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Generating Demand Infrastructure Skills Worldwide

5 areas for energizing 2017 storage sales

How do you grow your storage business when the market appears flat overall? Take a look at the high-growth areas IBM is focusing on, including all-Flash memory, software defined storage and object storage solutions.

As attendees at the upcoming IBM PartnerWorld Leadership 2017 conference will learn, areas such as these hold great potential for boosting your storage sales in 2017. And to help you achieve your sales goals, we’re empowering IBM Business Partners with comprehensive solutions—including systems and software—designed to meet customer challenges in five key areas:

  • Modernization: Transforming storage environments in various ways ranging from virtualization, to all-Flash memory arrays, to upgrading legacy mainframe storage
  • DevOps: Making storage environments flexible and self-configurable for today’s development teams
  • New-generation workloads: Focusing on large cloud and object storage opportunities, open databases and advanced workloads such as cognitive analytics
  • Resiliency: Including backup, recovery and software defined infrastructure solutions that are resiliency related
  • Lifecycle management: Handling tape, data protection and storage management with special controls and more

 
We’re building a sales strategy in these solution areas from the bottom up and the top down. You can focus on product segments and work your way up in the IBM installed base. For example, you might suggest upgrading to all-Flash memory solutions.

Also imperative is that together IBM and our Business Partners sell outside our existing customer base. In this white space, selling is from the top down, which means approaching storage in a solution-oriented manner instead of in a product-feature-function fashion. For example, is the customer experiencing flexibility and storage problems within DevOps? Or maybe customers have new-generation workloads and want to know how to speed access to the information they need, when they need it.

Opportunities to learn and earn
In all five opportunity areas, education is the key to success in every conversation. That’s why we invite you to take advantage of the new educational resources available to you in 2017. You can join us for a deep dive into specific industries such as automotive, distribution, entertainment, financial services, healthcare, life sciences, media, oil and gas, retail and telecommunications—and the workloads important to organizations in these industries.

Which workloads do you think your firm can excel at? Big data, for instance, is a great fit for healthcare or oil and gas. Our industry panel discussions can be a real asset because the sessions highlight just what you need to know and say when talking storage with customers in different lines of business.

Resources for capitalizing on these opportunities
To kick off your education journey this year, here are the steps I recommend taking to help you understand opportunities in 2017:

  1. Start by viewing this kickoff video for an overview of the 2017 program from Ed Walsh, general manager, storage, IBM Systems, at IBM, and this strategy video to hear practical insights from Rob Coventry, vice president, worldwide technical sales, storage and software defined solutions, at IBM.
  2. Analyze where you have skill gaps, and understand how to quickly fill those gaps that you prioritize.
  3. Go to PartnerWorld University and map out the courses you want to take there.

 
Get the education first, and then get certified in specific areas of expertise. You can use that certification to demonstrate your competencies and reap new rewards, discounts and incentives. Here are some additional PartnerWorld resources:

 
You can also take advantage of face-to-face education. You’ll find many opportunities available at IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference 2017, IBM InterConnect 2017, and local road shows. We’ve created a lot of new content that wasn’t available last year. It’s focused on our new strategy and designed so you can target the areas where you’d really like to grow.

More offerings to look forward to in 2017
Coming up in 2017 are expected changes in the way we certify and recognize skills to align them with these new workloads and solution areas. Many of them emphasize sales that solve customer problems as opposed to purely product-centric sales. All in all, this approach to problem resolution is not the typical storage sales message you may have heard before.

Here’s the bottom line: we believe that if you take advantage of what we’re offering, you’re going to acquire more business, make more money and become more essential in the life of your customers. And that bottom line can lead to real success. You can let me know what you think by using the comments feature below.

Randy Daniel,
Global Storage Channel Leader, IBM

Randy Daniel is Global Storage Channel Leader at IBM and leads strategy development and global channel sales for IBM’s multibillion dollar Storage brand.

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