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IBM Marketing Follow-up -- Attention Lotus BPs, Be Heard!

Bill Malchisky  October 10 2011 11:00:00 PM
Just wanted to alert you to the progress made with IBM marketing and also to an opportunity to provide feedback. IBM marketing is listening and are open to learning what is wrong with an eye towards fixing things. How long that will be and what that entails remains unknown currently. But, I am pleased to state that they are serious about understanding the core problem; I am serious about working to remove the disconnect between what senior management feels is happening and what we experience.


Brief Update

I am quite pleased with the positive feedback I received this summer from my post on IBM Marketing. Thank you again, one and all. While at IamLUG and MWLUG, I spoke to several partners from multiple continents, all supporting the position that the multi-faceted relationship between IBM and Lotus partners does need to improve. To IBM's credit, they expressed interest in making a difference therein. I met with three executives and they are listening. Of course a large ship does not change direction immediately, and I know that many have spoken over the years, only to stop providing certain types of feedback as few if any changes were ever implemented. In that regard, I am most empathetic and thank the ones that did reach out to me and have sought change before me. We definitely have several underlying issues that need to be either addressed or finalized with a direction: any direction, even no direction, but something so partners can plan and remove uncertainty within their business.

I had a great meeting with a VP of Sales at IBM on Friday, 7 October. Everyone with whom I have spoken appears sincere in wanting to learn what the core issues with their sales and marketing strategy beyond their larger customers where they work directly. Years ago, such feedback would just go to /dev/NULL and you would never hear about it every again.. The renewed approach experienced is reassuring. Talk is nice, but unless followed by action, it just wastes everyone's time. Thus, I am continually working with IBM in that regard. From the aforementioned meeting on Friday, the following feedback opportunity presented itself.


Feedback Request

This week, I will be attending the IBM Leadership Alliance (LA) in Massachusetts. In addition to several one-on-one executive meetings, covering marketing and sales in the SMB space, IBM asked me to collect feedback from partners in these areas. So, if you are a Lotus Business Partner and not attending LA , I want to hear from you.

Kindly provide feedback in one of two ways: 1) Create a comment to this blog post which will potentially allow for discussion amongst the readers; 2) for a bit of privacy, you can send me an e-mail to me here.

To keep the scope manageable, kindly provide specifics regarding pain points you feel from IBM Marketing that impact your business and what can they do to better help you with your customers? How can the relationship be improved? I know I covered what I would like to see in the areas of SMB marketing and sales in July, but what would you like to see changed? If you provided me this already, there is no need to be redundant. Just want to ensure that if someone chooses to be heard, you have a solid opportunity to do so.

Thank you for your interest and for reading. Let me know what's on your mind. I will present all the feedback received to IBM on Thursday, 13 October.
Comments

1Steve  10/10/11 8:22:04 AM  IBM Marketing Follow-up -- Attention Lotus BPs, Be Heard!

I am not an IBM Business Partner, I am a customer so my perspective may be different. In the past year I haven't received a call, email or any other form of contact from our IBM rep. In the past year our rep has changed a few times as well, couldn't tell you our current rep's name.

So far the only way I've been able to stay on top of what's happening in regards to upgrades, license changes etc, is to follow blogs like yours and others on sites like planet lotus. I think it's great that 8.5.3 includes entitlements for Connections Files and Profiles, but I didn't hear that from a rep or business partner. I just happened to see it on planet lotus and clicked on it out of curiosity. I could follow the fix list site from IBM, but it still shows 8.5.3 in stage 3 and appears that it has not been released.

I have asked to meet with our rep on several occasions, we spoke over the phone, but I wanted to arrange a face to face meeting. That meeting never seemed to happen for whatever reason. I also asked our rep numerous times for help on a specific topic, each time I was told they would check into it and get back to us, possibly even a conference call with the technical person. That call never happened for what ever reason. Instead I got an email with a copy an paste out of the Admin help file, unfortunately I was looking for something a little deeper than what the help file had to offer. The turn around time on a question to our rep was typically around two weeks, sometimes longer.

I think IBM reps and business partners could get better about reaching out to customers. Even if it is just for an update on what new offerings are out there. The only time IBM contacts me is when I open a PMR or our maintenance and support contract is up for renewal. Aside from that our rep doesn't communicate with us, let alone market anything.

2Bill Malchisky  10/10/11 10:41:39 AM  IBM Marketing Follow-up -- Attention Lotus BPs, Be Heard!

Thanks, Steve. I have heard the precise story you described, with several of my clients -- except the not hearing from their Lotus BP piece. :) Great to have it in writing. I will definitely pass this along to the executive meetings. Appreciate your taking the time to comment.

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