When Rick Marcotte sets a goal, he really sets it. Back in 2004, Marcotte had just come on board as CEO of DLT Solutions, a value-added IT solutions provider of products and services for federal, state and municipal agencies and business customers. At the time DLT was sitting at the $300 million revenue range. Looking toward the future, Marcotte said, “OK, we need to develop something that is aspirational but also realistic.” The goal he came up with: $500 million within five years. Marcotte recently met that goal, one year early no less. Here he shares how he did it, and what’s next for DLT Solutions.
ExecutiveBiz: You reached the $500 million mark within four years. What’s your secret?
Rick Marcotte: I've been asked that question quite a bit recently. Actually, the answer is pretty simple. At DLT, we pay attention to the “blocking and tackling” of the reseller business. That approach is based on four areas: lead generation, pipeline management, communications and partnership, and delivering on our mantra “” “fast, flexible, and responsive.“
ExecutiveBiz: What advice would you give other VARs?
Rick Marcotte: When some VARs find an opportunity, they put a veil of secrecy over it [from the manufacturer]. We take a different approach; we view ourselves as an extension of the manufacturer. We're aggressive in sharing our sales and marketing activities and results “” the metrics, the responses, the leads, even the loss reports “” to make sure we stay on message and are leveraging whatever resources the manufacturer has to drive the same end result.
ExecutiveBiz: In the midst of the economic downturn, any change to the degree you are investing in technical expertise?
Rick Marcotte: Quite the opposite. In these challenging times, we're placing even more reliance on being a “trusted technology advisor.“ We're actually increasing technical investments in DLT “” that includes the addition of a CTO in late 2008.
“Selling is not installing. Don't worry about the fact that you might not have the capabilities to execute on a project today, go ahead and do the selling. Then if you are successful in developing that win, work on the execution.”-Rick Marcotte
ExecutiveBiz: What top IT products and services are you seeing among your public sector clients?
Rick Marcotte: A few. Data management and storage efficiency. Open source. Business process improvement and overall IT management. Information and analytics. Finally, design products/solutions like Building Information Modeling (BIM). Think $780 billion of “shovel-ready“ projects “” a major design effort has to be undertaken before the construction can begin.
ExecutiveBiz: Speaking of the economic stimulus package, what opportunities are now on your radar?
Rick Marcotte: Well, much of the stimulus money was pushed down to the states so you'll see a lot of construction type of projects, renovations, and retrofits. There are also major programs being undertaken for building data centers, expanding broadband access, energy/water development, and health/human services. Many of those projects utilize IT as an enabling element and will be a catalyst for our sales. For example, we handle Autodesk, which is a design software “” as you can imagine before things get built they have to get designed, typically in 3-D.
ExecutiveBiz: How are you recruiting “” and retaining “” top talent?
Rick Marcotte: When I started in 2004 we had about 115 employees, now we have over 200. Our human resources group has been active in outreach to graduates at local universities. We take them through a pretty rigorous interview process to make sure they have the DNA of a sales person. They go through one month of sales boot camp, our systems, our sales processes, government 101, and the technology that we sell. Once they graduate they go into one of our sales divisions in training mode as an associate and work their way up. We have also designed many other programs specifically to recruit, develop and retain the top talent of the Millenial generation ““ a very energetic, productive group as a whole.
ExecutiveBiz: What’s the number one advice you’d give a new IT staffer?
Rick Marcotte: Make a difference. Get really good at something. Become a subject matter expert.
ExecutiveBiz: What are the top three skills IT managers need today?
Rick Marcotte: Time management, patience, and business-savvy. Notice that those skills are not specifically related to technology but more related to managing people in a complex and stress-inducing environment where workloads and expectations continue to go up while headcount and resources stay the same or go down. It's a challenge.
ExecutiveBiz: What’s a favorite IT resource of yours?
Rick Marcotte: eWeek
ExecutiveBiz: What's one of the most memorable pieces of advice you've received?
Rick Marcotte: Selling is not installing. Don't worry about the fact that you might not have the capabilities to execute on a project today, go ahead and do the selling. Then if you are successful in developing that win, work on the execution.
ExecutiveBiz: If you had the opportunity to jump into any other job, whether tech or non-tech, what would it be?
Rick Marcotte: I fondly remember my college days when I was a drummer in a rock/new wave band. Being a professional drummer would be the dream job. Many of the great bands from my era are still going strong ““ I might be able to grow my hair longer someday and get back into that scene.
ExecutiveBiz: Finally, what's the next “five-year goal“ for DLT?
Rick Marcotte: That's a great question. We just hit the half-billion mark a year earlier than planned, but we haven't at this point set the $1 billion revenue goal mark. Our strategy now is much more complex than just a revenue goal; it's a services capability to deliver full blown solutions to a broader set of customers. We've already started making investments in that area. We're growing our vendor base in places we don't serve today. We're broadening the value we provide our existing vendors. Finally, we're looking at growing into the state and local space, as well as the higher education space.
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