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Who are the real tech buyers/decision makers?

Want to sell some a unified communications solution, skip the tech guys and start with the sales department.

Yes, yes, the idea that business executives will wield a larger decision over technology purchases has been kicking around the channel for several years now. But Mike Thompson, president and CEO of VAR Groupware Technology in Campbell, Calif., says the most relevant sales conversations are starting to happen outside of the IT organization. This is especially true for complex solutions such as unified communications, he says, because the easiest way to justify the investment cost is to talk to those who own or manage operational and facilities costs that fall outside the IT organization.

Of course, this means a different sort of marketing message, Thompson says. He’s investing in a multi-tiered one for unified communications that leans less on the tech specs of the Cisco equipment he sells and more on the tangible business benefits. One of the biggest head turners, he says, is the simple efficiency argument—especially when it comes to linking together organizations with several remote locations that want to look more professional.

Business journalist and channel communications consultant Heather Clancy welcomes your comments, ideas and gripes. E-mail her at

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Heather, I couldn’t agree with you more. Business decision makers are playing a more important role than ever before. That doesn’t mean we stop selling to technology decision makers, but it does mean we need to really change our approach to marketing in order to reach the right audience with the right message at the right time. I posted about this in “Marketing To Business Decision Makers - The “Smile Curve””,