Technology Case Study
Technology companies, including software and hardware vendors, have to: produce compelling products in a fast-changing world, motivate and focus diverse teams, support direct and/or indirect sales teams, and provide outstanding customer service while monitoring costs to extract profits for their shareholders.
WDS created game-changing software for a specific market, but knew it had to identify a unique go-to-market strategy if it was to compete successfully against the incumbent market leader, a public company with an aggressive direct-sales organization. They decided to pursue a local, indirect-sales channel (aka Value-Added Resellers) that would also teach and support their software. How does a Vendor (aka OEM) gain mindshare with a company they don’t own with a new product? The OEM decided to create trust by equally sharing the maintenance dollars of their software, which was unprecedented in the industry; it also helped that their software exceeded expectations and was significantly less expensive than the market leader.
Jim was curious about the cold call and upcoming meeting with WDS; they had recently reached out to his company, CTI, about reselling their new software in an already crowded marketplace. Zak, Sales Manager for WDS, arrived with his technical counterpart and they shared their vision and software. It was unexpectedly compelling and our interest grew. Zak was professional and respectful with our time and encouraged us to consider, then asked for another meeting if our interest continued to determine if it was a fit for each of our respective companies.
Zak arrived promptly for our next meeting; he expanded on their vision and answered questions about his company. Next he asked for permission to share a framework with us to better understand our company, “Sure”, I replied. He pulled a single sheet of paper and proceeded to guide us thru the seven steps of the worksheet. His questions included: Regarding your current software sales, on a scale of 1-10, where are you now and where would you like to be? What are the values of your company and how do you practice them? Based on where you are and where you’d like to be and CTI’s core values, how confident are you in your current plans to achieve your software sales goals? Lastly, he further probed on our current software sales Situation, Strengths, Struggles, and Strategies (4 S’s). It was an interesting and unusual way to get to know CTI and our values; next he shared WDS’ 4 S’s. At the end of our hour Zak asked, “Does it seem like we’re on the same page?” Being the first time that a vendor had taken the time to understand our organization’s beliefs, values, and plans, I replied, “There’s risk in changing our direction with another product, that could be viewed as competitive, but I feel like we’re similar page and I can appreciate the risk you’re taking in trusting us to sell, teach, and support your new product.” We moved forward with WDS and 24 years later, we’re still going strong. Over the years, many other vendors asked us to carry their products and we did - however their lack of alignment prevented us from scaling proactively, which consequently cost them mind-share and market-share.
CoreSelf Mapping can be used by any organization to strengthen relationships internally to build trust, accountability, and sustainable plans or next best steps; however, it can also be effectively used externally to reinforce partnerships and provide a framework for different companies, that rely on each other, to get on the same page; trust breeds alignment, and alignment breeds scale which manifest itself in profitable momentum for both OEM and Partners.