SM: You do serve the mid market, extensively.
BH: We do. Below the strategic’s we have global accounts. Our solution is better than being somewhere in person, and that is a nice mantra. You want people to be productive when they are not in the same place. That is fundamentally our market. You have to be global, so global account managers deal with a bank, and a bank will have locations here, in London, and in Singapore. You have to service them wherever you are. We can’t say “we are not there”.
SM: Do you have local partners in various geographies?
BH: We have local partners and we have feet on the street. We have a globally deployed workforce, both service and sales. We do both. Then we do major account selling which is regional. It is serving the major players in a region. Below that is the commercial accounts where we sell to the medium sized companies. Then we use distribution and channel partners, pure channel partners, to get at the small and medium.
SM: When you were building out the channel strategy, where did you enter the market – at the bottom or top?
BH: The speaker phones were how we got going. It was selling to large companies, global 2,000’s, government, education and medical (GEMS). I think Intel was the first company to really deploy the speaker phones. We penetrated a large account, and we did that with outbound telemarketing. For the Bay Area, we would make sales calls because we were here, and we only had world wide 127 people when I joined. I had the international partner conference and I met our two international sales people; one for Europe and one for Asia. I think we doubled to 4 soon after that. We had a sales person and a theater manager. We have expanded quite a bit since then!
SM: Going back to milestones; brand, channel, what’s next?
BH: The key acquisitions were how the product lines built out. We knew voice, video and data would be the big things. I don’t know if you have ever seen our logo but it has a large triangle which represents the solution. The three smaller triangles are voice, video or data content. Being able to integrate all three of those things means we need to be in each of those spaces.
There was a meeting in 1999, where a number of customers got together and they called in the industry and said, we need you to make this easier to work. We wanted to be less technical and more user friendly. We really studied that, and studied it hard. What we realized was that there were multiple facets of the business which were being done by various different vendors to bring a solution. We decided we wanted to be an end to end solution provider. If you wanted to schedule these equipments and the room, you would use one piece of software for that step. If you wanted to have multiple parties on the call, then you would use another piece of hardware and software. We built the end points, but not the comprehensive package. This created all kinds of technical problems.