At Manchester’s IP Expo this week, we had the opportunity to catch up with Nigel White, the Sales and Marketing Director from Stonegate IT (@nigelwhitecloud), an application migration specialist.
Read our interview below to hear about Nigel’s views on how Stonegate IT engages with customers, and his views on the changing role of sales within the UK tech industry.
Tell us a little bit about Stonegate IT.
Stonegate IT is at its core a migration company. We help cloud providers accelerate their migration activities with customers, and also organisations who need application migration support internally.
If you have an application running in Datacentre A, we can help you to move it to Datacentre B. Datacentre B quite often these days is a cloud or a managed hosting service. We don’t care where the application is going to, what we care about is moving it from A to B and we have been doing that for 8 years and developed a really deep specialisation in doing this.
For small jobs, all work is delivered remotely, so we can be quite cost-effective in our pricing, and also respond quickly; often moving workloads within a week.
We tend to go to work through partners, and sometimes that can be through cloud providers. For instance, we have a cloud service provider who will ring us up and say “I need to get my customer’s workloads onto our platform asap”, and we can be responsive and quote in the same day, and deliver quickly.
We also have larger deployments where all of an organisation’s applications are moved over to a new cloud hosting platform and we work onsite with the client.
How useful has attending IP Expo been for you?
We have been chatting with the hosting providers here today as we often engage with clients on consulting projects and the result ofthose conversations is them asking us to recommend a managed hosting partner. So today is a useful way for us to stay up to date on what cloud providers are saying and offering. The increase in cloud services actually promotes our business, so it’s very synergistic.
There are also sometimes specialist niche software providers here who we can partner with to expand the application migration proposition we have today.
We also want to expand into Manchester as we are currently more southern-centric with our staff and coverage so we are keen to be in the market here and see what the opportunities are.
So there a range of different things that we can get out of attending today’s event.
How does Stonegate engage with customers?
We work through partners, but we also focus on investing in our technical teams and consultants who engage with customers.
Many industry analysts are talking about the “death of the B2B sales person”. What is your view as someone working within the UK technology sales industry?
Well I’ve been a salesperson for a long time, so I don’t agree with that. It’s a bit like the research guy who has a fantastic product and says “we’ve got such a fantastic product, we don’t need any salespeople to sell it – it will sell itself”. And so often, that is just not true.
What I think the industry analysts are referring to are some of the consumer, public cloud solutions where it is more of a self-service model – the customer researches what they want and then comes and buys it directly rather than the solution being sold to them.
I get where the analysts are coming from, but those multinational cloud providers often have lots of business partners who are doing the selling for them.
In whatever form or fashion it is, you need salespeople to service clients.
How do you go about partner and reseller recruitment?
We look to work with partners who need specialist, technical help moving complicated workloads around. So we look to develop partnerships with smaller providers in niche areas, and also larger players such as Rackspace. We are getting our teams trained up on the larger public cloud providers so that we can help customers, whichever their target workload destination is.
We are also focused on software companies who are looking to develop a flexible SAAS model, where we help them move clients from traditional on-premise software instances to a software-as-a-service (SAAS) model.
Do you think the selling profession has changed in the last 10 years?
The industry has tried to be a lot more efficient in how it goes about selling, so there is a lot more investment in call centres and outbound marketing than before to make selling more cost-effective and less resource heavy. There has also been an emergence in the UK of a lot of smaller companies in the B2B space who are much more proactive in their selling approach, especially with the advent of cloud solutions and companies.
Do you have any recommendations for companies about how they approach developing better sales and client engagement programs?
I think the biggest thing is to look after your staff. It’s really, really important in the technology industry to ensure that you have the right staff with the right level of technical capabilities. When we recruit, we make sure we get the right people, but also importantly that we retain them – which is key for all service companies. As the pressure grows to be more effective, it’s important that companies are really looking after their staff.
And finally, when people are speaking with you today, what is the main headline you want them to take home and remember about Stonegate IT?
Easy to do business with; we are quick and responsive and have a great technical team ready to help.
Find out more about Stonegate IT by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.