Guest Column | October 6, 2010

Selling Right The First Time


By Seth Oxhandler, CEO, Coolcat

In an effort to meet the technology needs of clients across a wide spectrum of industries, many VARs juggle an exploding portfolio of products and services in an attempt to address pain points in a variety of situations across network infrastructure. Whether its licensing, security network assessments, co-location, monitoring and management, or content and network security, the need to focus on the desires of each customer, on an ongoing basis, requires close working relationships with multiple vendors and channel partners to deliver best-of-breed solutions at a lower cost.

But this hodgepodge approach with an inherent lack of cohesiveness reflects poorly on solution providers, while exposing them to multiple points of failure, incompatibilities, and exhaustive trial-and-error delays in putting together a well-designed solution. Add to that the need for perpetual learning, and it is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of work involved in developing a solution from the presale engineering phase through final implementation.

One approach to this quagmire is to limit the number of vendors a solutions provider works with, effectively limiting sales opportunities when it cannot meet the extremely high standards of all point solutions across the board. The reseller does a disservice itself and its customers by only fulfilling a portion of the total project. What's worse is that the solutions provider ends up leaving money on the table by not being able to fully satisfy its customers' needs. If the project is not done right the first time, who takes the blame? The reseller. The same person who will also spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make it right – a costly and time-consuming process.

With the issues of data growth, data proliferation, and out-of-control email becoming epidemic at many managed services clients, a better approach is implementing a comprehensive solution to address the fundamental problems associated with managing, controlling, and quickly accessing unstructured data. By advocating a solution with a single architecture to incorporate data storage, archiving, backup, compliance and more, a reseller can reduce the disparate IT projects needed and the complexity and costs involved with managing and supporting information growth.

Rather than implementing a variety of point products to address specific issues, resellers need to focus on the bigger picture and minimize costly and complex technology infrastructure that fails to solve the base problem and provide business value. For example, a complete content management solution provides structure to unstructured data and transforms data into valuable content that can be put into context for the company for strategic advantage, resolving more than one problem at a time.

In today's competitive marketplace, it isn't as much about how many things you sell as much as it is how well your solutions benefit your customers. An all-in-one solution that minimizes complexity, management, and costs is far more beneficial in your portfolio than a plethora of offerings from a wide variety of vendors. By selling right the first time, resellers will be able to ensure their customers are able to operate as efficiently and intelligently as possible by making IT a strategic advantage rather than a necessary expense.