Don’t be fooled by their size: mid-market companies have IT needs that are just as sophisticated as enterprises. However, there are some differences. They covet products that are simple to install, use and maintain. What’s more, they will usually turn to the channel to help them to achieve all three.
With that in mind, vendors are rushing to deliver products that do the right thing by their mid-market customers and partners. The mid-market has become a fiercely competitive place to do business. With so many vendors interested in the prospect of doing business in this area, the environment for sales teams is more involved – and more intense – than ever before. But it is not all doom and gloom for resellers.
One method of achieving success in driving sales through resellers is to implement highly focused channel programmes, based on vertical markets – perhaps health, education or government – or concentrating on a specific geography. Then it is possible to align those partners or resellers that may specialise in these particular segments. Nothing is more compelling than historical proof of a string of previous successes in resolving a company’s specific problem, in similar circumstances, for a similar organisation. Evidently, case studies and references have a significant role to play here.
Mid-market companies have relatively small numbers of IT personnel who have multiple roles, covering IT support, networking, security and application support. This is a sharp contrast to the dedicated units that larger organisations may have available to depend on.
The total cost of ownership, likely return on investment and service quality are key factors for mid-market companies when evaluating and selecting resellers – and vendors. If a reseller is able to demonstrate these capabilities, their chances of building and maintaining success in the mid-market will be strengthened greatly.
The fact that voice over IP is sending ancient PBX phone systems to the land of the dinosaurs is well documented. But this observation does not just apply to the enterprise level. As more medium-sized businesses look to implement the technology, the demand for products that fit more neatly into this space should put chassis-based products out of the running. The mid-market should find the stackable switch, with the benefits of in-built power over Ethernet capabilities, to be infinitely more appealing. These are the opportunities that resellers should be looking out for.
The UK’s medium-sized enterprises are moving surprisingly rapidly to fully converged voice and data networks. According to research from BT, 37 per cent of such enterprises have migrated to fully converged voice and data networks. And almost two-thirds of them made this switch in the past 12 months. At the same time, one-quarter of those that have yet to migrate stated that they intend to do so in the next two years.
In terms of payback, half of these adopters reported significantly reduced infrastructure costs, 52 per cent confirmed they have seen productivity increases, while 39 per cent recor-ded improved organisational agility. These figures alone demonstrate why so many are keen to target these companies with their products and services, and stake their claim for a slice of the pie.
Medium-sized organisations are in a position to make those all-important purchasing decisions rapidly. Fewer individuals are involved in the decision-making process, so they can reach their final conclusions without the need for multiple meetings. When resellers have a strong business case and their foot is in the door, there should be no turning back.
Dean Jones is UK channel manager at Enterasys Networks.
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