When it comes to industry personalities, anyone who has met Traci Maynard, an executive at Axiz, will agree that she is an action-oriented individual who could very well be categorised as a force of nature, due to her strong presence and personality.
She is a member of the BCX Wired4Women Initiative, and believes the world is a tough place and good things happen to those who take control. This, she adds, is where what she considers to be her best assets – namely strength, direction and joie de vivre – come into play.
“In every organisation and position in which I’ve worked, I have always tried to have an impact on the business, most notably with colleagues, subordinates and vendors. My intention is to learn more about them, to understand the technology they need and to use this knowledge to grow new revenue streams for my business,” she says.
After matriculating, Maynard began studying medical technology, but after just one year, she realised that she hated it. As someone with a forceful personality, she adds, working in a laboratory with chemicals, quiet surroundings and scientifically inclined colleagues was clearly not for her.
“So in 1991, I began a four-year marketing diploma, which encompassed marketing and sales management, as well as finance and research. My first job was as a marketing assistant, working for a small business owner, where I learned the basics of my business acumen and was introduced to many IT contacts, some of which I still have today.”
After many years in the IT space, she claims she can understand technology in a way that allows her to present it to anyone. Maynard says the key here is to understand the business impact of the technology you are selling.
“The challenge is to position the technology in a way that makes it interesting and exciting and as something that they definitely should consider. Of course, I still sometimes surprise people by leading a technology conversation, despite being a salesperson.
“It also helps that I can point out the financial angles of a technology sale – remember that selling solutions talks to cost, risk and time, and this means you must also have a basic financial understanding and have the relevant information available at hand, in order to make the sale.”
Being a generalist is overrated, she adds, as you really need a solid understanding of technology, coupled with a clear understanding of the customer engagement process and a strong commercial background to succeed. If you combine these three, she says, you will find yourself in a good place.
Maynard suggests that it is a salesperson’s duty to understand the complete cycle, rather than simply looking at the parts they like and ignoring the less enjoyable bits. Ultimately, it’s about striking a reasonable balance between being a generalist and becoming a specialist of sorts.
“I have been in IT across the reseller and distributor landscape since I was 21 years old, with distribution having occupied the bulk of my career. I definitely enjoy the furious pace of this sector, as well as the new learnings and, of course, the vendor interaction, which is where most of these learnings come from.
“I think that what keeps me up at night is the same thing that gets me up in the morning – tenacity, interest and the desire to be successful, along with the ongoing yearning to learn more, do more, and be better,” she concludes.