The software requirement is often what drives infrastructure sales and the ability to provide customers with total business offerings that include software remains critical to channel survival. But I believe that business partners still need to change how they think and operate if they are to grow software and services sales.
Business partners have a great opportunity to carve out a niche in the complex and often confusing technology landscape of cloud, including software and converged infrastructures. However, this means moving away from simply fulfilling requests for software licences and working with distribution on a purely transactional basis.
It is time to look at the bigger picture. Why is the customer deploying this software? If he or she is requesting virtualisation software, what are they doing about backup, security, monitoring and management software? Just asking the right questions and working with a distribution partner earlier in the process can reap real rewards.
Applications may need to be supplemented from additional suppliers, which may be smaller or niche. This may represent a chance to boost profits.
The software vendor's pre-sales support or the distributor's technical resources can cover any short-term gaps in skills required to make the sale. Business partners should not be afraid to grasp 'total solution' opportunities because support is available.
Customers want the best offering for their individual needs. A distributor with multiple supplier relationships can help resellers do this, also providing advice and helping customers without in-house expertise.
While it is not always possible to get every accreditation going, a distributor may be able to assist. Introducing capacity planning or monitoring products or services can pay dividends and improve your overall offering.
Stay on top of licence renewals and IT estate management. Support, renewals and refreshes obviously present additional opportunities – and often customers only realise their licence or support contract has expired when they need it most.
Keeping on top of the technology customers have already and when it is due for renewal is a tough job that can be made easier by having the right systems in place.
Don't delay. Many major software vendors are forging relationships with other vendors. So it is time for business partners to tear down their walls between hardware and software, and this can help you become a 'software defined' reseller.
Laura Bouchard is UK sales director for independent software, HP and networking and security at Avnet
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