The channel is the lifeblood for the technology industry. It enables vendors to focus on R&D and gives end users a more personalized experience by purchasing through a local company (the reseller). While vendors are responsible for creating a turn-key solution that can give immediate benefit to a business, it’s the reseller who can truly build the business case and provide an extra level of value to customers.
Value-added resellers (VARs) are the perfect example of this theory. They give customers an extra level of value by providing additional services that go beyond the scope of what a vendor can offer. Many solutions require additional services to support them and customers are faced with finding another provider. However, VARs are able to bundle the service or feature with the product and sell it as one complete, value-packed solution.
Resellers don’t only offer value by creating a next-level end product; they are also instrumental in shaping the business case to potential customers for why they should choose a specific solution. In today’s B2B landscape, buyers are able to research different product offerings online and educate themselves. In fact, Sirius Decisions reports that 67% of buyers have a clear picture of the solution they want before ever engaging with sales. While vendor websites are a great place for prospects to conduct research and narrow down solutions, it’s the local reseller who meets face-to-face with the customer and discusses exact pain points that can make all the difference in the world. By having someone present to convey exactly how the solution will meet the needs of each user, customers can feel more confident with their decision and know the true value the solution will bring to them.
Furthermore, local resellers can provide value to decision makers by giving a more in-depth financial justification for a solution. They are in a position to compare competitor pricing and give a side-by-side analysis, and they can accurately depict TCO with the extra services they offer. Additionally, as resellers are deep-diving with customers, they can frame the “cost of doing nothing” if prospects were to keep their existing solution and provide a true ROI analysis for deploying the new solution.
Tom Pisello, CEO and founder of Alinean, claims there is oftentimes disconnect between how vendors market to end users and what customers are expecting to hear from vendors. He calls this the “value gap.” Because vendors are sometimes forced to create ‘umbrella’ messaging to be relevant to as many people as possible, it can sometimes lose the personalization that customers have come to expect. However, resellers are able to take that messaging and craft it specifically to the customer and their exact needs, and, in essence, close that value gap. Vendors create the solution, but it’s the resellers who are oftentimes the face of the solution and convey its value directly to the customer.
Vendors are the driving force behind a product, but they can’t be everything to everybody. That is why it is necessary to have a strong channel and partners who can provide added value directly to the customers.