One year after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, many small and medium-sized businesses still have problems with cashflow, credit and slow sales cycles despite a recent surge on the FTSE.
Larger businesses and the public sector will to some degree wait until after the election before planning their spend. Yet they will also be considering potential areas for growth and investment.
Vendors are extending their commitment to the channel while resellers are adopting new sales tactics. Resellers need partners that commit funds for product training, sales and marketing tools.
In software and services, we are seeing wider use of finance packages that were once confined to hardware products. Cash-back offers, web and email marketing tools can lubricate demand generation.
Government grants are also available for areas such as staff training. Presenting such options to end users could close deals.
Resellers need to reassess the value of their core products. In unified communications, some resellers focus on bits and bytes when ‘soft’ business benefits could change customer conversations.
Specific application benefits such as single number or mobile calling can seal deals, as can reduced WAN-level telephony costs.
Although public sector spend is likely to be cut back after the election, many local authorities and housing associations are reorganising services behind integrated customer service platforms.
They need common IT infrastructures and applications to meet this need. Some public sector users have made technology investments but have not rolled them out to staff.
Opportunities also exist in a recovering private sector, simply because service companies comprise 75 per cent of the UK economy. Harnessing new technologies could help architects, marketing agencies and software developers serve their customers better.
The recession lingers, but open, trusted partnerships, plus a fresh approach to old problems, could generate new opportunities for resellers to achieve the goal of mutual growth and success.
Leon Mangan is sales director for indirect channels at Siemens Enterprise Communications in the UK and Ireland
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