Margins on many traditional products are eroding, and resellers must expand their portfolios across value-added, contracted and managed services, which offer higher margins and meet various modern business needs.
We are increasingly working with many of our resellers to provide hosted and managed IT services for their end customers in the small, medium and even corporate segments.
In this context, partnership is more important than ever. We are finding that resellers want vendor reassurance that they are open to proper, long-term partnerships with closer and collaborative working practices.
Vendors need to provide resellers with innovative marketing programmes that help the two companies collaborate on, for example, defining processes for prospect registration and joint bids.
Transparency around active sales opportunities can increase trust and qualified prospects. This maximises time and effort and ensures we all get a measurable return on investment.
Joint marketing development funds and vendor-driven sales leads help partners use marketing tools such as "campaigns in a box" and co-branding opportunities.
Also, we believe resellers should look for vendors and suppliers with a defined product roadmap and team up to research new offerings – especially if there are potential opportunities to expand into higher margin offerings and managed services.
There is a definite opportunity in helping businesses cut their operating costs while improving their efficiency and processes. The most successful resellers will be those that integrate technologies that help businesses achieve these things.
Also, being easy to do business with is important. Resellers need to ensure their own business processes are as simple and efficient as possible for customers and prospects alike, and that they work with vendors that have the same philosophy and offer, for example, well-designed online portals and other tools.
Winning new customers takes resources, so another priority will be increasing share of wallet in established customer accounts. This requires an in-depth understanding of customers’ businesses, from their tactical business drivers to their company goals and overall organisational strategy.
ICT budgets are squeezed at the momen, so IT departments are getting quotes from multiple vendors. This means that account management will be a real differentiator.
We want to succeed with our partners, particularly within the SME market.
Andy Horn is head of SME business at Colt
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