Todd Laff’s Professional Overview
and Career Accomplishments
Hewlett Packard (2011 – Present)
Regional Sales Manager & Partner Business Manager Central Region
In 2011, I joined Hewlett Packard in Enterprise Security Products (ESP) division. The division is made up of leading Enterprise Network IT security products that HP acquired over the last 3 – 4 years. The products of ESP are Tipping Point, Fortify and ArcSight. This division was created to expand HP’s future growth given that the laptop and printer revenue that previously drove most of HP’s revenue has been steadily slowing down. The future of the company is riding on the Software and ESP division as well as two other divisions. HP is half way through its time line for the five-year plan to turn the company around.
My first position at HP ESP was to expand the ArcSight product line into the small and medium enterprise market (SMB). HP historically has not given attention to marketing this product line to the SMB market and new focus was needed in this marketplace in order to create growth.
Due to my knowledge, experience and well-established relationships, I was offered the position. Upon offering me the position, the director of HP ESP division remarked that I was the man for the job namely, as this was “one of the toughest sales manager positions at ArcSight.”
The difficulty of the position was from the lack of marketing focus and experience that Hewlett Packard had previously given to the ESP product line. In the first six months, I was able to create a new business pipeline that resulted not only in millions of dollars of revenue, but also demonstrated the region’s first growth in years.
In late summer of 2012, three directors of the ESP channel sales division came to me and asked if I would take over the Central Region (twelve states) and manage the territory for all of the ESP product lines, specifically charging me with the task of stopping the severe decline in channel sales that the division was experiencing year after year. For the last three years, the Central Region has held the ESP channel division’s sales revenue growth back due to very limited partnerships and very limited sales coming from resellers and partners in the central region. I was asked my upper management if I would be interested in taking the Partner Business Manager (PBM) position to manage and rebuild the territory.
Once I discussed my interest in making the move, the VP of Worldwide Distribution for HP offered me the position within forty-eight hours. This is unheard of at HP where it commonly takes a month or more to finalize such an offer and transition. I was told that I was given the position overnight, given management’s opinion that I was one of the few, if not the only employee that had the channel experience and HP ESP product training to turn the region around.
Since the region’s revenue has fallen year after year, my first move was threefold. First, I sought to understand the problems and concerns that contributed to the lost revenue. Second, I needed to resolve the issues at hand. Finally, I had to get the few partners we had at that moment back on track.
I was presented not only with the challenge of rebuilding the territory of my new position, the VP of my previous position at HP needed me to continue working in my ArcSight Sales Manager role simultaneously to close opportunities I’d had at the time of the transition. By leaving ArcSight or giving the opportunity to someone else, it would have endangered or lost sales. So during a very difficult time in my personal life, I was expected to maintain fulltime responsibilities for both positions through HP’s fiscal year’s end.
I’ve been in the Central Region PBM position for less than a year and in that time; revenue has doubled from previous years and is on mark to close the year 300% to 400% over the previous year. Moreover, I have rebuilt the twelve state region (the largest territory in the Americas) and my planned goal is to continue the growth over the next fiscal year another +300%.
My direct supervisor, Vice President of Channels for Americas’ has made it clear that the turn around of the territory would not have occurred without me in the position. Over the last three months, I have had competitors trying to recruit me on a weekly, if not daily basis, to leave HP. I’ve developed a reputation and am now known for turning poor performing sales territories around. Currently, I have no intention to leave.
Fast forward to the present. In September of 2013, the HP ESP Division released a new product line, Next Generation Firewalls. Due to six years of working experience in the enterprise security firewall market, I was asked to be part of the advisory board for the new product release. It has been made clear that I am on this advisory board, as I was one of the few qualified employees in the division to make this new product offering successful and properly enterprise market positioned. Currently, I am the only sale’s manager involved in the Americas presenting to the HP distribution channel for the new product line.
In late September, I was called out by the Vice President of Worldwide Channels (my supervisor’s boss) as an important and key part of the turn around of the HP ESP division’s growth and strength.
Key successes at Hewlett Packard:
- Creating a multi-million dollar pipeline of new enterprise customers in the first five months of obtaining position.
- Utilized established relationships in channel to create channel awareness in central region to obtain partnerships to expand sales and create an undeveloped reseller lead generation for all HP ESP products.
- In first three quarters as the Central Region Partner Business Manager, I stopped the historical decline of channel sales in the region and doubled previous year revenue with expected goal of closing 300 – 400% over previous years sales in the region.
