Channel Partners Europe: Cisco, NetApp on Selling IT to Non-IT Stakeholders

Nearly 75% of tech purchases are funded by business units outside of IT. What’s the key to engaging with non-IT stakeholders?

Craig Galbraith, Editorial Director

June 15, 2023

2 Min Read
Selling IT session at CP Europe 2023

CHANNEL PARTNERS EUROPE — Partners need to get comfortable selling IT to non-IT stakeholders. That’s according to a panel of experts (pictured above) – at this week’s Channel Partners Europe – who are adapting their routes-to-market to accommodate the new IT buyer.

Nearly three in four (74%) technology purchases are funded, at least partially, by business units outside of IT, according to a 2022 Gartner survey. Only 26% of technology investments are funded entirely by the IT organization.

At the event in London, the vendors said they have adjusted their partner engagement to on-IT stakeholders.

To help adapt to selling outside of IT, NetApp offers partners specific training.

“We’re making sure that we have our messaging up to date about the most important topics at board level. Things like sustainability or security, that resonates with everybody,” said Jeroen Kulderij, business development alliances manager, NetApp. “We make sure partners are trained up on this, making sure that they live and breathe that messaging, they get comfortable with it.”

Selling IT with a 360° View Across the Organization

Key to a selling IT successfully is alignment across the different non-IT stakeholders across the business. And even when selling outside of IT, partners want to keep IT involved in the process.

“You have to find your champions in the organization,” said Kulderij. “Making sure that everyone that may have a say in it, that might influence your position, is going to be favourable to you. It’s quite complex relationship management.”

Luke Foad is EMEA sales director, Meld CX, an AI platform built on Cisco cameras that provides data on people, vehicles and object for clients in verticals such as retail and health care.

“There’s stuff in warehouses where you have health and safety officers, operations, the CEO, all aligning to different technologies. As more AI use cases come out, you find different stakeholders have different priorities. It’s quite hard to map who will be the key decision maker to execute this.”

“It’s actually a real challenge,” said David Crumpton, director partner sales, Cisco EMEA. “If you have a really tight, intimate relationship with IT, then you can bring them in. They can guide you on how to influence line of business. But sometimes they just don’t want more problems being out on their plate. It’s a difficult one. But if you’ve got a 360° view across the organization, it should work.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Craig Galbraith

Editorial Director, Channel Futures

Craig Galbraith is the editorial director for Channel Futures, joining the team in 2008. Before that, he spent more than 11 years as an anchor, reporter and managing editor in television newsrooms in North Dakota and Washington state. Craig is a proud Husky, having graduated from the University of Washington. He makes his home in the Phoenix area.

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