As the threat of a double-dip recession never quite seems to go away and budget cuts directly affect IT departments, it has never been more important to have an efficient and flexible IT system in place.
End users will continuously be seeking cost-effective offerings that will do more for less. This need for efficient IT is the ideal way for resellers to create ongoing relationships with customers. End users must be assured they are being offered the right IT architecture, while the reseller can showcase new products and provide customer service when necessary.
Technology is moving so fast that deployments like virtualisation and cloud computing are now capable of altering entire IT infrastructures. So the reseller needs to find a way to serve end users that will keep them updated on changing products and services relevant to them, as the technology is evolving continuously.
Gone are the days when the reseller would sell a product and that would be the end of the transaction. Resellers now have the opportunity to create extended relationships with end users by providing continuous support.
And as competition between resellers grows, their service and responsibility must also develop along with the number of products they are able to offer.
This will work in favour of both parties. First, the end user will be receiving continuous assistance from the reseller for the life of their IT infrastructure, rather than a one-off product installment.
This will ensure they are being introduced regularly to any new products or updates that appear, and the IT system they have implemented will be up-to-date and as efficient as possible.
Second, resellers will be generating a steady flow of business with regular customers. This opportunity for resellers to provide professional and support services will further showcase the importance of the reseller to both customer and vendor. The end result will be an improved reputation within the channel, which in turn will lead to new customers and attention from vendors.
If a reseller wants to succeed, this type of relationship needs to be established. If not, customers will be left to do the research themselves, and will eventually take their business elsewhere.
If contact is consistent, neither the reseller nor the end user will be left in the dark. The reseller will know what its customers require, and the end user will be given expert advice and offered the latest products and services from vendors.
Pete Rawden is partner sales director for UK and Ireland at NetApp
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