Vaughan Shayler, director of channel strategies for CompTIA, explains what distributors should be doing to help maintain a strong relationship with their resellers...
There’s no doubt that the role of distribution is changing. These days, the principles that distributors built their businesses on – range, availability and logistics – are a given. The pendulum is swinging towards the value that they can add through the power of their business model. The relationships with their vendor partners and their solution providers can both be leveraged to maximum effect and to the benefit of all.
End users are savvier and more technology focused. Buying decisions are influenced by customers’ own research online and the influence of price is diminishing. More customers want to work consultatively with their IT providers to grow and improve their business. They are looking for IT providers who work in the same way.
To this end, distributors need to equip their reseller partners with the tools and technologies to sell rounded, complete solutions to their customers. Solution providers don’t want to deal with numerous different departments within their chosen distributor. They expect the distributor to act as an aggregator of technology and to provide all the relevant support, training and accessories that go along with this – helping both the distributor and the reseller to build in more margin to any technology solution. A strong and robust partnership model enables this relationship and helps to build intelligence into the process.
It may be unusual for CompTIA to be highlighting the importance of making a profit through relationships, but we understand what solution providers need to run their businesses.
CompTIA also provides significant support to distributors in maximising their partner relationships. While distributors have to necessarily focus on their vendor partnerships, CompTIA can provide education, information about market trends, best practice and peer-to-peer learning, effectively up-skilling solution providers and preparing them to take advantage of the new technologies being offered. Distributors can leverage CompTIA’s extensive resource library and industry insight reports, and share their own materials through CompTIA’s open access website, webinars and events.
So what does distribution need to do to continue to grow and develop their business? Have a strong focus on their solution providers. Understand how to better support them in growing their own businesses by being easier to deal with, providing more streamlined processes and access to the latest technology. To help facilitate that, CompTIA can provide a partnership which can support distribution in reaching out to solution providers, provide a portal that they can use to leverage their own knowledge and understand more about what makes solution providers tick.