Symantec Channel Business Tips for 2011
As 2010 draws to a close, it is time for our partners to look forward into 2011 and make smart business decisions that will increase revenue and enhance customer relationships. Symantec is here to help. I have created the following business tips to help our partners implement best practices for their businesses that will enable them to thrive in the New Year.
Hone your expertise
The true value you bring to your customers is providing IT solutions that solve business problems, not just selling them point products. In 2011, make yourself even more valuable to your customers by deepening your solutions expertise and solidifying your position as their go-to IT expert. Invest in trainings and accreditations that strengthen your knowledge and you’ll be able to deliver more complete solutions to your customers and maximize your sales opportunities. If the roles were reversed, it’s what you would want in a partner.
Highlight your credentials
Customers have options—and they know it. With increasing competition, differentiating yourself from the competition is critical. If you’ve taken the time to invest in becoming an expert, let your customers know. Take advantage of opportunities to highlight the distinctions you and your team have earned. Be sure to update your website and your business cards to reflect the “merit badges” you’ve earned to show your customers that you’re committed to your craft.
Engage your ecosystem
Your customers see you as their trusted IT advisor, so what do you do when they need a solution that you don’t have? Rather than turn them away, engage a partner in your ecosystem to help. Find a partner who has complimentary expertise and bring them in to help you meet your customers’ needs. You won’t be giving anything up, rather showing your customer that you’re well connected and willing to be strategic to help them get what they need. In addition, you’ll build a relationship with a partner who is more likely to call you when their customer requires a solution that they can’t deliver. Remember, part of something is better than all of nothing.
Don’t overlook marketing
With time and resource constraints, it can be tempting to put marketing on the back burner in favor of other projects. However, data shows that a good marketing strategy can have a big impact on your bottom line. There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel if quality products are available for your use, so take advantage of what’s out there already. Talk with your vendors to see if they offer resources to help you more easily create customized campaigns. These tools can be a tremendous time saver and help you make the most out of a limited budget.
If your head is in the clouds, keep your feet on the ground
Cloud computing is transforming IT service delivery and almost everyone is trying to figure out how they can capitalize on it. The first step is to keep your feet on the ground and realize customers are not going to move everything to the cloud right away (or ever for that matter). Be sure you can offer your customers choice with both cloud-based and on-premise solutions. VARs can also play a crucial role in helping navigate customers through the decision of what to move to the cloud. With the right strategy and combination of technologies, VARs can help their customers realize the cost and operational benefits of the cloud while mitigating the potential risks. A “hybrid” approach is what most customers will begin with.