As businesses across the UK tighten their belts and the economy continues to look unstable, resellers need to evolve.
Investment in IT is under a microscope and resellers must use this opportunity to significantly enhance their sales portfolio by helping customers unlock the potential of new technologies and services which are in their best interests, positioning themselves as a trusted advisor.
Between the point of sale partners and the high level consultancies, there is room for this new form of reseller – the trusted advisor.
Resellers have strong partnerships with software and hardware vendors and can use their knowledge to work through the baffling selection of products available in order to recommend a package which would best suit the customer.
Loyal customers are often interested in exploring the value-added offerings from a reliable supplier. Resellers need not look to become fully fledged consultancies, but can instead position themselves as providers of insight and advice around a customer’s final product selection keeping existing customers close and attracting new ones.
With the integration of business strategists into the IT buying decision, the procurement balance has shifted with the channel increasingly facing demand for solutions which impact on the bottom line rather than solve an IT problem.
In a customer-centric world, businesses are increasingly trying to understand their end-users as individuals who need personalised, relevant services and products. As a result, tools which deliver business intelligence and analytics are in demand.
Understanding how organisations are changing their approach gives resellers a prime opportunity to design their sales strategy for maximum success. Resellers can maximise these partnerships by developing bundled product offerings which address specific business needs.
This approach provides greater value to the customer at the initial sale and opens subsequent revenue generating opportunities through implementation and familiarisation training, ongoing support and maintenance, and IT helpdesk services.
There are three possible approaches which resellers can take:
• Software as a service (SaaS): resellers take white-label hosted services and personalise them to the look and feel of the customers, including integrating relevant applications and management tools. SaaS is currently an untapped source of revenue for the reseller community
• Software plus services: resellers take advantage of new software releases to offer a value-added package around integration, trouble-shooting, upgrades, maintenance and ongoing support. By providing these must-have services, the reseller becomes an essential supplier and trusted partner which can open up further opportunities in the future.
• A combination of both: a flexible model based on a combination of both approaches offers additional tailoring possibilities for the customer and may be more comfortable for the channel partner from a business strategy perspective.
Bundling software, services and hardware as bespoke solutions for UK businesses is a fresh prospect for the channel to reinvigorate its strategy to deliver greater value to its customers with an eye to increasing margins.
The channel must also adapt its own sales and support approach to mirror the strategic and tactical approach of each of its customers.
Despite resellers’ fears that new technologies undermine their business model, the opportunity for the channel has never been greater.
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