Step 1: Web Presence
It is obvious by now that your web site is the biggest window to showcase your company. You are what your web site says about you! As such, it should be as exciting as possible to present the strongest possible image of your company. Take a good hard look at your web site. Ask your colleagues, friends and clients to give you honest feedback. Get an assessment done to help you identify your issues and to benchmark your score.
On average, VARs tell us that they would rank their web site a 4 out of 10. Is that the image you really want to project to your clients? If it really looks that bad, close it and put up a sign “under reconstruction to serve you better”, then fix it ASAP. Showing a poor image may be worst than showing no image! And remember, 80% of the cost is in updating of your content, so ensure you get a tool that is easy to maintain and secure.
Step 2: Accounting
Many VARs overlook their accounting system, but this is a mission-critical part of the business. If your current system has run its course, then it’s time to upgrade. Billing for services has to be on time, accurate and accountable. Mining business data to make better decisions will grow sales. Mobility aspects are also a big time-saver for businesses. Protecting your clients’ data and other compliance regulations also need to be considered. Remember you can be liable for customer information breeches. Your accounting system should also connect with other systems to exchange vital data.
Should your system reside in the Cloud or remain in-house? New online services allow you to have the application with an actual accountant virtually managing all activities. With recurring billing of managed services that are based on consumption or SLA, it may be wise to have a system that will help you manage the process. You could add an app that will allow you to generate graphical reports that best explain your current financial situation so you can adjust your strategy. A solid accounting/ERP solution will help your business on many levels.
Step 3: Service Ticketing
Most VARs do some type of services so an automated service ticketing system will save a lot of time and keep clients satisfied. As you expand to a recurring revenue business model, you will want to have an efficient way of managing service requests, your team and reporting.
You could go with full-blown professional service automation tools, however, there are simpler service-ticketing solutions available to get you started. It all depends on your needs and size of company. Having your service ticketing integrated with your e-commerce platform and accounting system may also help you streamline the process better. There are also some great add-on tools that allow you to get more value from PSA solutions.
Step 4: Supply Chain Procurement
Hardware items are mostly low margins so you do need to reduce your touch points to make money. This process is now to a point where you can electronically push an order to a distributor for drop shipment to your end-user in less than five seconds. When you make the procurement of hardware more cost-effective, you can easily add services to generate more profits.
Having the ability to check price and availability in real-time from suppliers will maximize fulfillment rates and profitability. With one web dashboard to manage and purchase all products from all suppliers, you can save hours every day. You can also extend a web store to your B2B or B2C end-users to browse and buy 24/7. With e-commerce tools, you can manage this process automatically and literally reduce 80% of your workload.
Step 5: IT Professional Consultation and Business Assessments
If you really want to become a trusted business advisor to your clients then consider a tool that will help your sales and tech teams to be able to offer more professional business consultation. It is practically impossible for a human to evaluate all the needs of a business without the proper knowledge and support. Replicating this skill throughout your team is also difficult. With this tool, you can also add your own expertise to build your knowledge base and ultimately, your net worth. You need to see this tool in action to see the benefits.
This same tool will help you to onboard new employees faster as it supports the training requirements and transfer of knowledge. This tool is great for assessing business practices in over 150 areas. You can quickly get started with the 40 key topics and short assessments. This is completely different from end-point and network assessment and discovery tools! Learn the differences and how all of these tools can be combined to help you become a top IT Consultant.
Step 6: Technical IT Assessments
Doing IT assessments are always a great way to uncover sales opportunities with your clients. You can easily leverage these tools and reports to open powerful conversations about deficiencies and risks in your client’s IT infrastructure.
Launching a tool that will automatically extract all relevant data from a current network system will quickly identify the areas that are in need of technical improvement. With a full inventory of your customers’ assets, you will be in a great position to keep them compliant and entrench deeper as a true Business Advisor. There are many assessment tools available and some are expanding to penetrate even deeper into the infrastructure of the company. You may need to use a combination of these tools to get the best results.
