Monday, January 24, 2011


One thing that each of us in the organization struggles with is making the time for personal and/or organizational improvement.  It is so easy to get consumed by the day-to-day duties required to meet the expectations of our managers, co-workers, partners, and customers.  In a sales organization, this is particularly true because the longstanding metric of success is the "numbah."  In many - if not most - sales organizations, this is the sole metric of success.  The "numbah" can become all-consuming and it becomes very easy to default to the short view and lose sight of taking the steps necessary to become better long term. 

One thing we as a team are trying to do to make the time for improvement is a program we are calling 2-1-1.  At the end of 2010, we asked each member of the team to answer the following in preparation for their Q1 planning sessions:

2: What 2 things do you do really well that have a huge impact on your success in your job? (can be anything – trait, habit, approach, etc)
1: What 1 thing do you find yourself saying, “I really need to do better on this,” that would greatly improve your effectiveness in your job or happiness in general?
1: What 1 recommendation would you make to help improve the overall effectiveness of Varrow Sales?

Every member of the team answered these questions and then during each of their individual planning sessions we discussed his/her 2-1-1 answers and identified one goal each person would strive to achieve before the end of the quarter.  The only ground rule for the identified goal was that it needed to be one with a very high probability of achievement.  The idea here being that we don't want to add yet another stressor (the "numbah" is stressful enough), but rather prompt each individual to carve out the time to achieve the goal and not just put on the backburner day after day, month after month, quarter after quarter.  It's really about making the time for improvement.

If every individual on the team achieves his/her 2-1-1 goal, the team as a whole will be rewarded with a team reward (still have to figure out what the reward will be).  We want people helping each other out and rooting each other on as they strive to achieve their individual goals.

Here is the list of goals the members of the team have come up with so far (our inside sales reps and our data center solutions principal have their planning sessions this week, so their 2-1-1 goals are not yet identified):

*organize a local technical training for the sales team in Charlotte

*organize an afternoon at the driving range for Varrow employees and provide lessons to those participating

*bring along the new sales rep on 10 sales calls and the inside sales reps on 5 sales calls so they ramp quicker

*get meetings with 3 of your top prospect accounts

*talk to all the engineers at Varrow and create a list of companies where they have relationships or have worked at in the past and with whom Varrow is not currently doing business

*get 5 of your customers out of the office and spend some time having fun

*introduce in-person your technical consultant into 10 of your long-standing accounts and your inside sales rep into 3 of your accounts

I still have to identify with the team my own personal 2-1-1 goal and add to the list.  I hope this is effective - I am optimistic it will be, but we shall see.  In the meantime, the dialogue itself was extremely healthy and look forward to having it every quarter throughout the year.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Action Item to Our Customers and Partners

Alright, the dust has officially settled on 2010.  We started our planning sessions with the teams for 2011 and the wheels keep on turning.  2010 was an amazing year for Varrow.  We brought on board many ridiculously talented and passionate people over the course of the year; some of the best engineering, sales and operations people around, who also contribute in a positive way to the Varrow culture - one where people work hard, play hard, care about each other, and do whatever it takes to create a unique experience for our customers. 

Our focus remains the second biggest reason for our success (the first being our people).  As our customers and partners invest more in us, we invest that money back into adding more expertise and delivering more capabilities and offerings around EMC, Cisco data center, and VMware.  In 2011, we will be announcing some new service-oriented offerings for our customers that will continue to enhance their experience with Varrow.

Overall, Varrow grew revenue 89% in 2010 over 2009.  Thank you to all of our customers and partners whose confidence in Varrow is what enabled us to achieve such growth. 

But, alas, it is a new year and the past is the past.  The responsibility is upon us again in 2011 to not only meet the demands of our customers and partners, not only preserve the quality of the Varrow experience, but improve upon it.  So, if you are a customer or partner reading this, please, the next time you are sitting down with one of your Varrow folks or if you want to just send me an email, either way, speak up.  Let us know what else we can do to really separate the Varrow experience from the usual.