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Do You Sell Boxes or Solutions?

by Felicia Jordan

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The emergence of software with an ROI in the channel has created an opportunity for growth. At the same time, two separate mentalities surrounding selling solutions have evolved. There are many VARs who have been selling hardware the same way, very profitably, for many years. Large portions of these VARs maintain the attitude that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” This mentality can be solid and can often sustain profitable trends. However, the other mentality to selling solutions involves sensing the coming trends, which is often more in line with mentality of the new-age buyer.

There is an ongoing “changing of the guard” when it comes to purchasing decisions in the channel. This has been seen at different rates across the industry, but it is now becoming a factor within most spaces. With that said, today’s new buyers have a different mentality when making decisions. Many of these new buyers want to buy an entire solution as opposed to just a box. More and more software providers are becoming the drivers of hardware sales as well. The majority of younger buyers have the idea that most hardware does generally the same thing with a few tweaks here and there. As long as the hardware is appropriately priced and can facilitate the software they want, they do not always have a preference or loyalty to brands.

Part of putting together and selling complete solutions as opposed to just selling a box is determining every piece your customers may need. There are many peripherals and items that go into constructing a full solution, but software can often be the most integral. When it comes to software vendors, it’s important to select the best partner for your hardware. Many software providers offer similar services, but they all do not offer the same quality. You want to look for a software vendor as if you were looking to add a new hardware manufacturer to your line of products. As a value added reseller, you want to add the most value to your offering. Look for a software vendor that most fits the industries of the customers you already have and also of those you would like to pursue. Develop that short list of vendors, and then interview each one. You want to find a partner whose business model is similar to your own. You also want a software partner who is similar from a business standpoint. If you both have similar goals, then you will have a much higher chance to succeed.

When you finally do find that right partner, you may be hoping to reap the benefits as quickly as you can. The shortest way to find ROI is to combine sales strategies and pursue both of your customer bases. This can be easier said than done, but if your sales teams are dedicated, well trained, and prioritize customer service, the process can go more smoothly. When you master your sales strategies for getting your fully fleshed out solutions into the market, you will quickly see your hardware sales boosted by the sale of software licenses.

Getting ahead of the curve and adding a software vendor to your value proposition will be lucrative and keep you with the bleeding edge. If you take your time and partner with the best vendors, these partnerships could last for quite some time and continue to provide benefits for all parties involved.

Co-Contributor: Dan Zurcher

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