Many Technology Reseller Companies try to be all things to all people. What I mean by that is if a customer asks for it – you sell it. Companies and the sales people that practice this model of “customer support” are doing themselves no favors. Why? Because you are removing the “Value” from Value Added Reseller.
Take a stand – pick the technology that you believe is best and have solid reasons to support the decision. Your value to your customers should be that you understand both their business and the best technology to fit their needs. If the customer is choosing the newest or a brand that your company does not sell, your job is to make recommendations based on their environment and what they are trying to accomplish.
Many technologies resellers will claim that by being agnostic, that they are the better vendor for the clients, choosing the “best” technology for the situation. I contend that you as the Reseller are not making the choice, merely responding to the demand. That puts you in a place of weakness, as you can be easily replaced. Replaced by a better price, replaced by a better relation and replaced by someone that really is providing the consulting expertise on what would support the client’s needs the best.
Another position resellers will take claims that if they do not selling everything the client wants, it potentially opens the door for competitors. Let’s be realistic, competitors are selling to your clients everyday. Welcome the opportunity to compete by providing more knowledge and value. Battles may be lost, but in the long run the war is won by you.
To clarify, I am not proposing that you resell or commit to a single vendor. I propose you build your line card based on complimentary technology that you consider best of breed. Choose the relationships carefully based on the combination of capabilities of the technology first, the applicability to your existing client base would be a very close second, and then the sales support capabilities of the vendor. Is there a reason why you would want to have competitive vendors such as EMC and Hitachi as your storage partners? Possibly (but not recommended). If there is a good reason, make sure it is known to your clients and the vendors so that expectations on all sides are met.
Having a simplified line card also can help your sales team be more productive. They are able to focus on a smaller number of products and deliver a more concise message of value to your clients and prospects. You can still include new and upcoming vendors or technologies to augment your capabilities and differentiate your company. Key with these types of products is they need to augment your core business and give you a reason to re-engage with dormant client.
Bottom line from a song by Everclear:
You try to be everything to everyone
You know all the right people
You play all the right games
You always try to be everything to everyone