Praise from immediate supervisors about the work and results of Todd Laff (available upon request)
- “Top three forecasted PBM this quarter.” (highlighted by the VP of HP Worldwide Channels, September 14, 2013
- “Great use of distribution investment to go after new business and ramp up new partners…nice work Todd!” (HP Core investment and Partner IPR, September 13, 2013)
- “Todd, awesome improvement from where we were in Q2.” (September 3, 2013)
- “Todd – nice work and this is all you, I know. If you didn’t fix GE (General Electric) and the relationship, this probably wouldn’t have come our way. Good to see the Midwest rebooting!” (August 20, 2013)
Nokia & Check Point Enterprise Solutions (2006-2011)
Senior Named Sales Account Manager
In 2006, I joined Nokia Enterprise Solutions (ES) as the Illinois and Wisconsin Sales Manager. Nokia had been in the enterprise network security industry since 1998 and was the leading supplier of firewall hardware to fortune 100 companies.
The territory needed assistance due to the lack of new sales and the fact that any revenue coming in was coming from previous customers. I was specifically hired to jump start the territory and create a re-branding of the Nokia security products in the territory with the release of new network security products from Nokia ES.
In 2007, due to revenue growth slowing down in the ES division, a significant number of personnel at Nokia were released. Those that the company felt could continue to turn the company around were asked to stay. I was one of the employees asked to stay with Nokia ES and given the responsibility to take on more territory by management. I reported directly to the Vice President Of Sales for the West. Later that year, Nokia purchased the Intellisync product line, which was rolled into the Enterprise Division.
Besides having continued revenue growth success with the network security firewall product solutions, I was the only Sale’s Manager in North America to achieve and surpass quota goals with Nokia Intellisync enterprise mobility products in 2008.
In 2008, I was asked by the Vice President of Sales to continue my current role and also take over Channel Sales role due to my established relationships and customer satisfaction reports being so high. Due to my turn around of sales in the region, the company felt the falling channel sales and lack of new partners coming on board could be turned around since I was growing our end user sales. The saying in the division was “Todd Laff is the quintessential mop and bucket…if there is a serious mess or concern, he can clean it up and turn it around”.
In late 2009, Nokia decided it wanted to focus on their mobility business and, thus, sold off their network security business to Check Point Software Technologies, the leading firewall provider in the industry and one of Israel’s largest companies. Most Nokia employees were not kept on after the Check Point acquisition. But, again, I was asked to continue my position with Check Point as the Senior Named Account Manager for the region. I had been winning sales and relationships away from Check Point while I was at Nokia and now Checkpoint needed me to win these relationships back for them.
From late spring 2009 to mid 2011, I worked at Check Point and was one of only two people in the region to obtain and surpass sales quota goals every year I was there. I was responsible for all activities for named large enterprise accounts.
I sold various network security solutions that included network firewalls, IPS, DLP, Application Control, Mobility Solutions and other Check Point offerings.
Key successes at Nokia & Check Point:
- Achieved and surpassed quota every year. 118% in 2009 and 130% in 2010.
- Consistently won large dollar/volume opportunities against well-known competitors based on experience and ability to deliver quality service and support, as the client or partner demanded.
- Increased channel sales presence with top resellers and distribution partners in the territory due to strong and respected relationships.
- Sold enterprise network security hardware and software into Fortune 100 companies working at the executive level, director and IT manager levels.
- Turned multi-state region around in first year in position, surpassing goals after numerous years of loss of revenue before I was with company. Increased sales’ growth within eight months after obtaining territory ending a four-year slide at Nokia.
- Responsible for developing channel partner relationships to enhance, educate and sell Check Point and Nokia’s solution with Value Added Resellers throughout the Central Region.
- Only Account Manager in North America to achieve quota goals with Nokia Intellisync enterprise mobility products in 2008.
Praise from immediate supervisors about the work and results of Todd Laff (available upon request)
P. Schwartz, Regional VP and direct supervisor at Nokia ES (at time of recommendation).
I was fortunate to have Todd work for me from 2007 to 2009, before Check Point purchased our Network Security Division from Nokia. Todd was hired to turn around the Central Region business, and within 1 year he had established remarkable customer relationships, and had the business back on track. There is no bigger customer advocate than Todd, and his commitment to customer satisfaction is unmatched. Todd is a result’s driven sales professional, who I look forward to having the opportunity to work with again, in the future.
O. Menoyo, Original Supervisor and hired me at Nokia ES (at time of recommendation).
I had the opportunity to bring Todd Laff on board to tackle a challenging territory while I was at Nokia Enterprise Solutions. He amply exceeded my expectations not only with quota performance results, but also with his mastery in winning new accounts as well as anchoring long-term business relationships with large existing enterprise and channel partner customers. Todd also distinguished himself as a strong team leader gaining respect from his engineer, channel manager, and inside sales support people. He is a true asset to any sales organization and any customer that engages him as a business partner.
S. Mleziva, Channel Partner with Nokia, Check Point and HP
“I’ve partnered with Todd on enterprise accounts over the last two years and write this brief recommendation with high accolades. Todd takes great care in listening and acting on the customer’s needs. He has a passion for helping clients solve their security-related problems and presents solutions in the best interests of his customers and Check Point. Combine this with a fantastic attitude and sense of humor and you have a winner in my book.”
