Jonathan Schwartz President and COO of Sun Microsystems has an interesting post on his blog from Feb 4th- titled "The Death of the Cold Call". Based on his recent speech at Sun's annual Analyst Conference,
"It's my view that the growth in front of Sun won't simply be from stabilizing and growing our existing customers. It'll be from acquiring new customers. Large customers as well as small. The important point is we won't be able to meet most of them - there aren't enough sales executives on the planet to call on each of the 4 million Solaris licenses we've distributed to the world. But so long as the internet connects us to them, the distribution of free software allows them to discover us - and for us to invest in building a bi-directional link, ultimately driving revenue from only those who want added services and infrastructure (vs. those who don't). "
In the presentation he goes on to say that their "challenge is awareness"- i was not able to see the complete presentation video (couldn't get my real media player to work but i think this should be a very interesting presentation that i will try on another PC)- so working off the slide deck i am assuming what Jonathan is talking about is "awareness" as to where customers are going-what are their business development plans-and what their markets are calling for- whether their existing top 100 and top 250 or the "Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid" (slide 43) that comes from startups and small institutions. sounds like he is purposing going beyond the traditional 'inside-sales' folks to drive the bottom of the pyramid and going straight to the developers as the primary influencers through the social networks that are driving the industry and obviously affecting sales at Sun and others like them. It is evident in their blogging strategy- http://blog.sun.com/roller/main.do
It also got me thinking about a book i am reading called "The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail" by Clayton Christensen - i could blog for pages on it- but will spare you for now- just assuming that Sun is on the verge of moving on something that will change the way they do business. I just hope that in delivering 'awareness' however defined by each of their market segments-i can help be a small part of that success.