"The vendors we pick vary from emerging, disruptive and under-represented - overall they need a certain amount of TLC from us. Being specialist, you can focus on that and how to deliver it."
Bond said working with a lesser-known brand is an opportunity in itself: "If you are a reseller competing against another reseller who is already the incumbent and you carry the same vendors, then you are just competing on price. However, if you go in with a new technology and you are able to articulate its worth, then you are adding value.
"Ultimately we are in an industry where technology drives what we all sell. That might involve the larger vendors buying each other, but the real lifeblood is new emerging technology. There is no reason to think that is ever going to stop.
"It needs specialist distributors to take those emerging technologies out to market for that process to continue."
Sam Routledge, CTO of Softcat, said the main aspect the reseller looks for from specialist distributors is introductions to, and support around, new and frequently disruptive technologies.
"We are approached by hundreds of different vendors and it is really difficult to make a market for a brand new vendor as a reseller. This is because you have to train people and develop the market and to do that ahead of success is really difficult," he said.
"However, that specialist distributor is effectively a technology incubator for new, interesting, niche vendors that could be the next big thing. It helps us to get started with these vendors without having to invest in all of them because we simply can't; there are too many new vendors coming through."
Routledge said if a specialist distributor such as Commtech has selected a vendor, it gives that firm a measure of creditability and offers an additional level of due diligence.
"We want an element of support with the design and deployment of the product, but less on the after-sales front. We also want access to professional services, whether that's from the distributor or the vendor themselves through the distributor."
Routledge said new vendors can also smother resellers, but specialist distributors can release the pressure on this front.
"Those new vendors want you to be at every partner council, come to a load of training sessions and it can be difficult to fit all of that in. A good value-add distributor can act as a buffer between the reseller and the keenness of a new vendor. We still like the keenness of new vendors, that is part of their attraction, but sometimes it can be too much."
Routledge said most of Softcat's customers want to tap into innovation and move their infrastructure forwards to change the way they do business.
"Customers are not going to buy it because it is new, shiny and cool. But they are keen to listen if it solves a problem. If we have a product we are confident solves that problem in partnership with a value-add distributor, then our customers are all ears for that offering," added Routledge.
Commtech has been shortlised for Emerging Technology Distributor of Year at the CRN Channel Awards 2017.