Maurizio Carli, EVP of Worldwide Sales, VMWare, Inc.
Gary Tubridy: I’m with Maurizio Carli, EVP of Worldwide Sales from VMWare. Maurizio, welcome to the forum. It’s great to have you here. Thanks for joining us.
Maurizio Carli: Thank you for the opportunity to be here.
GT: Maybe it is best to start with a quick description of the VMWare business and your role in running Worldwide Sales.
MC: VMWare is one of the largest software companies nowadays. And we are famous in the industry because introduce — we introduced a new software called Virtualization. And today, everyone is utilizing this. To give you an idea, roughly, one application out of two in whatever industry is running on our platform. And we are giving basic to customer more cost-effectiveness and agility in building an infrastructure where we detach the physical layer from the logical layer. Regarding my role, I am responsible for the sales component of the company. The company has around 20,000 employees. And my responsibility is of the sales team is around 7,000 people.
GT: So our event is all about a new role for sales. And, certainly, in terms of representing that broad a portfolio to those kinds of functional users, there certainly is a new role for sales at VMWare. Can you tell me a little bit about the transformation that your sales organization has undergone?
MC: Originally, as you can imagine, selling a single product to optimize a single server was quite, quote/unquote, an easy activity, meaning that was a matter to understand the footprint of a customer, to put together a deal, and then because was mainly a narrow eye kind of discussion to say the more you buy, the more you can consolidate servers was a very simple sales motion. Today, having a much more articulated portfolio not only would become more strategic, but we had to move from selling a product to selling solution. Therefore, we had to transform our sales force in being more capable to address C-level, so CIO, CFO and business executives, and moving from positioning a product into offering a solution to solve a business issue and to deliver IT outcomes.
GT: So that’s a big change. Are there some things that you did — and I call it having executive conversations – instead of talking about the product, you are talking about something the product can do for an executive. So you had to train and enable your sellers to have executive conversations. Are there some things that you’ve done to enable them to do that better?
MC: So you are perfectly right. So there were three actions that we had to take. One, the first and most important, a mass server enablement plan to move from having our people knowledgeable about products into more capable to do what is called value selling. So really to position our solution, but not in terms of product functionality, but in terms of what the customer could do to solve their business issue with our solution our products, number one. And this, we did that — we do that year over year, investing a lot in enablement. We have internal resources, but also using external companies. Number two, not everyone in sales could make the transition, so we had to significantly change the skill set of our sales population. And third, we are a company that is very much profit-driven. And, traditionally, we had a simple patriarchal system, typical distribution and reseller and OEM. Today we sell transformational projects that require a lot of design, a lot of services, and requires the help of system integrator.
GT: Has your relationship with the marketing department changed as the complexity of what we deliver and the executives who we deliver it to requires some compelling messaging, and marketing should be in the business of providing that, perhaps? Have you changed your relationship with marketing to get that?
MC: Yes, definitely. In enlarging our portfolio and moving into solutions, our marketing — our field marketing has to transform from positioning product to positioning solution, but more important, to moving from product functionality to use cases. So if you like, today, when we go to a customer, we try to position our solution in the way the customer has to understand how our solution can solve a business issue. One example will be security. Instead to sell a product, we say you have a security challenge because you want to secure our — your application across a different way you deploy. And then you go down into a solution in the product that we start with high level messaging addressing the business pain of a customer.
GT: I kind of appreciate it when a customer comes and says we’re going to make a change and I’m not sure how you fit in. Let’s talk about what might happen. You’ve got an opportunity to take that problem and turn it into something much better.
MC: Exactly — this is what happened. You know, you have five seconds, you say okay. You don’t know where to stand. But then because I truly believe that one beauty of VMWare or my company, is that we constantly innovate. We constantly try to understand and to execute towards what is happening in the industry. And despite we are not a cloud provider on a massive scale like the Amazon or IBM or potentially Google, we decided to invest massively to become enabler to help our customer to move to the cloud in a smooth way to be sure that they can run, connect, and secure their application world into whatever infrastructure they want to run.
GT: Outstanding. It sounds like you’re really busy, but it sounds like it’s going to be very exciting.
MC: Now is my eighth year in this company. I have to say that this is a fantastic company where every day we re-invent ourself. And we look always forward to understand what customer needs and to satisfy the needs for today and for tomorrow.
GT: Outstanding. Maurizio, thank you for joining us this year. Best of luck 2017.
MC: Thank you very much, and a pleasure to be here with you.
GT: Great. Thank you.
MC: Thank you very much.