For resellers, winning a Channel Award is a massive fillip – and a definite boost for the business. At last year’s awards, Kelway stole the show by taking the Reseller of the Year and Corporate Reseller of the Year awards, which had in the previous three years been dominated by Equanet (now owned by PC World Business). Eurodata also claimed two awards, picking up the Services Provider of the year and Integrator of the Year awards.
For both companies, winning has meant a good deal in the past year.
Abdul Terry, marketing director at Kelway, said: “It has certainly raised our profile with customers and just as importantly helped us win more new business. Naturally, it has given our teams a sense of pride since it was our first year of entering. It is great that our customers think so highly of us that we won both awards.”
That is a vital point; resellers need the support of customers and the industry to win. Strong support from end-users – who vote for the reseller awards – makes a strong impression on the judges and this is particularly important for the reseller awards. This was one of the key reasons Eurodata won its two awards last year.
Des Lekerman, managing director of Eurodata, said that it is vital to ask customers for support, but also important to remember that they will not vote for a reseller unless the firm has done a good job.
“Nobody spends money on technology services for the sake of it and you need to be able to show clear results,” he said. “For Eurodata the Channel Awards represent the ideal platform to showcase the benefits of our customised solutions. Our customers were asked to vote for us and the fact that we won both awards demonstrates their commitment to us.”
It has also had a positive spin-off throughout the year, Lekerman added. “In the past six months we have received a number of business and contract requests from existing and new customers,” he said. “We believe that the recognition of winning the Awards has had an impact on our improved sales.”
Customers definitely take notice, according to Terry. “Not only has it made a difference in terms of our customers recognising how much we have progressed, but they have repeatedly said it was well deserved,” he noted.
Winning an award also helps a VAR to set itself apart from the competition and to underline its credibility. “It has been a great opportunity to differentiate our services among our competitors because, thanks to the awards, we now can show that we have independent proof that we add value to our customers,” Lekerman said.
It is this kind of customer recognition and differentiation that is crucial to the larger players such as Kelway and Eurodata, but also vital for smaller players too. Blue Chip, winner of the SME Reseller Award last year, has become more well known in the industry and also among the end-user base as a result of its success.
Richard Cook, managing director of Blue Chip, said: “We’ve been doing some good things, but in the SME Reseller of the Year Award we also have a badge that no-one else has got and that makes us stand out.”
The award features heavily in Blue Chip’s marketing. Cook rates it alongside the firm’s Microsoft Gold Partner status and position as the official supplier to the Suzuki Moto GP Team as one of its top three recognition points.
It was also significant, he noted, that the company won against some very big and powerful competition, and high-profile previous winners.
“For us it was a recognition that we are at the top of our game,” Cook said. “We were up against national resellers and it shows that the regionally based firms can still do a good job.”
Blue Chip’s run rate at the time was about £7m so compared with the winner the previous year, PC World Business, it is small. Other short-listed SME companies last year such as Chess, Wstore and Ramsac are also larger, better known and have also claimed their fair share of awards.
Interestingly, Blue Chip has grown significantly ahead of the market rate – it will turn over about £10m this year – and Cook said that the award has played its part in helping the company to gather that momentum.
Specialist security VAR Secon won the Specialist Reseller of the Year prize for the second year in succession, a fact the firm has been able to use to its advantage, according to marketing manager Jack Orton.
“Retaining the award sends the message that we are consistently good,” he said. “It also helps staff morale. We look forward to the awards now as a team building exercise.”
Simply putting the entry together has a real value for a reseller business, said Orton. “It makes you analyse the company, where it’s come from and the improvements we have made, and where we are planning to go in the future,” he said. It can also be used as a way of getting existing customers more involved. “Having customers take part in the voting procedure really brings them closer to us, enhancing our relationship with them. In business terms this is invaluable.”
Last year there were more entries than ever from resellers and the experiences of Secon and Blue Chip in particular demonstrate that just about any one can win – and get a considerable boost to their business for their efforts.
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