The initiative began last April with the hiring of William R. Botti as executive vice president at Wayside. Botti assessed the company’s sales history and noted that sales had grown organically, but that the clients were scattered around the United States.
All of the analysis indicated that the company wasn’t going about its growth in the right way. According to Botti, research has shown that if a company can own its back yard, it provides a “tremendous referral base to grow out of.” Botti noted that the company won’t turn down business elsewhere in the country, but it is asking its sales force to concentrate on New Jersey, with an adjacent state in the North East as a secondary market.
“We are a New Jersey company. We’ve been here since 1982 and went public in 1995, yet we’ve never really focused our sales efforts on New Jersey. It’s been a very successful business, but in order to accelerate the business we have to go deeper and wider in accounts that we can drive to visit and build face-to face-relationships,” said Botti.
It’s really a key issue, he added. People buy from people. “We need to be one of the people they know about. You do that more effectively sitting across the desk from them and learning about their business problems, so you can help the customer solve them.
“This will allow us to provide a higher level of sales customer service, and it also allows us to create engineering and services opportunities because we will be local to a majority of our customers.”
TechXtend can provide its clients with presale support, help desk, architecture and design, and needs assessments across their technology portfolios.
While the company had been growing, “there are 21 Fortune 500 companies in New Jersey, and we had only done business with a few of those.”
To make the change, TechXtend has reoriented the organization. “We’ve joined many of the chambers of commerce in New Jersey in order to become part of their tech councils and, of course, we have already been active in the New Jersey Tech Council, and have been recognized as one of the best places to work in New Jersey for the past three years.”
The company also hired a consultant to find areas it could work on with the state government and to help it become more aligned with the needs of the state and local governments and education (SLED) organizations. For example, some of TechXtend’s vendors are offering programs to help with education-rate financing for technology that’s being sold to K-12 schools. “We are trying to educate end users on how to take advantage of these federally funded programs.”
Botti told us that the strategy has benefited TechXtend. “So far we’ve seen an uptick in business. We are getting closer to more clients, and the scope of the opportunities is expanding somewhat as we get more involved in projects earlier in their cycles, as opposed to reacting to their calls.”
He added that the company still isn’t where it needs to be, but is intent on beefing up its services and resources to support the changes.
Botti told us that Wayside had just hired a new director of professional services because the foundation for a value-added reseller is engineering and the capability to help the customer architect and design. So the company is creating a department that will help expand the ability of the sales force to get into customer projects at an earlier stage.
“We are embarking on an evolutionary process where we will go from selling technologies to selling solutions to helping to identify solutions for business problems. At the end of the day, all any of us care about is, if I have a problem, can you solve it,” he said.
TechXtend isn’t yet running to other New Jersey companies with the projects it is currently trying to sell, but it is partnering with other New Jersey companies to create more comprehensive solutions, Botti said. “Partnerships help accelerate the changes we want to make.”