The evolution from product-focused sales to Dynamic Value Partnerships (DVP) in the VAR space has gone from zero to 120 miles per hour quickly. Why? Because no matter what side of the equation you are on – VAR, consulting firm, solutions integrator – the value is obvious when you realize that for every dollar earned from managed services, an additional $2.4 of additional business is generated.
What does that mean? You don’t choose to jump to managed services just for the sake of doing it and getting the higher margins that come with it (although, as I have said in previous posts, you need to move to managed services to survive). In today’s fiercely competitive fast-paced world of technology, you need to consider the amount of additional business managed services brings from the ongoing relationship you have with the customer and your daily interactions.
I liken it to buying from a specific car dealership. Why do you go to one dealership rather than another? A Ford is a Ford, so it shouldn’t matter. Right? You choose your dealership based on your relationship and trust of that dealer. Then, if the dealership adds on services – car detailing, maintenance, etc. – you are more likely to choose it for those services.
You are like that trusted dealership — a trusted advisor to your customer. Soon enough, they are asking your advice. You may hear, “Hey, we are downsizing,” or “We are thinking of an acquisition and may sell off something to do so,” or “This is where our business needs to go. Can you help us get there?”
In addition, because you are working with your client every day, you can bring greater value and even be the person who raises red flags for that client in terms of changes in the marketplace or areas that you see need to grow, change, scale or evolve. You can help them identify business and technical issues that may be on the horizon. Depending on the client, there may not even be an RFP for add-on business.
How do you get there? First, you have to put the right person in place with the customer. You need someone who is operationally minded and understands pre-sales, but is attached at the hip to the sales account team. That person would be on the quarterly business review, engage in the preparatory work for the quarterly reviews, be involved in account planning, etc.
You also need the right strategy in place to be able to implement an effective, scalable managed services solution for your customers. More and more organizations understand the value of Comstor’s Jetstream solution as a way to save the time and money that it would take them to create a solution themselves. VARs know that the market is changing rapidly.
If you decide to build your technology, your NOC or even your managed services solution from scratch, by the time you get it built you have a white elephant. You are building for today while the market is moving to tomorrow. Moreover, you will be on the wrong side of cash flow for a long time.
The way Comstor’s Jetstream solution is structured, the VAR brings the customer knowledge and the intimacy with the customer’s business and continues to be the face of trusted advisor. The main place the DVP comes into the picture in Jetstream is on the back end and is invisible to the customer.
With Jetstream, you also get the “factory” you need behind the offering. For example, you get the entire go-to-market package from Executive Relevance Selling (ERS) for your sales team, training for managed services, strategy, and the onboarding of your business (billing, for example). We create the job descriptions the VARs need to get the right people in the right positions quickly. VARs also get collateral, SOWs, pricing models, compensation plans, and anything and everything they can think of to support their move into DVP so they can move quickly into the managed services space without reinventing everything.
As a VAR, you can find offerings out there that may say the same things, but here are a few key things you should expect from your DVP:
1. Is it Cisco certified?
2. Is the service best in class for enterprise?
3. Are all process integrated and deliverable ready?
4. Is your managed services provider looking ahead for you to the next big thing so you can offer that to your customer?
5. Is the service set up to be strategic and scalable?
6. Does the distributor have a wide network of providers to plug into the offering so you do not have to cobble something together on your own?
When you choose a company to work with for your managed services solution, you should not have to create anything more than that trusted advisor relationship with the customer. Make sure your distributor or DVP provider is as trusted as you are and is serving in the same capacity to you as you are to the end customer.