Changing customer attitudes and needs mean that your sales pitch must also change.
May 09, 2011
Sourced from CommercialIntegrator.com
By Tom LeBlanc
As customers and their needs change, the channel business model must too change. It’s important for IT service providers to stay relevant to hold onto customers and be able to cultivate new ones.
While much of the change in the channel is due to the recession, it’s also due to the changing relationship between a customer and the IT service provider. The model is certainly moving towards a cloud-based model, but not everyone is planning on making that leap. Regardless of intentions, every reseller needs to make sure that they are no longer stuck in the past and that they are keeping pace with the industry at least in business practice.
Commercial Integrator covers the business of audio, video, automation, security, and IT integration. CI editors provide industry reporting, product news, management resources, project stories, and blogs.
With help from Mark Coxon of Orange, Calif.-based Orange ProAV, here are some business practices are outdated:
Selling Based on a Line Card: “People are looking for new and innovative ways to control their systems, manage their buildings and associated resources and to capture the attention of their customer base,” Coxon says. “An integrator who sells in a line card-based business limits their offerings to this type of customer, and ultimately limits the solutions they can provide.”
Banking on Product Margins: Hardware sales are no longer enough. IT service providers must provide services or added value to products.
Telling Clients What They Need: “Selling from a position of authority is outdated,” Coxon says. “People are more tech-savvy than ever. Online pricing exposes our costs in many cases. Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs some help to get where they need to go and may need a lot of it – but the story is not about you. Sell from a position of collaboration.”
Relying on Referrals: With more companies bidding on projects than ever, a referral isn’t what it used to be. Competition is based on price these days, and many potential customers seek service providers through the internet and other research means. It means stepping up sales and marketing efforts, as well as looking at expanding into additional vertical markets to create new revenue streams.
Audio-Only Teleconferencing - Videoconferencing has actually gotten a boost from a tough economy. Companies with tight travel budgets have catalyzed demand for videoconferencing. Meanwhile, demand for audio-only teleconferencing seems to have hit a ceiling. A recent NSCA report shows only 10 percent of commercial dealers’ gross revenue in 2010 stemmed from audio-only teleconferencing.
View this article as it was originally printed on Commercialntegrator.com.