At the recent CompTIA conference in Toronto, VAR Office Suite hosted a panel discussion to showcase three of its members for HR, Marketing and Sales. It’s part of a comprehensive resource that helps VARs, MSPs and ITSPs to better streamline, manage and market their businesses.

“It is great going to conferences to learn the latest trends and technologies. Then you go back to you office, trying to find the time and enthusiasm that you need to proceed with the first steps of implementation. This is hard work that not every VAR can afford”, was the opening statement of Julian Lee, president of Technoplanet (who hosted this panel discussion).

“With VAR Office Suite we are taking the guesswork out, as the tools of VAR Office Suite are already tested in the field, pre-approved and ready to be implemented by any VAR, MSP or ITSP business. Our solution partners are experts in the IT industry and experienced in identifying the most urgent needs of a business. HR, Marketing and Sales are just three of the thirty solutions that VAR Office Suite offers, “ added Julian.

Aline Ayoub, President of Ayoub HR Consulting, talked about the benefits of doing HR right. Hiring the right people for your business saves time and expenses. More importantly, it will impact your business positively, right out of the gate. The worst thing that a company can do is hire the wrong person and having to start over the process six months later.

Aline commented, “hiring costs can easily get out of hand. Getting the right candidate to fit your business culture or hiring a millennial is a challenge, especially with 4 generations now working together. And, do not forget the employment regulations that you must follow to stay out of trouble. An HR professional can help you with all this and more”.

The interview process will only reveal about 10% of the information that you need to make the decision, as candidates will most likely tell you only what you want to hear. Doing a deeper assessment is important to get the best-fit addition to your team.

Digital marketing and the importance of a marketing plan was the next topic that was discussed. Dan Wensley, President of Plan 27, talked about the need for businesses to do marketing right and that starts with a good plan. Simply doing marketing activities without a clear plan is hit or miss. He also recommend that VARs, MSPs and ITSPs pay close attention to all of their digital assets, as these are what their prospects are looking at.

A marketing program takes time to germinate, however from day one you can and should monitor the leading indicators important for success. In the case of digital marketing these lead indicators are the volume of impressions desired and documented in the plan. Your plan should not just have your budget and total leads but each factor it will take to generate that lead. This ensures you can identify each of the marketing factors and activities that ensure success.

“Building a marketing plan and formula that produces consistent and repeatable results can be accomplished, if you take the time to understand the key performance indicators (KPI’s) establish benchmarks and reporting against them. Successful marketing begins with a plan, demands execution and requires management.” commented Dan Wensley.

Rick McCutcheon a CRM and Sales Process expert and President of Full Contact Selling, rounded out the discussion by stressing the importance of having well-trained sales person with a solid process and a proper CRM tool to keep everything well organized and managed. Rick pointed out “Increasing your close rates by just a few percentage points could double your sales!”

Having a mediocre sales person that constantly find a lot of justifications as to why their deals are not closing is a sure sign that sales coaching may be required. In many cases, if they have the aptitude, you can turn them into a great sales person (with some professional coaching and proper management).

“Nowadays many sales professionals use LinkedIN as one of their main sales hunting tools. They can quickly find the right prospects and communicate with them at the same time they research their company and connections. Combined with their web sites, they get tons of information that helps them qualify the client successfully. This type of social selling is a big part of the future”, said, Rick McCutcheon

“It takes over 7 times to touch a client before they start to engage in the sales process. Many sales reps give up after about 3 instances. When you consider the amount of marketing hits that are required just to get the prospect just take notice of you, combined with the number of follow ups required to close the deal, you will understand that patience and persistence are the key drivers for success.” Added Julian.

The bottom line message was:

1. Hire the right people in the first place
2. Plan the right marketing strategy to generate the right qualified sales leads
3. Provide your best trained and motivated sales team with the right tools to close the deals

Julian commented, “We selected these three services to showcase because it will impact the business of the channel the fastest and it is something that most every VAR, MSP and ITSP need. That said there are another 27 tools and services that they also need to maximize success. Start by doing just one thing right”.

These three things are at the heart of just about every business, regardless of size. It is also something that most of the delegates attending the conference indicated that they needed some help to manage. Being a VAR or MSP is difficult enough to digest the emerging technologies and selecting the right solutions. They need to get their businesses processes streamlined. The need to do more effective marketing with limited budgets and resources. They also need to get their sales team doing the right follow up and account management to close more deals.

If any one of these activities is done incorrectly, it could mean the difference between success and failure. VARs, MSPs and ITSPs need to find the right support, tools and experts to help them get the job done right. They simply do not have the time or experience to do these tasks properly (on their own). This is exactly why VAR Office Suite exists.

Julian makes a last comment, “The job of building a bigger, better and stronger business never ends. Every day, we see more VARs leverage the tools of VAR Office Suite to benefit their business. We are delighted to be part of helping VARs to improve their businesses and transition into a recurring revenue model”.

The VAR Office Suite resource also includes e-commerce, assessment tools, PSA, RMM, Accounting, CRM and much more. It helps VARs, MSPs and ITSPs to find, test and select the right tools and services for your needs. It also offers an online test to help them determine their strengths and weaknesses so they can build a customized path to success. If you are ready for the first steps to improve your business, go to www.varofficesuite.com and learn more. Ask about upcoming webinars.