In a conversation today with my good friend Matt Liebowitz, who, by the way works for EMC Consulting as does another good friend, Ted Newman (@mattliebowitz and @vCTO respectively) on a fantastic team filled with some great people many of whom are good friends, Matt asked if we were now enemies. A bit tongue in cheek, I suspect. Of course, many of you know that I was previously a vSpecialist at EMC in the team created by Chad Sakac and Wade O’Harrow (@Sakacc and @WadeOHarrow respectively) Really, the biggest lessons I learned in presales, I learned in the tutelage of Chad.
In truth, prior to my time at EMC, my storage knowledge, both in terms of EMC, and in terms of how to position in regards to competition in the marketplace were non-existant. I was almost exclusively a virtualization guy, and I loved it. I still love it. But there’s more to this world. As Paul Maritz said, the Hypervisor wars are over. The key is in storage and the network today.
So, I’ve moved over to an awesome Storage vendor (of course one that doesn’t actually sell storage, but manages storage). A proponent of “Open Storage.”
But, does this mean that I eschew the competition? Do I hate EMC or NetApp? Never. Without competition, this industry would stagnate and the value would disappear. Not only that, but these other companies continue to create fantastic products with viable need in many use cases.
Now the point… In a sales environment, when I am discussing the value of my product, which I do believe to be significantly of value in these conversations, I would never disrespect the competition. They have spent years and who knows how many dollars in research and development to arrive at their products, as have we. It is incumbent on my process to present as clear a picture of why, in real terms, my customer would want to choose my products rather than those of my competition. If I were to choose some false argument, why then would my customer return to me?
In the pantheon of nuggets I learned from Chad Sakac, the first two rules, and those I have taken most to heart subsequently have been:
1) Never go dark on the competition, and indeed, this is sage wisdom
2) Always be humble, and while this is often more difficult for me, again sage wisdom.