix services.
About 60 per cent of Klikon staff are engineers and consultants. On the back of that expertise, any recommendations of product to our clients are pretty much snapped up.
SE: Our objective is to make it easy for IT departments to deal with us, or easy to deal with IT. If a new member of staff comes along, the customer notifies us and we make sure the right equipment is in the right place at the right time with the right image on it. We also go up into full managed services where we provide a full end-to-end solution and are effectively the helpdesk of the IT department.