The number of services and technologies VARs and MSPs offer can be more than a bit overwhelming to many of their potential SMB customers, similar to finding that they have too many options on a restaurant’s menu. Perhaps a better way to serve your customers is to use the bundled approach.
As a “total solutions provider,” having everything customers need is what you do. But providing them with a pick-and-choose menu actually may be limiting your sales potential. One of the primary reasons a business partners with an IT solution provider in the first place is because it recognizes the need, but doesn’t know exactly what to purchase or how to use the technology to its advantage. As that company's trusted adviser, it's your job to recommend the systems and services that will best help that company achieve its overall business objectives.
One way to avoid the pitfalls of an à la carte IT menu is to offer technology-specific bundles by vertical market. Rather than guiding customers through a piecemeal selection process, many providers package complementary products and services into logical solution sets that address the needs of most businesses in a particular industry. We’ve seen tremendous success with this approach within Intronis’ partner community—specifically as it pertains to dental practices and doctors’ offices.
Not only does this bundling method create significant benefits for both VARs and their customers, it also streamlines the selection process for current and prospective customers, trimming the choices while offering more comprehensive solutions that can address their complete business needs. A well-constructed bundle allows providers to focus their customer discussions on the merits of the entire package rather than the “speeds and feeds” of individual components. That removes unnecessary distractions from both sides, relying more on providers’ expertise and abilities to assemble the best systems for each business environment.
Solution bundling also gives providers more control over their profitability and helps improve their operational efficiencies. These packages allow VARs to create a more easily repeatable sales process, which, in turn, will serve to shorten the overall sales process. It also prevents customers from nickel and diming the service, since you’re not totaling up the line items.
Bundles come in all shapes and sizes, and often include everything from pre-configured devices and related hardware to cloud offerings such as online backup and disaster recovery solutions. These classifications typically fall into three categories:
- General technology packages. These typically include all the components and applications needed for a particular system, though some complementary solutions and IT services may be offered. This category includes server, desktop and mobility bundles (as well as many others).
- Vertical/Discipline solutions. These packages often consist of all the hardware, applications and support services required to manage a particular type of business. Bundles may be named according to vertical market (e.g., health care, legal, retail) or discipline (e.g., accounting, HR, purchasing).
- Compliance or problem-resolution packages. While vertical solution bundles may work well for new customers or those looking for substantial upgrades, providers often need to address specific issues within existing IT systems. For example, a PCI (payment card industry) set might include enhanced IT security applications combined with onsite and cloud-based backup and archiving programs.
Of course, bundling offerings shouldn't limit solution providers' creativity. They can still customize offerings to meet the specific needs of their individual business customers and integrate complementary systems to maximize overall business efficiencies. It all comes down to anticipating the basic needs of your customers and presenting solution packages that address the majority of IT needs common to their specific vertical market or discipline. With proper planning and a more concentrated approach to sales, you can reduce the complexity and confusion your customers and prospects are feeling and simplify things for your salespeople and technicians at the same time.
For tips on the best way to sell your IT services to C-level decision makers, read our recent blog post, “Talking Tech: How much do your clients know about cloud backup?”