February 13, 2017
By Chris Reagoso
You may have noticed that the world has changed — a lot. Simply specializing in hardware and LAN/WAN connectivity or compartmentalized services is not enough to be successful in the channel anymore. Partners you have done business with in the past may have become competitors. To remain relevant in a crowded marketplace, you need to constantly put forth new solutions and services.
Getting bogged down in old ways of doing business can create a stagnant environment where you risk losing competitiveness or market leadership. So how does a VAR or MSP reinvent itself to ensure its individual growth as a company and solutions provider?
In some cases, it’s a matter of getting back to basics. Here are some ways to get back on track:
Embrace the market trends of the day: Sorry, but simply providing a product for your customers doesn’t cut it anymore. The economics of today’s UC industry is now subscription-based. Customers want to pay for services on a monthly basis. But it’s not just about a preference for OpEx. They instinctively know that by moving to a subscription model, they can trust that you as the trusted provider has an ongoing incentive to ensure their UC operations run smoothly. There’s upside for partners, too. The sticky nature of monthly recurring services helps you retain customers and remain profitable month after month in a competitive market environment.
Resell a hosted voice solution: Nothing is worse than losing a profitable account because you don’t have the ability to meet a customer’s needs in a timely and effective fashion. For those of us in the business of reselling UC products, the trend toward hosted voice is not going away. Customers are replacing legacy on-premises equipment with hosted VoIP as they realize that a traditional PBX is simply not able to support their growing businesses without major hardware upgrades or new equipment. These overhauls are not only costly, they are time-consuming to manage and oversee and can also lead to hours or days of downtime for your customers. Offering hosted VoIP gives you the flexibility to meet their needs today and the scalability to support future growth and whatever new services tomorrow brings.
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Work with a provider that fits your business model: For VARs and MSPs, it is imperative to partner with a provider that can not only give you a robust and powerful hosted VoIP solution, but that offers a white-label option so you can brand the service with your company’s name. By giving your customers a cost-effective option that lowers their CapEx spend and access to services they either didn’t know they needed or simply could not afford before, all under your brand, ensures your customers remain your customers. A proper hosted, white-label solution provider should always be a “behind the curtain” agent, leaving you to provide that critical first level of support for your customers when they need it. The nature of the white-label model gives you the freedom to be the expert your customers already trust. From the initial consultation to billing, your name is the one your customer sees from beginning to end; no middleman or company hijacking your business. Just you.
Build relationships: Today’s business customers value a positive relationship with a partner they can count on and trust. Customers want to know that you will have their backs when they have a problem, and they expect you to ensure they are using a product that simply works. In an age where big service providers and carriers don’t know the names of many of their customers, those who work with VARs and MSPs demand a deeper relationship. Knowing what the customer needs before they even need it is an expectation, and that knowledge is truly a powerful thing. Simply having conversations with your customers, personally visiting their businesses and getting to know them and their needs can go a long way in establishing a long-lasting rapport.
Doing business with a solution provider that understands your business needs as well as the overall trends in the industry will help you provide the technology your customers need to succeed. Remaining competitive in the changing UC market requires customer satisfaction, stickiness and revenue generation. So out with the old, and in with the new, before the market trends push you and your company out into the cold.
Christopher Reagoso, a Micoroft Partner since 1996 and a CoreDial channel partner since 2014, is the owner of the A. F. Daniel Technology Group, Inc., an IT and telecom integrator based in Greater Philadelphia. As an I.T. and telecom veteran with experience in technical engineering and sales, Christopher made the move to a white-label IT cloud and cloud-based communications offering when changes within the market began to put a significant strain on his business. Since then, Christopher hasn’t looked back and has experienced incredible business success.
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