D. Lipowsky- Lead Sales Engineering Manager at Nokia and Check PointTechnologies (at time of recommendation).
“Having worked with Todd for several years I can say that few can match his energy, his willingness to go beyond the call to satisfy a customer, and his ability to build relationships. These relationships have allowed him to become a strong advocate for his customers, which not only helps keep these relationships strong, but also allows him to build the trust that many lack in a sales role.”
J. Eschweiler- Regional Director of Intellisync at Nokia (at time of recommendation)
“Todd has a “never take no for an answer” attitude and is able to find opportunities with customers where previous salespeople could not. Given his background with channels, he is equally adept at working with resellers and managing partner activity to maximize his territory performance. I would highly recommend him as part of any sales team and welcome the chance to work along side him again.”
D. Nowka – Account Manager at Nexum, Inc. (worked with at Nokia and Check Point)
“Todd just delivers. Having worked with Todd for a number of years, he is extremely hard working, always available and responsive, and in his natural consultative manner, is driven by customer satisfaction and customer problem solving. I have been fortunate to work with him on numerous opportunities to help solve client challenges and help clients achieve measurable results.”
D. Pom – IT Director for one of the largest financial companies (at time of recommendation)
“Todd is all about customer service and making sure his client’s gets what they need. As an example, Todd was able to track down some replacement hardware for us on a Sunday evening, and personally drove it up to one of our data centers in Wisconsin from Chicago. He also assisted my engineers with swapping out the gear. This extra effort was a huge lifesaver, since the normal replacement process would have taken over 24 hours due to a lack of gear at our regional parts depot.”
S. Hepner- Senior Security Technical Analyst for well know leading retailer
“For many years, Todd was our sales representative first with Nokia and later with Checkpoint. During that entire time, he was around when needed but not pushy, always helpful, friendly even during the stressful times, would go the extra mile when needed and can adapt to the changing needs of an often-demanding customer.”
Bluetree Wireless Data, Inc. (2003 – 2005)
Regional Sales Director
In 2003, I joined the Canadian based company Bluetree Wireless Data, Inc. I was hired as the Regional Sales Director for the Central United States. My experience in wireless mobility and network security was needed to position their unknown product line into Fortune 500 companies. In developing relationships with wireless carriers AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and many second tier carriers, I was able to expand sales to a number of new enterprise clients, new distributors and partners to promote sales through the channel along with carriers to brand the company into a competitive solution.
In 2004, I worked with numerous municipalities to implement wireless communication for newly installed parking meter and parking station payment systems. This standard is currently being used throughout the world, including the City of Chicago. In 2005, I worked with Sprint who was developing a cost effective way to deliver cellular service to subway systems. After I left Bluetree Wireless, the work I started was implemented in the subway system for the Chicago Transit Authority. http://www.progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/Sprint-to-provide-wireless-communications-service-in-CTA-subway–25050
Key successes at Bluetree Wireless Data Inc.:
- Created and grew partner relationships with leading first and second tier wireless carriers to expand sales to enterprise clients, as well as developing new resellers and VAR’s and promoting sales to brand company.
- Trained channel carrier sales and engineering teams throughout territory on Bluetree Wireless Data products and assisted large carrier sales teams to present and close business with end-users.
- Engineered wireless network solutions for clients’ data delivery via cellular and fixed wireless solutions in the energy, government and other business verticals.
Praise about the work and results of Todd Laff at Bluetree Wireless (available upon request)
R. Bruning, Sales Director at Apple Inc.
“I’ve known Todd professionally and have worked with him directly on a number of sales opportunities. Todd has a great skill set for developing new business and following through until closure. As a sales director, he is result driven, honest and professional, with a great passion for success. It’s a pleasure to work with a professional like Todd.”
Z. Nadar, Director of Engineering at Bluetree Wireless Data, Inc. at time of recommendation.
“Todd and I worked very closely together on several projects. I personally appreciate his personality, attitude and professionalism; it made a positive impact on our relationships with customers and wireless carriers.”
Business One, Inc. (1997 – 2002)
Partner and Director of Sales
I started Business One from the ground up with a colleague who also worked in the Information Technology business. We developed the company as a Value Added Reseller (VAR) that sold McAfee Anti-Virus software to most enterprise verticals worldwide. In the first three years, Business One grew from $0 to over $10,000,000 in annual sales revenue and became a top ten reseller for McAfee Software / Network Associates.
Starting the company with very little financial support, I was able to negotiate with Northern Trust Bank and Deutsche Financial to back Business One financially. This offered my partner and I the opportunity to grow the company. This arrangement to have large financial institutions back a small company was extremely rare. We built Business One on the primary principle of taking care of our employees, with the strongly held belief that they were the key to our company’s success. I ensured that all employees had better than average salaries and commissions, along with health and life insurance, which were not commonplace for a start-up company to offer to its’ sales and support staff.
