Data Collection VARs: Now Is The Time To Thrive
While those on Wall Street and in the U.S. media continue to debate whether or not weâ€™re in a recession, the majority of us already know that whether weâ€™re in one or not, it sure feels like we are. For that reason, I see the trends of 2008 (caused by the economy) continuing into 2009.
For instance, with Honeywellâ€™s acquisition of Hand Held Products and Metrologic and Brotherâ€™s acquisition of PENTAX, we got a taste of what I think the channel is going to experience in 2009 and beyond. Indeed, analysts have been predicting widespread industry consolidation for some time. Frankly, the channel has never been more competitive, and many companies are struggling to thrive. As a VAR, you may remain relatively unaffected. However, if one of your vendor partners is bought or purchases another company, you could expect some changes to occur, as everything from channel partner programs to sales forces could merge or be altered.
Focus On ROI In Your Sales Pitch
Perhaps of greater importance to you is the economyâ€™s effect on your customers. Indeed, many VARs to whom Iâ€™ve talked explain that their customers have been delaying or simply avoiding making any IT purchases. While you might struggle to overcome objections to spending money, there is one thing you should definitely do â€" drive home ROI. It amazes me how many data collection VARs donâ€™t have both quantitative and qualitative ROI analyses built into their sales and proposal processes. As a reseller of data collection solutions, you know that your solutions, if properly implemented, can lead to gained efficiencies and lower costs. With the current economy, itâ€™s never been more imperative for you to spotlight ROI metrics to justify the cost associated with your solutions. If I were a data collection VAR, Iâ€™d be slapping my customers in the face with strong ROI marketing messages.
You also can focus on markets that arenâ€™t heavily affected by the economy. Healthcare continues to be one of the hottest markets. Indeed, a 2008 survey by the publication Modern Healthcare shows that 58% of healthcare executives cite the adoption of an EHR (electronic health record) system as one of their top three IT priorities this year. With these systems, data collection solutions are an integral component. Today, bar codes and RFID (radio frequency identification) are being used to track many assets (often very expensive and mobile) within a healthcare facility. For example, hospitals are interested in tracking what occurs in operating rooms and in tying the medical equipment used during an operation back to a patientâ€™s electronic record.
Finally, donâ€™t forget that you are selling solutions that can save your customers time and money. Whether itâ€™s via the sale of time and attendance, route accounting, or warehouse management solutions, you have a great opportunity to use the economy to your advantage and make 2009 a year of double-digit growth.