Growing business can be tough, and in today’s competitive market resellers need new strategies to take their business to the next level. Kim Jennings, Sales Director at distributor ScanSource Communications explains what can be done with her top five strategies for growth.
There are certainly plenty of techniques that business owners can employ if they want to expand. But for the purpose of clarity, we want to focus on five core strategies that apply directly to the reseller community.
So, for expert insight we have turned to Kim Jennings, Sales Director at distributor ScanSource Communications. As Comms Business Magazine’s reader choice winner of our Distributor of the Year Award for the last two years they would appear to know the channel intimately and are well aware of the challenges that lie ahead for their partners in 2013. More importantly they are excited about the opportunities on the horizon and want to help their reseller partners drive quick, sustainable business growth and increased profits.
Strategy 1: Become a trusted advisor.
One of the challenges facing resellers right now, according to Kim Jennings, is how the changes across the technology landscape are impacting revenue. There is no better time than right now to seek other avenues, such as wrapping services around hardware sales, to spur and sustain growth.
“If you don’t move along with the changes, your business will suffer. For many resellers, this means making a shift to sell whole solutions – hardware, software and services like Wi-Fi surveys and network assessment – in order to increase customer spend.”
So what are you doing to keep your existing customers? By finding ways that continue to help your customer, you are not only building a relationship of trust, you are building recurring revenue. Creating this type of dynamic with your customer base adds to your overall value.
“As our vendor partners release new products and technology, it is imperative that resellers stay on the cutting-edge in order to complement these products with enhanced services and successful customer implementations,” says Jennings.
“In today’s climate you may find yourself working harder than ever to capture new opportunities. The last thing you want is to hit a glitch in the project which is why ScanSource has a sales, technical and professional services team to help resellers at every stage of the process – be it to design, build or deliver. If your customers feel confident and comfortable with you they will be more loyal and more likely to recommend your services to others. Cultivate this reputation and your business will grow.”
Strategy 2: Build a high performance sales force
The success of any reseller business largely depends on its sales force. They have to make a tangible contribution to your business for it to grow.
Are you getting the most from your sales team? They are the lifeline of your business, and increased credentials can lead to increased revenue potential. For resellers, an integral part of selling industry leading products is successfully completing required vendor certifications. Whether you are ramping up a new sales person or completing certification or re-certification requirements, having access to in-depth, hands on training across the country is mission critical to your business.
“In addition to receiving the vendor certification, your sales team should know how to troubleshoot problems, reason through a design and proactively outreach to customers about new products,” says Jennings. “To meet the increasing demands for videoconferencing, data networking and wireless, we are working closely with our vendors to offer training in these areas through online webinars, training sessions held at our new training facilities in Egham, Surrey, and at other locations around the country.”
Strategy 3: Develop a purpose driven market strategy
To increase sales your marketing campaign should draw the attention of current and prospective customers. Are you talking to them in a way they will respond? Ten years ago the marketing focus was on print media but the internet and wireless capabilities have led to a fast-paced mobile lifestyle. End user customers are heavily engaging with mobile technologies, including video. According to Jennings, it’s therefore vital for resellers to learn new marketing strategies that will increase their customer base.
“At this point in the game, for every reseller looking to achieve growth in the coming year, creating more flexibility in how they communicate to customers will play an important role. Our reseller partners have access to a number of Business Development Managers who can help them to explore various ways of marketing to new and existing customers and find cost effective ways to improve profitability.”
Strategy 4: Optimise cash flow
To maintain and sustain business growth, resellers must find ways to maximise and extend their resources. If you are able to focus on your core business, you are able to grow the bottom line. Shortening installation intervals and spending less time on your customer’s site can increase your efficiencies.
“Resellers who leverage our configuration services are able to do more with their business. Adaptability and flexibility are critical to keeping pace with this industry – especially when market trends are increasing expectations for speed, reliability and capacity”.
“Technology is always evolving, and we work closely with our vendor partners to make sure we are providing resellers with the right mix of solutions. From the simplest projects to the most complex, resellers can have the resources to assess, configure, program and install solutions, an in turn deliver a high level of value to the end user,” says Jennings.
“Something to consider is that some of these tasks and jobs resellers are doing could and should be undertaken by someone else. It is important to examine processes and find efficiencies wherever possible. No matter the size or scope of your project, resellers can benefit from our configuration services for example to optimise their cash flow.”
Strategy 5: Expand through partnership.
“Team up with non-competing partners to benefit from each other,” says Jennings. “Doing so creates instant marketing presence in front of potential customers and gives you the ability to sell in to new markets. And while geographical expansion is powerful for growth, it can be difficult and costly. ScanSource’s SUMOpartner, an online partnership directory, is a great way to strengthen your competitive positioning: it’s a place to find partners, and through your own solution profile be found.”
Meeting face-to-face is also an important aspect of business, and ScanSource is encouraging resellers to attend its Solution City event in Manchester in July. Based around an exciting new concept, the focus of the afternoon will be on innovative solutions, knowledge sharing, business growth, and attendee interaction and potential partnership.
Jennings concludes, “Achieving profitable growth is heightened whenever resellers have a clear growth strategy – and the support of a strong distribution partner. Throughout the year ScanSource will help our reseller partners increase sales, reduce costs, improve customer service and grow their business. At the end of the day our business cannot grow without our partners’ business growth, and we are looking forward to helping them be as profitable as possible.”