Five rules for choosing the perfect IT distribution partner

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Over the last ten years or so, an IT distributor’s value has mainly been tied with its ability to provide the right product or service at the lowest price – but this has changed significantly in recent years. Indeed, we’ve seen things revert back to the way relationships were configured in the 90s. The reason behind this shift is the huge growth and development in data analytics. In today’s age, more and more resellers are looking to their partners, both vendors and distributors, to provide them with the “market intelligence” to identify revenue opportunities in the end-user marketplace.

The question is, how does a reseller know which distribution partner to pick? What are the intangibles that separate one from another? Finding one that’s directly aligned with your business objectives can be the key to transforming your company’s go-to-market strategy and, ultimately, your bottom line. Whether you’re looking for bespoke marketing, extensive expertise or faster market penetration, there are several factors to consider. We’ve drawn on experience to outline five areas that resellers must consider when seeking out a potential IT distribution partner.

Brand awareness

A successful IT distributor will have invested the time in establishing its brand and creating awareness through sales and marketing. Its reputation will be built on outstanding service delivery as well as targeting the right audience for the reseller, making this partner stand out in a crowded marketplace. In other words, an effective IT distribution partner should be known among your customers and be able to generate leads, achieved through creative campaigns and large-scale events. A really great IT distribution partner will help you, as the reseller, engage with your desired customer base and promote your brand too.

A variety of services and support

As a reseller, finding a distributor that has your best interests at heart is key. They need to understand your business objectives and support you in reaching them. The backing of a reliable IT distributor will help to overcome any challenges and provide immediate support which will give you peace of mind and benefit your company’s reputation. A leading distributor will have long-lasting, personal relationships with the vendors they engage with – ensuring that services can be rolled out effectively and any problems quickly rectified for the end-user.

Track Record

One of the most important things to do when assessing potential partners is to look at what they’ve achieved. Ask around and find out what people are saying about a given distributor - this will tell you a lot about its services and ability to deliver results. A stellar reputation and client satisfaction are decisive indicators that a company is good to work with and will be of value to your business. In conjunction with steady growth, and a history of retained vendors, these are reassuring signs that you should be present in a potential IT distribution partner.

Look for a niche

Outlining goals for your progress as a reseller is important to make sure that your business is sustainable and successful in the long run. It is crucial for any company to have a clear go-to-market strategy that can be executed properly – problems can arise when this process becomes overly complicated. Engaging with an IT distribution partner with in-depth knowledge of niche areas can help to establish you as an expert and increase your market share. Distributors with extensive experience in a given industry or location can help you penetrate the market faster and reach far more customers.

Enjoy Good Chemistry

Success is reliant on the right relationships. The IT market is fast-paced and ever-changing so, as a reseller, being able to call on trusted partners and being familiar with the latest trends or systems is important. What’s the best way to do this? Find an IT distribution partner that knows the newest and most innovative solutions for your customers’ problems. They can keep you up to date with the latest cyber-security trends, cloud services and workplace mobility. In turn, you can educate and provide your customer with what works best for their needs.

Choosing the right IT distribution partner can help you benefit from lots of business solutions, but there’s much more to it than just finding a recognisable name. Think of it as a dating game, in which both parties evaluate each other to establish whether the other makes a good fit. Once you find someone who wants to work with you as much as you want to work with them, then you know you’ve found “the one”.

Michael O’Hara is Group MD at DataSolutions