As the company continued to grow, McAfee requested that Business One assist them in growing revenue by stuffing the channel for them at the end of a fiscal year end. The intention of this was to make their revenue numbers look stronger than they actually were for financial reporting and, in turn, raise their stock price. While the McAfee business would have been very profitable to Business One, we refused to participate in their proposal based on the principle that this request was professionally unethical and personally against my morals, thus, I refused to participate in this practice. After our refusal to participate in these improper actions, McAfee stopped doing business with our company and we closed Business One and sold off the customer list to another network security partner. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117882466341398931.html
Key successes at Business One Inc.:
- Expanded company sales year after year to close $7 million in net sales in 2000 and was on target of $10 million in net sales when company was sold.
- Developed sales, marketing and support structure for sales of anti-virus, security software and network analyzers to Fortune 1000, mid-sized companies, financial, education, as well as state, local and federal government.
- McAfee’s top reseller two years in a row.
TSR Wireless Corporation (1994 – 1997)
Territory Sales & Channel Manager
At the time I was hired to work at TSR Wireless Corp, cellular phones were not as popular as they are today. Paging devices outnumbered wireless phones, significantly. Paging was the cost-effective leader and the state of the art mode of business communication. In 1994, TSR was the twelfth largest paging communications company in North America. At the time, they decided to move west and grow in the Midwest and Western regions. Chicago was one of the first markets they expanded to.
I was hired as one of the first employees in the Midwest for TSR Wireless. I was responsible for developing and implementing a sales plan that could create sales in the region and competitively go after competitive vendors who offered similar service. The plan was to create this initiative from the ground up. While it was not easy, by 1996, TSR Wireless was in the top three paging companies in the greater Chicago region. By the end of 1996, TSR had grown to be the fifth largest paging carrier in North America.
The growth of regional and national sales was strongly due to my efforts in the Midwest Region. I was the top sales account manger in the corporation for over two years and in 1997, I was offered the Regional Sales Manager position for the Midwest-Central region, but I turned it down as I decided to start my own business, Business One Inc.
Key success at TSR Wireless Corporation:
- Grew sales revenue over 200% month after month to become the top account manager in the corporation.
- Created and built (from the ground up) strategic business alliances with vendors, wireless resellers and channel partners in the Midwest territory.
- Developed marketing and pricing programs in highly competitive marketplace to create and expand new distribution channel to raise TSR’s sales and claim their position as the fifth largest paging carrier in North America.
- Top sales representative in company from 1995 to 1997.
H. Wilson Company (1992 – 1994)
Sales and Marketing Manager
After leaving Films Incorporated in 1992, I took the position of Sales and Marketing Manager at H. Wilson Company. H. Wilson is an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of furniture for the Consumer Electronics industry. I was specifically hired to turn around the company, as sales revenue was flat from lack of sales growth as well as distributors dropping the H. Wilson product lines.
While being much younger than those I managed, I evaluated and reorganized the structure of the sales and marketing departments. Overall, top management had weakened the staff’s morale and the distributors were being poorly communicated with. I immediately put in place a sales and marketing plan to empower the long-term employees to take ownership for our growth and managed using the principles of Quality Fundamentals. I changed the national field sales team to focus on Consumer Electronic resellers instead of just the end users. By changing the sales focus to be on the reseller instead of just the end users, the company grew revenue 25% while growing gross profit to a very respectable 42% by the end of my first full year of employment. This was the first measurable profit growth the company had seen in seven years.
Key successes at H. Wilson Company:
- Successfully developed and implemented the corporation’s first profit in over seven years.
- Reformed the sales channel and distribution at H. Wilson; expanding the indirect sales channel to increase distribution throughout the United States.
- Responsible for sales forecasting, P&L and budgeting of sales and marketing departments.
Films Incorporated (1988 – 1992)
Senior Territory Sales Manager
Films Incorporated was my first corporate job after received my Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Illinois. My first position at Films Inc. was as the Account Manager. Three years later, I was promoted to Senior Territory Sales Manager.
For five years, I negotiated all sales, pricing, licensing and distribution for the film studios; Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Miramax and five other motion picture studios to over 300 clients in the non-theatrical market. When I started selling at Films Incorporated, I represented five states. By 1990, I represented fourteen states, which was the largest territory ever to be represented by one sales account manager, including after I left Films Inc.
Overall, this is where most of my training in sales negotiations, pricing and marketing plans started. It was here that I developed my overarching approach to sales success, namely, that you treat your customers the way you want to be treated and that in relationship the intent is to be honest and respectful.
During my tenure at Films Inc., I received a Deming Quality Award from my company for my high standard of customer sales and service.