Authority recently talked with Shane Kilfoil, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Tripp Lite. We covered his career path, Tripp Lite’s history of award-winning connectivity solutions, and their 35-year partnership with Tech Data. Read more for Shane’s insights.
Hi Shane. Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us what brought you to technology.
Thanks for having me! I began my career as an engineer in marine electronics, and got into technology through a friend. Throughout my work in the field, I’ve been able to leverage my experiences in engineering and working around the globe – in the U.K., South Africa and the U.S. Because the landscape of technology keeps changing, I’m still busy learning and growing. It’s that ever-evolving change that keeps me in technology.
Your role at Tripp Lite sounds compelling. Take us through your day-day.
It’s never dull! Certain aspects of my job are very structured. We conduct business in over 90 countries, supporting over 200 distributors. My job is to help set strategy and direction, and remove any hurdles that would prevent my team from being successful. My team is strong. They allow me to focus on the big things – from partner engagement to new geographic extensions.
Why do you think the partnership between Tech Data and Tripp Lite is a success?
Tech Data is a long-standing, important partner to Tripp Lite, in both the U.S. and abroad. We recognize that success for us would not be possible without support – from sales all the way to the executive level. At heart, we’re a customer-centric organization.
Our 35-year relationship with Tech Data has taught us a lot over the decades. In everything we do, we aim to enhance support. Our National Account Managers (NAMs) pride themselves on customer intimacy. They understand the various programs we offer. They see shifts in the market and align to them. As end markets evolve, our partnership with Tech Data helps us adapt and stay relevant.
Let’s discuss the areas where Tripp Lite specializes, specifically, in products that power and connect computers, networking equipment and electronic devices.
There’s a reason our tagline is “Powering and Connecting Your World.” We’ve been bringing innovative solutions to the market for almost 100 years. In 1922, we launched with a precision-focused automobile headlight. Over the decades, we’ve expanded our offering by enthusiastically responding to the market’s changing needs.
Today, our specialty is in two distinct segments: power solutions and connectivity devices. Our goal is to serve a variety of business segments with solutions that provide 360-degree support, from the home to the data center. Over the last decade, we’ve also seen an opportunity to get into the fragmented and fast-growing connectivity space. This is an exciting segment, and one that we’re actively growing.
How does Tripp Lite adjust to a transforming power industry, so that you provide ongoing benefit across the channel?
There are two parts to the story. First, we’re a customer-centric organization. We stay laser-focused on our partners and customers, meeting their wants and needs. We added 600-plus new products last year, and have seen tremendous SKU proliferation as a result. Our customers told us that they want customization services. Now, we customize products relatively quickly and at a low volume.
Second, we’ve restructured the organization to provide support along different tiers. We’ve expanded our sales and marketing presence at different levels – we’ve grown field sales, enhanced our VAR and distribution teams, and aligned support with our back office. In turn, we’ve reconfigured our reporting structures, so teams can respond to change and stay nimble. By flattening the organization, we can make better decisions faster.
Tripp Lite is widely recognized in the industry – from your 5-Star Rating in the 2020 CRNÒ Partner Program Guide to “Best of Class” by NBC’s Shop TODAY for your surge protectors. What accounts for your achievements?
As an organization, we take great pride in our awards. We believe they reflect our commitment to improving our programs. We take feedback and adapt to it, ensuring that our programs are relevant to our partners.
Our product management team is product obsessed! They constantly challenge our organization, end-users and partner community to share feedback. They are tasked with bringing our next-gen products to market, managing our portfolio of 4,500 different products (per year) and keeping a constant focus on product innovation. Across the channel, we know that our reseller and distribution partners have many options. We hope that these awards give them another reason to partner with Tripp Lite!
About the Author
Dena Koklanaris joined Tech Data in 2018 and leads the company’s in-house team of copywriters and content strategists. She’s proud to hone her craft for one of Fortune Magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies.” When she’s not writing, you can find her on the beach or riding her bike.