Step 7: CRM
CRM in your brain or e-mail system is not best practice. CRM is critical if you wish to leverage your customer base. It allows you to grow sales within current clients. Many have a CRM tool. Unfortunately, most have failed to get the results. The problem is in the adoption rates by sales people. If it requires too many steps or effort to use, then it is probably not working for your company.
There is a tool that can lay over your current CRM system (eg, SalesForce or Dynamics) to make it easier to use and grow the adoption rates as well as results. Or, you can get a new CRM tool that will allow your sales reps to easily use and leverage to grow sales. Regardless, of which you choose, it is important to your business because we know that VARs with a solid CRM tool and process will win more business than VARs without.
Step 8: Electronic Quotes
Quickly generating electronic quotes and sending to clients will drive more sales and faster closing cycles. The client will receive the e-quote and make adjustments before sending it back for processing. Quoting every sales inquiry will help you close more deals and better manage sales activities. It will also help you to build your customer prospect database.
It is simple. When any inquiry comes in, ask for the prospect’s contact information and tell them you will check for availability and the best price and send to them by e-mail or text. When you have a tool that can help you build and send a quote in seconds, your prospect will be impressed and it will send a powerful image of your business. The reasons are many for ensuring that you have an efficient and effective quoting tool. Over 80% of your quotes will be simple so ensure that the quoting tool is easy and convenient to use.
Step 9: Cloud Applications
VARs need to find and build their suite of Cloud solutions to offer their clients. With over 2,000 Cloud apps and counting, it is not easy to pick the right partner. You also need to be careful of vendors that want to take away the ownership of your customer. You will want to look at a tool that will help you to manage all Cloud apps under a single dashboard that you control. Private-label as much as possible to protect the relationship with your customer.
Out of the box, you can have a private-labeled tool to showcase a solid range of popular Cloud applications that you can start selling and provisioning immediately. Add other Cloud apps to complete your specific offering. Integrate with your web and social media presence to generate awareness and sales. If you are going to do Cloud, and you should, this is the best way to jump-start the journey.
Step 10: RMM – Managed Services
You will need to have your business processes in order before embarking on this journey. Just selling services without a proper strategy and plan to execute can quickly lead to a business disaster. Managed services require a streamlined (lower operating cost) business process to maximize profit. You want less touch from your tech team and more automation to prevent services calls. It is actually a reverse of the traditional break-fix model (which is still viable today).
You also want to prioritize base on what services will generate the most impact on your business and your ability to deliver. Managed Services/RMM tools will require a certain skill to do correctly. Done right, you can be billing customers a recurring revenue for services with minimal resources. Research your competition and ease into managed services. Most RMM and PSA companies have a wealth of best practice information, methodologies and support to help you get started.
Step 11: BYOD
Helping your clients to manage their data security risks resulting from mobile devices that employees bring to work is lucrative business. We all understand the big picture of having security breeches in a company’s data and mobility simply amplifies the issue to the nth degree. Ringing the alarm with some assessments and reports may be just enough to convince the end-user to invest in managing mobile devices. BYOD companies have great tools to help make the case.
The trend could morph into a 2-mobile devices solution as businesses are starting to decide which devices to give to each employee to use. If the company’s security risks and the employee’s right to privacy can coexist on the BYOD stage, then long live BYOD. If not, the 2-devices strategy may prevail. Regardless, VARs must get into the business of helping their clients solve the BYOD puzzle.
Step 12: Coaching
Your employees are the most valuable assets in your company. As such, keeping them up-to-speed with skills will only make your business stronger. The value of continued education and coaching should never be underestimated. Just this alone can motivate employees to work harder and stay longer. With the right coaching you can get new employees to hit the ground running with greater results.
There is no downside to providing good coaching to employees. When people see that you invest in their education, it sends a clear message of support and care. Training without on-going coaching is less effective. Ensure that the knowledge acquired gets a chance to digest and put into practice by the employee. Coaching for sales and management are fundamental, but leadership, strategy, marketing, financial and others skills are just as important.
Take these steps now: Contact us. Check off the tools and services that are of interest to you or simply put the step number into the comment box and submit. We will send you information and schedule a demo. You may also checkout our events to see the upcoming webinars or live events that you can attend to check out these tools live.