Selling distribution

Selling distribution

Aidan Fitzgerald joined Queensland-based distributor, Cellnet, as IBM business manager in January and quickly worked his way up to general manager of IT sales. He caught up with ARN to talk sales strategies, vendor and distributor consolidation and his love of team sports.

What was your first job?

I dropped out of school and was a barman. Then I trained as an accountant before realising I didn’t want to do that, so I signed up for university and got into IT.

Did you study IT at university?

Yes, I did IT marketing. I had done some work in payroll back in my accounting days and then in sales before I moved into distribution and worked for Ingram Micro in the UK for six years. I was in various roles – I started as a business development manager, then was a product manager, sales manager and service manager. We were doing 50-60 million pounds a year, so there was strong growth. Then I specialised in enterprise storage and worked for a new distributor in this field as a sales director for five years.

How did you progress to where you are today?

I left the UK about two years ago to come to Australia and worked for a local reseller called Corpnet in Brisbane. They were really great guys with good services and a strong reputation in the market. I then joined Cellnet in early 2008. It was a long way around to IT: I was close to joining the Royal Engineers in the British Army at one point. I also came close to joining the police but decided it wasn’t right for me – a career in sales makes best use of my talents.

What do you like about the current job?

I think it’s the ability to change our direction as we’re a company conversant with change. It’s a fast-moving industry as well. We have this wish to get ourselves into the right position; we have a goal we want to reach and we know how to get to it. It’s all about giving resellers and integrators a helping hand. It’s great to see people growing and succeeding because it proves we’re doing things correctly. There’s also a large amount of resellers who are keen to talk and it’s nice to get some good feedback when we’ve done the right thing.

What’s on the top of your to-do list?

Targets, targets and targets. Seriously though, it’s to grow breadth of resellers and improve the vendor spread we have. We need to be more proactive with vendors and ensure that our way of engaging with customers is solutions-based. It’s not just about having a big warehouse, but having a real value proposition for our customers. We’ve still got to be price competitive and do the pick and ship stuff correctly, but we also absolutely have to add value.

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