Q&8 with Deanna
Q&8 is a recurring series on Blackfoot's blog where we interview our expert partners and employees, asking 8 questions to provide unique insights.
8 Questions & Answers with a Blackfoot Sales Engineer
Q1: Will you introduce yourself and your role?
My name is Deanna Jenness and I've been with Blackfoot for 14 years now. I am currently a Sales Engineer in the Network Engineering department. I'm a Certified Meraki Network Administrator. I'm a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and I'm also a Certified Cloud Security Professional. So I use a lot of training to help me in my role as a sales engineer.
Q2: What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I usually start my morning reviewing opportunities that are assigned to me, looking at the service availability requests that come in with the opportunities. And then I work with other departments to design a WAN solution for that opportunity; or we have circuits and Managed WAN solutions, as well. I investigate the customer’s existing networks to weed out potential issues with the recommended solutions. I spend a lot of time working with other departments in the company to create solutions for the customer.
Q3: How do you go about assessing the needs of a business?
I start by looking to see if they're an existing customer. If they're an existing customer, then I start to track down all of the network equipment and current solutions that we have in place. I try to find out why they're looking to make the change. Is there something going on that maybe they don't need an upgrade, but maybe there's another issue that Blackfoot can resolve for them on their circuit? I will talk with the account executive and the customer to make sure that we haven't missed the real reason that they're looking for an upgrade or a product.
And if they aren't a customer, then I go to work the same way, trying to get the information from the customer or the customer's IT vendor if they have one.
Q4: What is a common question you hear from your clients and how do you respond?
I think the common question is why do I need this? And so, you know, those are difficult questions to answer for customers. You really have to look at their business model and what they're trying to accomplish, and then you can explain why they need it. From there, if a customer has multiple security breaches, then we're going to look at a Managed Firewall for them. If there isn’t a firewall in place, well, why do I need this? I need this to protect my company, my business, my clients, and my customer information. So again, it’s going back to assessing the needs of the business – that’s how you answer, why do I need this?
Q5: What’s the best part of your job?
I think working with a wide variety of people. I'm a people person! Prior to being a Sales Engineer, I've been an IT Consultant for a number of years in Montana and Missoula, particularly. Working with people is just vital to me, whether they're customers or colleagues.
Q6: How do you keep current on technology and industry trends?
So that is hard in technology because there is a lot. I focus on my current job, and I look two or three years in the future. You know, when we design a solution for a customer, we don't want that to be a one-year solution. We need that to be a solution that the customer continues to move forward with, but we don't necessarily know where technology's going to be two years from now.
I read online articles. I go to trainings. I do webinars. And working with my colleagues, who do other jobs other than what I do is a huge way of keeping up on industry trends because I work with some amazing and knowledgeable colleagues, so I take advantage of that when I can.
Q7: In your opinion, what is unique to Blackfoot’s approach?
I think it's our commitment to our owners, our customers, and communities. It's not just a tagline, you know, Blackfoot does give back to communities. We support our customers in times of need and we're financially responsible to our owners. I think that’s what is truly unique about Blackfoot's approach and why we've continued to succeed these many years.
Q8: What’s the most important advice that you would give to a business?
I would say I think that they should be mindful of the vendors that they work with and make sure that those vendors have your company's best interests at heart. You are relying on them to help you take your business forward, so you need to be comfortable that the company has your back if you need it.
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Earl Akers, Director of Information Services, Western Montana Mental Health Center
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Dan Lee, IT Support Specialist, JCCS
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