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Bilafer’s BHAG: Deeper Partner Commitment Leads to 10x Sales Gain

Earlier this fall, I participated in the Vertical Systems Reseller (VSR) Business Optimization Summit, a day-long seminar about trends in enterprise software. For one session, I shared the stage with Marty Carney, CEO of Texas-based WCI Consulting, a business intelligence services company.

I was supposed to have a conversation with Marty about big data, but it quickly became evident that our audience wanted to talk to Marty about why a services company like his finds value partnering with a products company like SAP.

If you know Marty, you know he’s not a shy guy, so he took it and ran with it. I’d like to share some of his remarks on that topic with you here.

WCI has been an SAP partner since 1998. But Marty says, “We weren’t a true, strong partner. Yes, SAP was our partner of choice, because of the incredible amount of research and development they do, the acquisitions they make, and the communication about the new products and new versions that are coming.” But, he confesses, “We sold product so we could sell services.”

Marty says his entrepreneurial mindset kept him from fully committing to the partnership. “I own my own company because I want to call the shots,” he says. “SAP is by the numbers. You can’t just stick your finger in the wind and guess what your sales are going to be. You have to make a projection and you have to hit it, or they’ll want to know why. My attitude was, ‘why do I need SAP to tell me what to do?’”

He changed his attitude about 4 years ago. “I realized there was a much bigger market for me if I would become a better partner,” he says. “I made a decision “to open the kimono.”

“SAP wants to know a lot about you,” he says. “This is not, ‘hey, I’m gonna partner with SAP and they’re gonna give me some leads.” This is an opportunity for mature partners. You could be a one-person company, or a 5000-person company, but you have to be willing to look at the numbers and share information.”

The results of his attitude shift have been phenomenal. His company has opened new offices in Vancouver and Philadelphia. WCI was named SAP’s U.S. BusinessObjects partner of the year for 2010, and is in the running for the same honor for 2011. Marty says, “What I saw was that the opportunity would be tenfold, and it has been.”

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