10 VARs Who Stood The Test Of Time, And How They Did It

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Mark Melillo

CEO, Melillo Consulting

Somerset, N.J.
Founded: 1988

I don't know if there’s any one secret to longevity. We’ve done a good job hiring quality people over the years. I truly believe that at the end of the day, we have a team of people better than competitors. That certainly helps.

We run a business. It’s not a mom and pop shop, but we put energy into treating employees right. We try to create that stickiness.

For 22 years, we’ve been successful. Not every quarter or every year, but by and large we’ve been successful. We’re aggressive but not overly aggressive so when the downturns hit it hurts us but it has not killed us. Each one of has produced four or five years of solid business on the way up. Each time [a downturn] comes, we brace ourselves and get through it and pick back up on the other side.

Fundamentally, it’s the same business as it was 22 years ago. We’re solutions-oriented, selling hardware, software and services. The solutions have changed dramatically. Your focus changes with that. Some of the products have become more standard, more commoditized, and you have to know that. When you’re selling big iron and it’s complex there’s a lot of margin in it and you can sell that one way. As you sell other pieces of the portfolio, it’s more transactionally oriented, but not as complex and you don’t want to spend the same amount of time on that sale.

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