Sitting on a goldmine

How many resellers are actually sitting on golden sales opportunities without even realising it?

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  January 17, 2008

It's a common complaint from the reseller channel that winning new business isn't as effortless as it used to be. Customers are increasingly assertive about what they want, not to mention unashamedly aggressive in their price expectations, while IT projects are fought over by many more parties than in the past.

With ongoing margin deterioration also preying heavily on the channel's mind, it's no wonder that resellers in the Middle East are feeling the heat. Many are rapidly discovering that snaring enough new end-user accounts to meet lofty revenue targets isn't necessarily the walk in the park that it sounds, even with the assistance of vendors that lay claim to comprehensive lead generation policies.

But how many resellers that find themselves caught in this camp are actually sitting on golden sales opportunities without even realising it? Judging by recent conversations with value added distribution sources working closely with first-tier partners, there is a growing flock of resellers that are contributing to their own strife. The reason? A failure to track end-user support and services contracts that have simply been allowed to run their course.

Resellers involved in providing annuity services, particularly those that get sold by a vendor at the initial project phase and are then sub-contracted through the channel, undoubtedly represent the highest risk category when it comes to making the same mistake time and time again.

Leaving enterprises with large internal IT departments aside, I'm pretty certain that a hefty proportion of end-users have no recollection of when certain maintenance, services or support contracts face expiry. And more significantly, even fewer of them would proactively seek to re-ignite them. But if the reseller approached them prior to renewal, and made a solid business case for continuing the service, then I'd imagine the effort would arouse more ‘yes' replies than it would knockbacks.

Let's face it, who hasn't been in a situation where an insurance policy or subscription has expired and yet only got round to extending it when directly approached by the provider of that service. The same scenario is applicable to the world of IT.

It is understandable that resellers miss these glaring opportunities, particularly if they lack resources or are heavily focusing their attention elsewhere. Often it happens because of personnel movement. The sales person in charge of signing a deal twelve months previously may no longer be around, and if their replacement isn't on the ball to seize the moment when it presents itself then the opportunity disappears down the drain.

The big question is how to rectify it, because there are resellers perched on bags of cash and they can't even feel it's there. Of course, on the one hand it's a fundamental account management issue, but on the other it's about putting the right procedures in place to prevent expired contracts from remaining neglected. Resellers haven't got to shell out silly money on new systems, but simply establish distinct policies for customer management and information retention.

To think that some resellers in the Middle East are guilty of underachieving through their own indolence is a galling irony. Especially when it could be corrected with a modicum of organisation and foresight.


Don't delay... get your nominations in today!

The level of interest and response to the inaugural Channel Middle East Awards is already building ahead of the date when the crème de la crème of the regional IT market unites to honour distinction in the channel.

But as the date draws ever closer, so too does the nomination deadline!

Remember, if you are a vendor, reseller, solutions provider, retailer or distributor then YOU can nominate yourself for any of the categories that are relevant to your business. Entries must be received by Thursday 14th February to be considered for an award.

Simply download the nomination form and detail the recent achievements and success stories that mark your company out as a true channel champion. If you're unsure what to write then simply visit www.itp.net/events/channelmeawards and click on ‘Nomination Process' for a few helpful hints.

The Channel Middle East Awards will recognise vendors and channel players that have truly achieved outstanding success in the channel. If that applies to you, then get your nomination form in as soon as possible.

As they say, you've got to be in it to win it!

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