I recently interviewed Aaron Hagler, VP of solutions strategy at Tolt Solutions
, a systems integrator and retail technology services provider formed out of Kyrus Solutions’ acquisition of Tolt Service Group. The 960-employee company is projecting double-digit growth this year and Hagler didn't mince words when asked about some of the key contributors to Tolt's success. One of the keys is selling a comprehensive solution. For Tolt Solutions, this includes everything from initial consultation and analysis, to software development, to complete staging and implementation, to remote monitoring maintenance, 24/7/365 helpdesk support, and depot repair and on-site maintenance services. “We even provide asset disposal services for clients’ hardware that’s reached end-of-life,” says Hagler.
While many IT service providers seem to readily accept Hagler's first point, it's the second point that's a sticking point for many service providers: understanding that the decision-making process for mobile solution sales has changed significantly over the past four years.
According to Hagler, while it used to be the CIO who was the key stakeholder in the sales engagement process, today it’s much more likely to be another C-level executive, such as the CMO (chief marketing officer). Analyst group Gartner’s research corroborates Tolt’s experience, predicting that by 2017 CMOs will outspend CIOs on technology.
What’s important for IT service providers to understand about this trend is that unlike the IT-focused decision makers of the past, the new retail budget decision makers care more about business concepts such as customer loyalty, reaching the millennial generation, and meeting omni-channel consumer expectations. The CIO will help support these initiatives, but marketing and merchandising are the budget holders service providers need to engage with and influence.
Be sure to check out additional tips Hagler shared during our interview, which you can access here: Deliver The Mobile Experience From Inception To Retirement