Learn From Your Peers
Looking for new ways to boost your sales? You needn't look further than the successful VARs and integrators featured in every issue of Business Solutions.
I'm asked regularly to speak at channel events and conferences. Most recently, Ingram Micro (Santa Ana, CA) requested a presentation for top resellers in its High End Storage Program. Every time I compose a speech, I spend hours thinking about what subjects would be most valuable for a channel audience. Ingram Micro's resellers ranged from billion-dollar direct marketers like CDW (Vernon Hills, IL) to multi-million-dollar integrators like Manchester Technologies (Hauppauge, NY). Yet, whether the channel audience comprises large or small companies, I always use the same approach - I share stories from their peers. The reason is simple: companies learn from others in a similar line of business.
Narrating Channel Successes
Stories about channel companies are an integral part of Business Solutions magazine's editorial content. Over the last 12 years we've chronicled thousands of VARs and integrators in our feature stories and installation reviews. The magazine has featured channel companies adopting new technologies, integrating seemingly unrelated technologies, entering new vertical markets, executing new business practices, and so on. Yet, no article is ever the same. And, there are always new angles to be covered. How can this be? Technology is in a state of constant flux. This forces VARs and integrators to continually develop new sales and market strategies to stay competitive.
For the Ingram Micro presentation, I handpicked a few stories of VARs who employed tactics like disaster recovery seminars, trial demo programs, and free storage resource management assessments to drive new business. After my presentation, attendees shared their secrets for attracting new clients. Eric Rorapaugh, CEO of Systems Management Planning (Rochester, NY) revealed how his company hosted private dinners to educate prospects on the possibilities of storage area networks (SANs). Seven of the companies who attended the dinner spent over $350,000 on SAN solutions afterward. Many of the Ingram Micro resellers who sold to the government and education markets discussed how keeping abreast of new legislation has helped them land technology deals in these markets.
Successful channel companies never stop looking for new strategies to sell more technology products. This issue includes more examples of channel companies using creative strategies, including Enterprise Systems Consulting on page 52. This $10 million Irvine, CA integrator is tapping into the need for network security in the financial and healthcare industries because of government regulations introduced in these markets.
Judging The Value Of Articles
Business Solutions' editors often measure the success of a story by the article's "tear factor." (i.e. If the article provides valuable content, VARs are going to tear out the page[s] and use the information in their businesses.) I've met channel companies who have Business Solutions articles tacked to their office walls and executives who use highlighter markers to bring attention to valuable sections. The final judge of the magazine's value is you; we want to know which stories are most useful for your business.