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VARs: What’s your ROI?

Over the next few months, you’re going to see a dramatic shift in marketing from your supplier partners. The theme of their marketing will shift from all the cool stuff they can do to how much money they can save customers. Rapid ROI, or ROI now, is going to be the drumbeat. But what about you? Are you explaining to your customers how much money you can save them? The need for a clear ROI is being driven by concerns over the economy. Manufacturers will be trying to crystallize a message that says, “If you buy this product from us today, it will pay for itself in X period of time and actually save you money and free up budget dollars for other projects.” In a down economy, freeing up IT budget dollars is going to be Job No. 1.

What does ROI have to do with you? You are a VAR — you know, value-added reseller. How can you help with ROI? After all, you don’t make anything, and isn’t “value add” code for “costs more money”? It better not be, or you could be in trouble.

One of the things we have been helping resellers do is communicate their ROI to their prospects and customers. Your mission is to show customers how buying the solution from you will save them money over buying from a manufacturer or another competitor.

But your ROI shouldn’t be selling the solution cheaper than anyone else. A key part a reseller’s ROI is time savings for the customer. You can save your customers time in several areas: time to sift through the options and help them identify the correct solution, time to get the solution up and running, time to train them on how to use the solution and, finally, time to maintain the solution.

Don’t just assume that the customer will “get it.” You have to reiterate your ROI at every customer interaction and, of course, deliver that ROI.

In the next entry, we’ll detail some of the things you can do as a reseller to increase and hasten the ROI of a solution.

George Crump is president and founder of Storage Switzerland, an IT analyst firm focused on the storage and virtualization segments. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation’s largest storage integrators. 

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