Advancing Life & Work

How dirty clothes and connectivity training will propel your sales engagements

Follow the WireFollow the Wire

Contributing author: Richard Bruklis

I have a friend that is a millennial. He had just moved into his first townhome and asked me an innocent question about washers and dryers. I went through everything I knew about the different types of washers and dryers; gas vs. electric products; stackable for space savings or side-by-side. He interrupted me and sheepishly said that he wanted to know ‘how to do’ laundry. Feeling a little bit embarrassed for him, I started talking about sorting laundry into colors and whites, water temperatures, how much soap to add, and other pertinent washing instructions. Overwhelmed with the details, he said he would just watch a YouTube video on washing clothes. Kind of stunned, I asked, “YouTube has videos on how to wash clothes”? They do.

My impression of YouTube was that it was a video collection of kids dancing, people trying to cover popular songs, and poor spoof comedy. It didn’t really occur to me that YouTube had a great collection of “how to” videos - even how to wash your clothes. Since that realization, I have used YouTube as a reference for all types of “how to” tasks. I have fixed my refrigerator water pump. I have fixed my dryer that spun but didn’t deliver heat. I have also changed the brake pads on my car and fuel filter in my daughter’s car. I use YouTube as my go-to educational reference for everyday household tasks. I am empowered to resolve these problems using YouTube as my training reference. YouTube has saved me a ton of money and hassle.

I told you that whole story to tell you this – it is pretty awesome how easy it is to learn a new skill in this day and age. I have. Materials are at the ready – day or night on phones or laptops in the HPE Learning Center. The HPE Learning Center can deliver this same “How to” material and help with our own HPE knowledge. We can empower ourselves to learn some simple concepts and parlay that knowledge into better customer engagements. Not only will this type of training help you satisfy customer’s requirements, it is also a great investment in your knowledge. IDC did a study for HPE and the study suggested that companies garner 24% higher profit margins with comprehensive training. They also said that one hour of training saves five hours of lost productivity and finally, there is 50% less support needed for trained users. A small investment can equal huge returns.

With our HPE hardware portfolio, we tend to focus on the server and/or the storage.  Many times, we forget that there is a 100% requirement to connect server and storage together. These connections involve switches, adapters, and cables. The various components are used together to build that connection between servers and storage. This connection is where we coined the phrase – “Follow the Wire” because if you sell a server, we want you to follow the wire out to the networking or storage device. Similarly, if you sell storage, we want you to follow the wire outside the storage device to see how it connected. Just like I did with YouTube, imagine watching “Follow the Wire” training videos and becoming well versed in connectivity solutions.

Think about the impact. Instead of walking away from connectivity and selling none, I teach you how to sell two sets of everything.  And selling two sets of everything is realistic – it’s the rule, not the exception. There are legitimate reasons why a customer wants no single points of failure. The reality is a five “9s” disk array is only as good as the connectivity leading to it. Imagine one misbehaving $100 cable preventing access to your five “9s” disk array. Poor design. Two $100 cables would allow for an alternative connection. Two is better than one. Don’t walk away from the connectivity – remember, there is a 100% requirement to connect. If you don’t propose it or sell it, someone else will. Don’t let that someone else be a competitor.

Take the time to learn. It will help. I have designed the Follow the Wire training into 3 phases –

Introductory 100 level materials – great for sales generalists (five modules, 10-12 minutes each),

200 level materials – great for more experienced salespeople and pre-sales engineers (10 modules, 10-12 minutes each)

300 level – great for pre-sales engineers on product details (six modules, 10-25 minutes each). Something for everyone.

Remember the IDC study, a small investment can equal a huge return for your customers and for you. Depending on the size of your server or storage deal, the connectivity could represent a small revenue opportunity but a large profit opportunity. Imagine a five-server opportunity equals X; a centralized Storage Array opportunity equals X. Walking away from connectivity might be a 1/2X sacrifice but I showed you that two sets of connectivity are almost always required. 2 x 1/2X is a full X – just as important as the servers and storage. Higher revenue, faster quota retirements, and most of all, happier customers. Use the guides. Take the training.

Leverage these two guides  (1) for navigation on how to find the training and (2) the interactive guide on details the courses.

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Richard BruklisRichard Bruklis

 Meet contributing author Richard Bruklis, HPE Worldwide Marketing, Server and Storage Connectivity.

Rich has worked at Compaq and HPE since 1997 managing various storage products – tape backup, the Enterprise Backup Solution (award-winning Fibre Channel backup), Fibre Channel Storage System, MSA1000 & MSA1500, Storage Mirroring, and now Storage Connectivity products (HBAs, switches, optics, cables). Rich indicates that he has been doing his family’s laundry since 1988.

About the Author


I’ve been in marketing in high-tech for 20+ years.