Lee Witkop will manage sales for new Power Platform & CRM offering
Boyer & Associates is pleased to announce Lee Witkop as vice president of our new Power Platform and CRM offering. Witkop has five years of military experience and 10 years of CRM software consulting and sales experience.
Moving from a career as a military intelligence officer to a career in software sales might sound like a stretch, but for Witkop, the transition flowed naturally. Asking the right questions to elicit information regarding a business problem isn’t so different from attempting to get information from a detainee, according to Witkop.
“It’s being able to ask questions that get to the root of the problem, not necessarily what people perceive is the root of the problem,” he said.
Witkop deployed to Iraq in 2007, serving as an Arabic-speaking interrogator for the Army. He received a Bronze Star for his work successfully managing an interrogation facility and was honorably discharged after five years.
After he returned home, the Duluth native contracted for the U.S. military as an interrogations instructor while finishing up his bachelor’s degree in management information systems. Since his last few classes had focused on business analytics and data, he decided that was a good place to start and applied for a job at Meritide.
“They asked, ‘Do you know what CRM is?’ I said, ‘Nope.’ They said, ‘Well, you’re gonna learn,’” Witkop said.
He wasted no time in learning the system and quickly discovered he loved consulting. After six months at Meritide, he moved to Minneapolis-based CRM provider PowerObjects, where he worked in various roles for the next nine years. He spent most of that time in sales and technical sales roles, including three years selling CRM software in Seattle. He was a sales director overseeing a team of 10 by the time he left.
If he were not in the CRM world, Witkop said he would likely still be in the software business. He enjoys working with people to get to the root of a problem and help them come up with a strategic solution to fix that problem.
“It’s always been an interest of mine,” he said.
When global corporation HCL Technologies acquired PowerObjects in 2015, Witkop found himself working on bigger and bigger projects. As the projects grew, he started to feel a disconnect. Though he played a role in the start of large software implementations for well-known enterprise companies, he wasn’t getting the chance to see the end result in a timely manner.
“The best part is seeing the impact after a project is delivered. That is the biggest difference with the enterprise versus the smaller and midmarket is you never get to see the end of it,” he said.
Contemplating his future career, Witkop determined it was time to move away from enterprise companies. He wanted to get back into the mid-market arena, where he could see the result of his efforts.
“The projects are smaller and they get done more quickly so you can actually get to something that is positive for the people you’re working with. It impacts them more,” he said.
The partnership with Boyer & Associates seemed a perfect fit. His new job brings him back into the midmarket arena and shifts him away from sales-only work to a more strategical position as vice president of the ERP reseller’s new Power Platform/CRM practice.
Witkop has known the Boyer family since his first days at PowerObjects — His first job there was to train with and replace Jack Boyer’s nephew, who was moving to a new position within the company.
A focus on the Power Platform also intrigued Witkop because he saw a lot of opportunity for companies to make small changes that would have big results.
Witkop said that with the Power Platform tools, “You can start smaller and see impact more quickly.”
Witkop said the industry has shifted from collecting data — a main component of CRM software — to having the data tell stories that guide an organization.
“It’s shifted to wanting the system to tell me what the next best action is,” he said. “I have a ton of data. Now have the data tell me what to do, what decisions to make or at least inform the decision I am making.”
Microsoft advances in AI and ML technology coupled with seamless automation has made it easier than ever to not only collect data but to get those data points talking together in a way that businesses can use the data to inform their future decisions.
He said this shift in the industry focus is a result of improved technology. In the industry we often talk about people, process and technology and until recently, the latter generally took front stage. “Now technology is finally flexible enough that people and process can come first, and technology can bend to fit the people and processes,” he said.
Witkop and his wife Karen live in Victoria, Minn. with their two children, 8-year-old Hannah and 4-year-old Max.
When he’s not at the office, Witkop enjoys mountain biking along the trails near his home. This summer he bought a fat bike to try winter cycling. He also enjoys playing video games and recently introduced his son to the joys of Mario.