From The Publisher: Let Your Customers Help Improve Your Business
By Sue Bresee, publisher, Business Solutions magazine.
In the world of marketing, focus groups are often used to acquire feedback about products or services. However, they are not used as often as they should be in the IT world. Indeed, seldom do manufacturers seek that type of input from their channel partners or potential partners. Business Solutions magazine recently partnered with AXIS Communications, a network video manufacturer, to host a focus group dinner at Interop in Las Vegas. While many topics were discussed during the dinner, which helped AXIS gain a better understanding of the needs of its resellers, there was one question that was asked to the group of system integrators that I thought yielded particularly interesting responses: What can a vendor do better in the eyes of an integrator?
As the question was posed to the group of participants, I looked around the room and saw many grinning faces. The reason for the grins? The majority of integrators admitted that their manufacturer partners never asked them that question before. Responses were varied, but all valuable:
- Provide more supporting documentation.
- Build loyal relationships with the system integrators directly.
- Stand behind your products.
- Allow customization with products.
- Don't forget about the small guys that got you to where you are today.
- Recreate documents that are geared toward the end user.
- Offer good and timely customer support
Whether your answers to the question are the same or different from those above, you need to communicate your business needs to your manufacturer partners, as they may not be aware that there are areas of their business lacking.