Stories by Simon Eskow

Dearth of a Salesman

What is it about good salespeople that makes them good? Is it possessing a golden tongue, thinking three moves ahead of your customer, knowing when to sweeten a deal, when to talk up a product, when to just plain shut up? Is it knowing more about your product than the person who invented it?

Google names Fronde Top Partner for APAC

Wellington-based IT services provider Fronde has “punched above its weight” to earn Google’s Top Partner for Asia Pacific for 2011. The desingation, based on annual revenue, won Fronde two slots at Google’s annual launch event, Basecamp, in San Francisco. This was the first year that the search engine giant invited partners to participate in the event, held in January. Fronde’s Google specialist Jeff Clark, and CEO Ian Clarke joined reprentatives of 20 other channel partners from around the world for the even, which featured Google’s roadmap for the coming year. Google has about 3,000 resellers globally, with eight Enterprise Partners in New Zealand, of which Fronde is one, according to the company’s website. Google has about 400 Enterprise customers throughout APAC. “We were up against some competition from some large markets,” says Clark. “Fronde operates in Australia and New Zealand, against countries like India, where there is over one billion people, and we were beating the competition there. It felt like we were certainly punching well above our weight and that was a pretty significant achievement.” As an Enterprise Partner, Fronde sells Enterprise Google Apps, Enterprise Search, and Geospatial Solutions. Clark says the company does the most business selling the Enterprise Search product, an appliance that sits behind an organisation’s firewall, using Google’s search technlogy to allow customers to cull information across their network regardless of the source. This is mostly applied to unstructured data. “Most of our customers here have significant data growth problems, significant turnover of staff and significant inability to find the data they need to find in a quick and easy fashion,” Clark says. “Unstructured data is the primary use case.” Clark says the Enterprise Google Apps business is also picking up as 2011 saw a significant growth in new applications. Clark says Fronde only learned of their Top Partner status in early January. The designation is also temporary as it is contingent on revenue. “I guess we’ll have to reinvent the wheel for 2012,” Clark says. Clark says Google supplies Enterprise Partners with ample marketing and tecnical support. The company is restructuring its reseller channel—dividing its partners between those working with companies of 500 or more seats, and those working with customers having fewer than 500 seats. Fronde will be applying for Premiere status, which replaces Enterprise status, but it is uncertain which segment it will fall in as its customer sizes vary. Fronde currently employs 260 people, with offices in Auckland, Sydney and Canberra.

2012: year of the reseller as cloud broker

Resellers in the SMB space often have closer relationships with their customers than their larger counterparts, says Chris Ichter, Small, Midmarket and Partners director for Microsoft New Zealand.