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The Incredible Expanding Line Card: 3 Ways To Grow Smart

During this workshop, Continuum’s Mike Barnes will tell partners how to best approach adding new products and services to their line cards.

Edward Gately

March 16, 2017

3 Min Read
The Incredible Expanding Line Card: 3 Ways To Grow Smart

Edward Gately**Editor’s Note: Register now for the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, the gathering place for the technology services community, April 10-13, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.**

There are right and wrong ways to add new products and services to your line card.

Continuum's Michael BarnesDon’t get dazzled by technology. Instead, focus on clients and verticals, what value you can add and your staff’s strengths.

During this Channel Partners Conference & Expo concurrent education session titled, “The Incredible Expanding Line Card: 3 Ways to Grow Smart,” Mike Barnes, Continuum’s director of new partner development, will tell partners how to get the most out of adding new products and services to their line cards.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Barnes gave a sneak peek into the information he’ll share with partners.

Channel Partners: What should be your motivation and approach when adding new products and services to your line card?

Mike Barnes: Adding products should really be driven by your client needs. While new technology and flashy features might seem like something you can easily pitch to your customers, what’s their true motivation to adopt and make the move unless there’s some regulatory requirement or vital business need? If they are already paying for services that they aren’t utilizing or seeing a true return on investment from, it might be difficult to add something else onto their plate, let alone you selling it to net-new clients. Stop and listen to the top two or three complaints you get from your clients each month and start there.{ad}

CP: What are some common mistakes/pitfalls that can occur when adding to your line card?

MB: Some of the biggest pitfalls come from not having a clear strategy and set of goals. When considering any addition to your line card, make sure you can clearly answer the following: Who is this a solution for, what’s my adoption and timing goals, and how do I plan to market and sell this solution? A great exercise is to have a matrix and map out exactly who you’re going to target.

Other times, it’s remembering that it’s OK to say no and to walk away. Trying to have the solution for everyone and every situation is going to pull you away from the things you do best, and you’ll end up with …

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… a book of clients that have different requirements and needs.

Channel Partners: Do particular industry verticals present opportunities to add to your line card? Can you give a few examples?

MB: There are definitely some industries that are seeing more specific requirements based on regulatory standards and requirements, but in general, the shift to security across all industries presents a massive opportunity. The SMB, with a greater reliance on IT and lack of expertise, has become a prime target for cyberattacks. Offering solutions and services in this space and developing a set of operational best practices will be crucial moving forward.{ad}

CP: What do you want partners to learn most and take away from your speech?

MB: I hope partners are able to take some of the fundamental concepts we’ll discuss and use them to refocus on their own offerings and the ways they can better serve their clients. The goal isn’t to change the ways they’re doing business, but to reassess two or three things that they can take from good to excellent with the goal of growing smart.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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