30 March 2016
The old adage goes “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve got”. For IT resellers, it’s no longer enough to simply provide a single IT solution. Customers’ demands are becoming increasingly complex, meaning in order to remain competitive, resellers need to diversity their offerings while remaining true to their status of being experts in their field.
This shift from being a focused IT reseller to providing complete communications solutions is crucial in moving forward. Yet it’s this same step that is causing them concern. While resellers are finding value in branching into telecoms, they are simultaneously apprehensive about treading into what was traditionally a siloed arena.
Change in business is rarely easy – but it is essential. Here are some common obstacles IT resellers face when moving into telecoms, and how to overcome them.
Challenge #1 – Understanding demand is difficult
Tip: Talk to your existing customers
Instead of analysing competitors or working to develop a new client base, the first step resellers should take is to talk with existing clients.
Resellers should take advantage of already having strong, existing relationships with their customers. After all, it’s these continuing relationships that make a successful service provider. The key steps are to scope out customers’ future ambitions, analyse their pain points and see how cloud telephony can help. Using both this feedback and existing expertise, resellers can offer informed advice on adding a new product to their portfolio with minimal risk.
Challenge #2 – Initiating business change is hard
Tip: Make the formal business case
Having a formal case for change will align leadership and teams. By being transparent about the reasons to transition to telecoms (and the risks behind not diversifying) IT resellers can expect a smoother move into the market.
Resellers should outline how the shift will affect sales and strategies, and what training will be provided to ensure everyone is confident with the new product. Change is always met with hesitation. By ensuring the confidence in moving to telecoms comes from the top down, resellers can expect the new challenge to motivate and inspire the rest of the team.
Challenge #3 – Not having the right expertise
Tip: Upskill staff
While IT resellers may be comfortable selling and serving IT products, entering telecoms seems like it will require considerable on boarding of new staff. Though hiring new staff with the right expertise is the most direct solution, it may not always be the quickest or most financially viable one. Looking for the right talent can be time consuming, and people with the most desirable skills often demand a considerable salary.
Instead, IT resellers should look to upskill their existing staff. After all, they already have transferrable sales, engineering and support skills.
Challenge #4: Not being known for telephony
Tip: Get accredited
While IT resellers may be known for being trusted advisors in the IT space, it may be difficult to also be known for their telephony expertise. However, reputable cloud-telephony providers will offer training, support and accreditation programs in order for resellers to gain the confidence and skills they need to successfully include telecoms into their portfolio. They can also use their expertise to advise on marketing and sales strategy, helping sellers better understand how telecoms can be bundled with their existing IT products and services.
30 March 2016 | Justin Coombes
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.