Large businesses — defined as those with 250+ employees, over 20 sites and a $50,000 spend on monthly recurring charges (MRC) — offer opportunities for big channel revenue rewards today and tomorrow. Partnering for profit is essential to meet the broadening technology and business needs of these firms.
The challenges for agents and VARs in this sector are numerous and include delivering simplicity, value and savings born out of consolidating communications providers and optimizing services. This can free IT staff from buying and managing physical assets that are also available as a service for strategic projects.
Gaining Access. Unlike smaller ones, large companies have an IT staff and incumbent providers. Teaming with a service provider, another partner or simply offering to inventory the firm's tech resources and conduct a comprehensive audit for a fee are all viable means for gaining attention from the prospect's procurement and finance units.
Get Their Attention. Lead with the results of the IT assets audit as it will almost invariably identify current services and products that are underutilized or no longer in use. Add in savings realized from sharply reducing the number of service providers used and the amount will be an "eye opener," even without projected savings from a network migration or transition.
Work the Process. There aren't single decision makers in large enterprises, VAR and agents must expect decisions by committee and having to participate in a formal RFP process that includes other bidders for the business. This results in longer sales intervals which mean compensation at a later date than is common with midsize and small businesses.
What they Crave. If VARs and agents focus on delivering large businesses simplicity and value (as in savings) based on demonstrated knowledge of their inventory and supported by a thorough audit, they can gain "champion" status.
Remember, companies in this sector frequently have far too many service providers to even keep track of, don't have a solid handle on spending as a result, and use equipment and facilities that can be replaced by services. Service provider consolidation and convergence alone can pay big dividends. An independent, third-party review of their situation is of great value.
Big Companies, Big Needs. Household name brands require greater resources and attention than smaller and midsize firms and will likely use more of VARs and agents' resources. Teaming with partners can lighten the load while providing top-shelf customer care. That's especially true if companies decide to move beyond simplicity and savings to network migrations and installations, which can be resource intensive. Also, large businesses may push for special pricing. Be prepared for lower commissions.
Avoid Capex, Ensure Uptime. With most every IT hardware and facility function offered as-a-service, VARs and agents must go well beyond basic communications services to include desktops-as-a-service, server virtualization vs. buying servers, and using hosted data centers as opposed to managing your own capex-heavy facilities. Don't forget offerings such as content delivery networks (CDN) and caching and website optimization which your service provider partner has on the menu to help companies drive core business endeavors.
Cover the Waterfront. Through partnerships, take a 360-degree approach to pitching and addressing the many needs of today's large business whether it's a basic service such as wireless or a security-as-a-services network-based firewall offering. Find a partner to perform basic administration of IT assets — or trouble ticketing — for a fee.
Expand their Brand. Remember, by freeing IT staff of reactive maintenance and hardware management, they can pursue efforts that drive business value for their employers. Applying IT staff to extending and optimizing business processes and web-site fueled revenue generation creates far greater bottom-line value.
Keep Current & Attentive. With change the only constant in business and technology, VARs and agents should continually evaluate new and enhanced services — and lesser known and emerging providers — as they apply to delivering simplicity and value.
Addressing emerging challenges, such as data security for those large businesses looking to keep pace with PCI compliance, is the kind of valued assistance that especially helps customers with heavily-taxed IT staff and limited internal resources.
Win One, Pitch Several. After VARs and agents win their first large business account and deliver on promised simplicity, savings and value, they can harness their experience in the sector to pursue countless others companies with their initial "win" as access and a measure of credibility in the sector.
And since large business decision drivers frequently move on before the end of the often long-term contracts to take positions with other large businesses, VARs and agents can have an additional opportunity: helping them repeat their success, which benefits both parties.
The Bottom Line.
Learn the customer's business goals in general or as they apply to vertical market challenges in order to best meet their needs for years to come. Draw on the collective knowledge of the VAR/agent and partners to help large businesses think forward, where possible, to expand their brand,
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