Got a strong story to tell? Don’t settle for a place in the chorus

Have you lost your voice? Or is the market just not hearing you?

If you let your industry partners drive and dominate the conversation, they’ll be speaking on their own behalf, not yours. You’ll be at best a gap-filler, and at worst an afterthought.

So how do you get your story heard too? How do you establish yourself as a contributor of value and, pardon the cliché, of thought leadership? People are actively looking for new ideas – how do you reach them?

This is an issue for any supplier who needs to partner with bigger companies to get to market, but it came up most recently in conversation with companies in the AV industry – specialists in areas such as videoconferencing, audio headsets, webcam technology and so on.

It’s a business where it’s hard – if not impossible – to avoid or sidestep the big gorillas. That’s the Googles, Microsofts and Zooms of this world.

Whose terms do you sell on – yours, or theirs?

Now, it’s true that they can’t sell their conferencing and collaboration platforms without AV hardware and software. But they sell conferencing and collaboration on their terms, not those of Jabra, Logitech, Poly, Shure or whoever – even though the latter may have a far deeper understanding of the real issues and drivers, such as the need to build flexibly for an uncertain future.

Worse, if the AV gear is seen as merely a necessary component, not a value contributor in its own right, then it won’t matter much to them which AV partner that the end customer chooses…

This isn’t just an AV issue of course – it’s the same in almost any industry. Sure, you might be doing nicely for now out of riding a big vendor’s coat-tails, but what will happen to you if another partner makes them a better offer? Or if the big vendor decides to take it in-house?

You need to get your own voice heard – to be recognised as having ideas and offering significant value in your own right, not merely as a ‘contributor’.

The key most often is to reframe the discussion – to present the business or technology challenges in a new light or from a different perspective – and do it early enough in the cycle that your hot take is now the driver.

If you’ve read this far, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that we can help here. Drop us a line, or even give us a call, to learn more.

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Bryan Betts is sadly no longing with us. He worked as an analyst at Freeform Dynamics between July 2016 and February 2024, when he tragically passed away following an unexpected illness. We are proud to continue to host Bryan’s work as a tribute to his great contribution to the IT industry.