the ME in SME

Believe it or not, at times I can be absolutely hounded by sales people trying to sell my clients of all people mobile phone contracts, photocopier and printer supplies – I even get other IT companies speaking to me about coming in for a free ‘healthcheck’ on my networks… no thanks! …

With those guys, it’s just a numbers game – you’re not important, they just want to close your business as fast as possible and often leave it to some disastrous arm of their company to then fulfil the service when you go back to the chap or chapess who sold you the service in the first place, they don’t want to know… they may not even work for the company either, they may work for an external sales organisation. They’re thinking about themselves, their targets and their commissions. They have no interest in your business, what it does and how it does it.

Back in the good old days, Account Manager wasn’t a dirty word, neither was Bank Manager an oxymoron and a Management Consultant was still a respected intellectual who could solve business problems!

The evolution of the Account Manager in IT has got to the point when the IT Manager gets a call passed through from someone with such a title, he disengages brain and starts playing his or her own brand of hold music in their head whilst still actively saying: “uh, huhuh, uhuh, mmm, interesting” whilst being talked at. A clever IT Manager will toy with the lowly Account Manager then at the end of the call show them up as knowing very little and making it clear there’s no business for them at his or her company (that was me by the way). The very clever IT manager will maybe even give them an opportunity which s/he’s going to use to price match someone he already s/he knows s/he’s going to do business with (this is actually one of my friends).

In building up Unleashed IT, I thought this was a problem, ultimately sales is a necessary evil, I need you to know that I have something unique that may be of interest. To be honest, I don’t really mind if it’s not of interest, quite happy to walk away and leave you in peace but I need some of your time to evaluate it properly to see if it is of interest. This would be great if there weren’t other companies out there pestering you as an IT Manager about your mobile phone contract several times a day. I like you closed the doors on everyone simply because I couldn’t be bothered wasting my time listening to the same spiel of how someone could save me money on my calls and lines…!

We don’t have salespeople or Account Managers, we have Technology Consultants their purpose is to be able to converse to a level of technology without being a specialist but also understand what your business does and find a solution. They have access to our vast network of suppliers and advisors and in my humble opinion do a good job of putting together very innovative solutions with what’s available in the market. What we as Unleashed IT are very good at is finding new technologies and I’m very proud of the portfolio that we’re building up.

Unfortunately like Scale Computing, CradlePoint, UniPrint, PHD Virtual, Spectorsoft you may not have heard of them – so how do we get our message across? How do we get you to know we’ve got the best piece of technology you’ve never heard of and allay your fears it’s got something wrong with it because it’s not been in PC Pro yet.

I’d offer you something free, something which we do anyway – any problem you pose we’ll quite happily go away and find a solution for you, that’s what we like doing and ultimately why we’re in business. However us solving problems almost sounds as dubious as coming into meet you to do a healthcheck! I certainly don’t want to be even looking to attempt that.

I can only think back to what I would have done sat in the IT Managers chair when I was solving problems and that was to hit the Search Engines, of course, my previous blog on the subject shows my difficulties here. At the end of the day – all you get is SEOers and paid advertisers skewing results these days. I actually write these blogs to help, we do have our own marketing campaigns but unfortunately we don’t have the oodles of cash to stick us up at the top of Google, even if I could figure out what you’d be looking for if you were to come to us – somehow I don’t think you’ll have Googled “solve my business technology problems” to get to this post. Mmm maybe one of you did then.

So whilst we’re the IT company that solves your problems, we have a fundamental business technology problem of our own – that is very much a work in progress, how do we engage with the type of people we’d like to become our customer without hassling them, without hounding them on the phone and without being treated in the same ilk as the used car salesman types of the IT industry?

The solution is very much a work in progress and is part of our strategy for the whole year. The first stage of solving a problem is often admitting you have one in the first place. The second, well, it’s firstly to stop thinking of the ME as my cunninnging title suggests we’re going to start thinking of the WE. Whilst we can help solve your business technology problems, we can also listen to medium sized businesses and IT Managers within them how they’d like to interact with us and perhaps we can work together to solve all of our problems.