Another Weapons Grade Executive Tech Exchange
Last week our team put together another great Weapons Grade Exec event at the Royal York hotel in Toronto. This was our biggest ETE yet: over 25 client execs, Jason, myself, and 6 senior reps from our strategic partner community: Citrix, Microsoft, VMware, Dell, Cisco, and HP. Plenty of other IT firms hold executive targeted events: they pick a product or solution that they want to sell, they invite a senior exec from the relevant vendor to deliver a high-level sales presentation, and they wine and dine a bunch of “C-level” customer reps … hoping to close a few big deals because they have a captive audience of “decision makers.” We like to do things differently … especially when it comes to our events. I think explaining that difference is worth while.
First, we make it a point to ensure these events are a sales-free environment. We focus on educating our client-base rather than selling to them. That’s why we don’t hold these events exclusively with a single vendor. Rather—to the chagrin of some of our vendor partners—we bring competing technology vendors together into the same room to share their ideas, vision, and to answer high-level questions honestly in front of their peers. We’ve been doing this for almost 2 years now. It takes work (and trust) to put these together, but the net result has been the emergence of a peer community of client and senior vendor reps that we are very proud of.
For those that know us, “selling” isn’t really part of what we do. A little over a year ago we made a deliberate internal change to stop using the word “sales”. We have a Client Services team; with a few account managers and some skilled inside service reps. We don’t have a sales team. For some this is just a terminological or semantic difference. For us, it’s a little difference that makes a difference. It’s about the attitude we take toward our business and the attitude we take toward our interaction with clients and partners.
From our perspective – clients don’t need to be “sold” anything. Most folks in our industry are tech-savvy and they don’t have time for sales pitches. In our age of immediate access to information and constant contact, people know where to go for product and service information if they want it. In fact, they are likely overwhelmed with it. The real problem that people face (from an IT perspective) is filtering that information and finding genuine guidance on how to make the right decisions. And it’s that reality that shapes the content and format for our ETE events. It’s about empowering people to understand the technology, helping them plan for the future, making the right decisions for their teams and for their businesses.
Our philosophy remains simple: do the right thing, do it well … and the rest will take care of itself.