A cynical view ....
Working for an INTEGRATOR:
- Able to participate in many and all training seminars/open house events and still stay "neutral" to any brands. You are invited because you ultimately can be a potential great customer for the hosts and they are happy to having you there.
- Able to choose and "integrate" different brands available in the market for the best solution for your end customer.
Working for a MANUFACTURER:
- Still can participate in any training seminar/open house events but somehow you still feel "sort of an infiltrated spy" in the crowd looking at what your "possible competitors" are doing. You are not planning to purchase from your hosts unless you want to do some sort of reverse-engineering in your lab with your own company's engineers. I am not so sure the hosts will be very happy to have you there knowing that you work for their competitors.
- Not able to choose other brands. Must advertise above all your product's advantages and not mention it's own disadvantages and ultimately offer your own branded solution.
As with everything in life the answer is not binary.
The best approach from my perspective is to work for a strong integrator first. This will open your eyes to the "real" world and the strengths and weaknesses of all the vendors. Then after 5 years or so join a leading manufacturer. Your past experience will give you the tools to be very succesful and you will know where you stand.
Workign for a manufacture is like being able to eat at only one restaurant. Yes you can change the meal slightly but your locked in.
Working for an integrator is like letting you chose a diffent place to eat every day of the week to what suits your needs the best.
I see the difference as being how much focus and specificity you want out of your job. The manufacturer job is likely to be highly specialized in a particular area of the industry and products. Whereas the integrator job will be much more broad in scope. I imagine the integrator job has more contact with end users. Even manufacturer jobs in sales tend to deal with more integrators themselves rather than end-user customers. Also, if location is important to you may have fewer options with manufacturers.
IPVMU Certified | 05/28/14 02:36pm
I think it is a tough call. The manufacturer typically has bigger budgets that allow you to pursue projects that are not practical on shoestring integrator budgets. I enjoyed exploring new innovative technologies that allow you to create a solution to a problem rather than trying to fit existing technology into a solution that may not be a good fit. If you enjoy travel, the manufacturer probably has more opportunities.
However, I lean to the integrator, as they are typically a smaller company that is less structured and bureaucratic. Both jobs can offer plenty of stress, just different drivers of stress. One distinct advantage of an integrator, is that they have local competition to flee to, if the stress becomes too much. Travel can be nice, but too much is a burden, and it plays hell on family life, particularly with children in the picture (I have the divorce to prove it). Most of all, l like not being a one trick pony that has to fit a manufacturer’s square product into a round problem, integrators generally have more flexibility to use the product that best fits the application.
IPVMU Certified | 05/28/14 02:41pm
There's a saying "When all you have is a hammer, all your problems look like nails."
If I'm truly a 'security talent', then I make my living solving problems, not trying to force a square peg into a round hole.
- As a manufacturer, I'm not really doing my job unless I'm pushing my company's products.
- As an integrator, I'm not really doing my job unless I'm installing someone's products (because I made the sale, good or bad).
Therefore, I think the right answer is: Become an independent consultant.
Or: be an integrator willing to sell based on solution effectiveness, not best margin. And be a manufacturer willing to admit 'we are not a good fit here' when they are not.
Why not End User? Or are we all considered to be "untalented idiots"?
Talented people can be either. The really good integrators pay well and perform well. Same for manufacturers. The difference is that a poor integrator will pay less well than a poor manufacturer - but the risk of layoffs or worse is higher with the poor manufacturer.
From a selling perspective, it's all about matching the skill to the requirements of the day-to-day process. Talent is required for both, but matching the talent is imperative. (The only exception: virtually anyone can succeed as an RSM when a manufacturer is on a hot streak for a few years.)
A few points:
- Although it seems like an easy transition, I've seen integration sales people struggle when moving to a manufacturer. They kept trying to solve the entire problem of the end-user, or they would constantly complain about the skill of their channel - they couldn't let go of the end-user and focus on developing their channel. In every instance I'm thinking of, the result was a few dedicated clients, but the majority of their region under performed.
- Manufacturer sales people moving to the integration side find a simplicity in the process and will jump out to a quick start. However, if there is not an engineering / estimating resource to assist them, their quick start could hit a wall after a few months.
- Many integrators have been considering carving out the "stud salesperson" to simply build relationships while having the technical person come in to handle the details. This works in some industries where there are limited but very large transactions. It won't work in the typical security integration company. There are too many transactions and the sales person needs to be able to bring content to their clients and prospects.
They're selling the same thing to the same customers, but the talent required is completely different.
Updating this post:
- 54% of integrators recommend being integrators.
- 62% of manufacturers recommend being manufacturers.
IPVM's integrator salary and manufacturer salary results show that manufacturers, make on average 35% more than their integrator equivalents, a sizeable difference.