We did a quick scan of our internal database and we found over 1,000 white papers on all sorts of technology topics. They all have one thing in common. They all point back to a specific brand as the solution. In that sense, we could label them as a research flavored infomercial.
Almost always, companies use white papers to get your contact information in return for a free download. This is a fair exchange because you do get something of perceived value or interest in return for your contact information. Competitors will most likely get access to the white paper and quickly leverage to tweak their messages and improve their sales pitch.
I will not go down the path to explore the potential manipulation of data to better fit the outcome that vendors would like to see. Except to say that one could easily keep redoing the survey over and over until they reach the desired results. Or, what if the company simply fudges the data to get what they want. Certainly not every white paper falls under this dark shadow, but how do you really know?
We all know that some very famous accounting firms played with the numbers of many big companies as they did get caught. If reputable companies can do this level of data manipulation, what could they do to white papers as simple marketing tools?
The good news is that all white papers always have some essence of truth, as it would otherwise be discarded. It is really up to the reader to ascertain truth from fiction. That said, white papers could be a great resource from which VARs can extract valuable content that was very well written, to make their case. This is probably the main value that VARs can get from white papers!
Someone spent a lot of time, effort and money to produce the white paper and as such, they are usually some of the best-written documents. Why not use it to help make your case to your clients? Just ensure you review and adapt the message to your needs and you should always reference the white paper publisher. The downside is that the white paper may also reference a specific brand so you do need to connect the dots or it may raise more questions from your client.
From our feedback, VARs rarely make purchasing or partnership decisions based on white papers. Most do not read them anyway. Regardless of what VARs think, they could leverage white papers in many ways such as the obvious sales proposals, but also for their web site. Why not offer white papers to your visitors through your web site in return for their contact information? Do what vendors do! You will need some permission from the author, a contact form and a way to send file. Not too hard to do on any web site.
The VAR Office Suite ibiz10 e-commerce platform has the provision to load up white papers and offer to visitors if they set up an account. Yet another way that VARs can generate qualified sales leads!
The bottom line is your vendors are busy churning out white papers with brilliant content that can help you in your sales pitch. Regardless of its absolute accuracy, VARs can leverage the tool to drive sales.