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1. It's the Economy (Again)
During economic uncertainty--and the past two years have been full of that--itcs not just end customers that are looking to cut costs and increase productivity; it's solution providers too. Vendors that were able to work with partners and provide high-quality products at good prices were rewarded with high scores. As ViewSonic's Jeff Volpe, vice president and general manager of ViewSonic Americas, noted, during a downturn VARs are looking for a trusted source that will truly step up to the moniker of "partner." ViewSonic, which returns to the top spot in Displays after an eight-year hiatus, has introduced a number of new products and has offered VARs the opportunity to take advantage of more aggressive display pricing. Anticipating VARs' demands in terms of pricing and products are hallmarks of No. 1 players. How did ViewSonic climb back to the top? See our story on p. 24.
Intel, EMC, Fortinet, Juniper, Cisco: Each of these top-ranked vendors also had top scores in the ARC Support subcategory. When times are tough, solution providers look to their trusted partners for support to help them win deals. For many VARs, the recession made them acutely aware of their customers' needs.
"We had to be more aware of their business needs vs. their wants," said Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner/Connecting Point, Green Bay, Wis. "We decided to get aggressive in sales vs. hunker down with cost-cutting. You can only cut so much."
VARs looked to vendor partners to help with presales and postsales support, marketing support and training. "We spent money on training our people, changed the commission program to award those selling in tough times, did more seminars and had the largest technology show ever in our history. We took advantage of our top vendor programs and wisely chose partner programs like HP PartnerOne Elite and used registration to win deals," Chernick said.