The importance of partnering in the new online sales paradigm

by Frank 25. March 2012 06:00

A company’s website is said to be its window to the world. It is supposed to be the portal through which business flows in from all corners of the globe. (Now that is a silly expression, since when did a globe have corners?) Notwithstanding the silly expression, the Internet and a company’s website are supposed to be the foundation of the modern marketing paradigm. In this new model, everything will be sold online and Cloud and SaaS will be the most used and abused marketing terms.

However, there are a couple of minor flaws in this model.

Have you ever tried to do an online demonstration or presentation to 27 people, all with different agendas? I have and it is almost impossible to be effective in this environment.

Have you ever tried to understand the nuances of a complex commercial application requirement using only the telephone, email and online sessions? I have and it is impossible to really understand one hundred-percent of the requirement.

Sure you can sell books and computers online but it is a far from perfect model when selling complex application systems that will eventually be integral to the successful operation of your customer’s business.

In our business we make good use of technology to better communicate with our customers and prospects all around the world. We in fact couldn’t operate without the Citrix tools GoToAssist, GoToMeeting and GoToTraining. They, or tools like them, are essential for running a software and services company like ours with customers all around the world.

In this day and age, and especially after the GFC, no company can afford to have ‘local’ staff in every town, state or country where it does business. Nor can any company, no matter how big, afford to fly pre-sales staff in for every one-hour demo requested by a prospect or every one or two hour support session for a customer.

However, in our sales cycle (application software) there are still many things that are best done face to face and there are some things, like application consulting, that can only be done face to face.

At this time we handle the face to face requirement by telling people we hire for consulting and support jobs that they must be available to travel and frequently, both inter-state and internationally. We make this requirement a prominent part of the job add and the interviews. Having a ‘flying squad’ of support people and application consultants is now an integral and essential part of our sales paradigm and from the customer’s viewpoint it works very well. But, it is a far from perfect solution from our viewpoint because of the high cost and lost time or ‘opportunity-cost’ of dead time spent in transit.

The flying squad will always be an important tool for us when delivering solutions but as we grow it needs to be supplemented and complemented by partnerships with local firms with the skillsets our customers require.

A few years ago, conscious of this need to partner, I registered a new website called with the intention of starting a new business primary designed to locate and connect business partners all around the globe. Sadly, the pressure of running and growing this business didn’t leave me much time and like a lot of good ideas, it is gathering dust.

It is still a great idea because there are literally millions of businesses like mine that need partners to both win and support customers; partners that can provide that essential face to face contact that is sorely missing from most modern business models. It fact, the situation worsens year by year as vendors cut costs and outsource almost every function to countries like India, China and the Philippines. I stopped dealing with a well-known hardware vendor because they told me my account manager would no longer be local but would be based in a call centre in India. I have gone from spending millions with this company to spending absolutely nothing.

Notice I am not talking about outsourcing, which I hate, but partnering, which I love. Anyone who wants to know how I feel about outsourcing should read one of my previous Blogs:

Partnering provides that much needed and much appreciated local, face to face contact; outsourcing takes it away.

My prime objective from this point on will be to forge partnerships with companies that can add value to my customers. I believe that this is an essential component of the still maturing online model.

So, if you are reading this blog and you are part of or know of a quality customer-centric services company that can add value to an enterprise content management software installation then please let me know about it. In a good partnership, everyone benefits, especially the customer.

Add comment

  Country flag

  • Comment
  • Preview

Month List