Evolving enterprise channel: Why VARs may fail

Meera Kaul, CEO, Optimus Technology and Telecom, discusses the VAR model and the need for the regional enterprise channel to advance and embrace change.

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Evolving enterprise channel: Why VARs may fail Meera Kaul, CEO, Optimus Technology & Telecom
By  Meera Kaul Published  August 20, 2015

With the revolutionary pace of evolution within the IT industry as a whole, it has become increasingly imperative for channels to revisit how their value offering and their go-to-market methodology needs to change. To remain competitive and to prevent redundancy, channels in the region need to become more agile and in-step with global innovations.

The biggest problem with us as a channel is that we are very slow to change. And this lack of agility eventually means that the best tech and innovations that are happening all over the world take a lot more time to get embedded into the channel itself. This in turn leads to our end customers and resellers adopting this technology much later than the rest of the world. So how do we address this big issue that sits at the core of the VAR business model?

To answer that we first need to understand the current technology landscape. Now there are two dimensions to the constant evolution of technology which VARs need to adapt to. Firstly, the technology itself is changing on a daily basis, with constant innovation and new developments. Secondly, there are improvements and changes on a daily basis in the way we as customers consume technology.

A huge case in point with respect to IT innovations impacting VAR models is that traditionally, we have sold through the channel, but cloud really makes the channel redundant. Who needs the channel if the customer can approach the manufacturer directly?

On the other end of the spectrum is the consumption cycle of technology. Earlier, the manner in which the technology sale was conducted required the salesperson to educate the customer. That isn’t real anymore because the customer is highly educated now, before he sends out a request for a proposal for a product, service or a solution, he has already looked at a variety of these across a spectrum and he knows exactly what he is trying to buy.

In the light of these changes within the channel, how do we ensure that VARs don’t fail?

With the explosive amount of data and technology being developed, detected and routed into the market daily, on average, a salespersons time-to-market is very high, ranging anywhere from six months to nearly nine months or even a year for enterprise channels. This means it takes a salesperson nearly a year to be fully trained in any new technology and become effective to close sales around it.

While in a VAR situation a salesperson may be dedicated to one or two products, but within the region the entire channel works in such a way where a sales person would be selling multiple products and solutions. If that statistic is true, that means we can safely assume that for a salesperson, learning the ropes of a more expansive product portfolio would definitely take longer.

So in this environment, where new products are being pushed into the market on a daily basis, the pivotal role a salesperson has to play is to not only enable himself but to enable the VARs and the companies he represents and enable the customer to make a better choice.

Since buyers always want more control, the sales tools can be reengineered to ease collaboration between resellers and consumers.

Even the training that will enable the salesperson to undertake to be able to sell a product, if that’s available on a mobile platform with structured modules would make his life easy and allow him to get started.

In a nutshell, sales tools are critical and need to become more engaging. Eventually, we need to understand that marketing and sales are so married together that sales cannot be easy and effective without a good marketing strategy.

Then of course from a manufacturer’s perspective, from a supplier’s perspective, or from a high-tech company’s perspective, since there is a lot of globalisation and selling is happening everywhere, there is a need for more product demonstration centres everywhere.

VARs need to become more agile, keenly looking at how technology consumption is changing and adapting their offerings accordingly to avoid redundancy. At the same time, they need to recognise how the role of the salesperson has evolved and that the sales title has become too big for the salesperson to really hit the market running. They need to empower him with effective sales tools, from training, to convincing the customer to enabling the actual sale.

1456 days ago

Thanks for an Practical Article on Future of VAR / Channel Sales as we being Channel Partners for number of Products are already facing the brunt., No doubt the End User / Client is well Versed now with all Latest Models / Solutions and what remains in Sales is the Ultimate Procurement Support for People Like us - Or Morever we now have become Sourcing Partners for Corporate World as to arrange Delivery and Finance them on Credits., IT Industry is enhancing for massive changes Which have to be embraced at an Alarming level by all Channel Partners / VARS to Survive the same., New Techniques have to be engulfed to Live upto the expectation of End Users or clients.

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