What’s a banker doing selling for Avanade?

  • Posted on May 18, 2016

My path to technology sales was an uncommon one. I was born into a U.S. Navy family, and I lived all over the western U.S. and Texas before graduating from the University of Texas and beginning my career in 1990 in banking. Yes, banking.

It wasn’t until five years later that I first experienced the intersection of technology, business, consulting and sales. At the time, I ran product management in the IT group of a large corporate bank. We were undergoing a massive technology transformation and hired a tech genius who became a great friend. Eventually he joined Microsoft and when he saw what Microsoft was doing from a consulting perspective, he called and told me I had to get into sales. ‘You’ve been selling your whole career,’ he said.

I didn’t end up joining Microsoft, but not long afterward, I followed his advice. In the first year at my first sales job I made President’s Club. That’s a heady start to a new career, but I had always loved people and that, combined with my experience in technology transformation, gave me insight into what enterprises are looking for. It was deeply satisfying to help companies use technology to achieve their business goals.

Meeting Avanade

Still, the first time I bumped into Avanade, the company didn’t make sense to me at all. I wasn’t used to the virtual paradigm. There was no Houston branch, no people sitting in a building. Fairly soon, however, I saw how smart Avanade people were and I said to myself, “This Avanade is a different animal. It’s not a boutique. It’s going to be something major.” I’ve never looked back.

I was originally hired in 2005 as a group manager in direct sales, based in Houston, Texas. There is a huge energy focus in Houston, but energy wasn’t where I made my first big win. It was in healthcare.

I immediately started looking for an organization contemplating major information technology transformation, one where there was significant complexity and need for our services and one where the business value of transformation would be significant.  A globally renowned healthcare organization that I was calling on was at that transformational stage and we met with them at the right time.  We soon engaged and worked with them side-by-side on the transformation journey.

Selling as a team sport

As we say at Avanade, team selling is absolutely critical. My team and I landed this major account in my first full year at Avanade, and we’ve been with them ever since. I have gone on to use the same template with clients in multiple industries, bringing in the very best of Avanade and showing them how technology can help transform their enterprises.  These organizations have spanned healthcare, oil and gas, manufacturing, utilities and several other sectors.

Today, I have the honor of training and mentoring new sellers, while continuing to grow my own sales record. I want to share with them what I have learned. Know what we do well. Learn how to use the power of global Avanade on a local level. Look for patterns. Where have we used our technology competence to change clients’ businesses? Where can we make the most impact? That’s where we want to be.

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