When building a value-added reseller, or VAR, business it is critical to look for new areas of opportunity. Client needs change, customer segments evolve. Even your own interests and capabilities will progress over time until the business you founded may take on an entirely different look. As a result, it is both natural and healthy to explore new ways to grow. Sometimes this means looking to new markets, new geographies, and new verticals. And sometimes this means looking at how supplemental and complimentary services can expand upon what you are already offering to your clients.
The idea of adding complementary services within your portfolio is hardly a new concept. The very idea of a VAR is to take a base service or solution and add something to it, creating more value for the end client. After all, that is what the “A” stands for in the first place!
But all too often VARs have a blind spot on what types of things actually fit well with their core offerings. Value-added resellers often come to us and say, “We are struggling to find new ways to add value” when really what they are saying is, “we are struggling to think outside the box and find new ways to add value.”
Understanding the Value of Complementary Services
Complimentary services aren’t just about adding the next logical thing to your offerings. For example, offering penetration testing alongside your security monitoring services makes a lot of sense. In doing so you are providing a logical entry point (penetration testing) to set up a potential sale of another service (security monitoring). As another example, offering System Administration services alongside your infrastructure solutions also makes a lot of sense.
But why? In both cases your VAR has the opportunity to generate more revenue in a single relationship, which is great from a business sense. But in offering these services that fit so well together, you are giving clients a holistic solution. In other words, they won’t have to use multiple vendors to solve a single problem.
In today’s business climate, trends towards vendor consolidation put your VAR at risk if you aren’t offering a suite of complementary services. Clients don’t want to have multiple vendors, multiple invoices, and multiple relationships to manage to get the solution they need. Rather, they want a single-point of accountability and responsibility that they can rely on simply to get the work done.
As a result, it is critical that VARs recognize complementary services aren’t just about generating more revenue and finding more sales opportunities but are also about client retention and keeping customers from having a wandering eye towards more full-suite providers.
Leveraging Complementary Services for VAR Business Growth
Understanding that the right suite of services increases client satisfaction and revenue isn’t news. But finding the right services to put together eludes many organizations. And this is why finding new areas of opportunity in your offerings can provide a true competitive advantage for your VAR.
As an example, consider the small business connectivity space. There is substantial competition among companies that offer internet, telephony, and infrastructure. Many of these companies have combined disparate service offerings (reselling) and added value through installation, management, maintenance, and support. There is most certainly value in what has been combined and enhanced for clients.
But large conglomerates like Verizon and Comcast offer similar solutions AS WELL AS hosting/infrastructure and business email. This is certainly not a suggestion that every VAR in the telephony space should try and offer every solution provided by larger, better funded companies. It is, however, a suggestion that there is opportunity to package other complementary services in a way that helps stand out from such competition. In this scenario, imagine a VAR that, in addition to connectivity and telephony, a VAR offered application support around common small business software applications. Now, instead of being a connectivity provider facing competition from well-established companies, a differentiation is in place that establishes our example VAR as more of a small-business suite of services provider.
Translating Complementary Services to Growth
Adding complementary services not only helps increase client retention and spend but also inherently establish a differentiation between your VAR business and those with whom you compete. By combining different services together you are breaking convention and carving your own path. What types of services should your VAR be exploring? Consider the following ideas:
- Infrastructure providers moving above the OS to provide application support or engineering expertise.
- Hardware resellers providing not just installation services, warranty, and maintenance but also disposal or resell services for the hardware being replaced.
- Software providers offering training and license management.
- ERP integrators offering ongoing support and underlying infrastructure management.
The point in expanding the services you offer isn’t just about quantity or even quality. It’s about fit in a way that best combines your capabilities with what your customers and clients will be most drawn to and utilize.
The best way for you to find the right complementary services for your value-added reseller business is to talk to those that have experienced a similar journey. While competitors might not be the best avenue for these conversations, you might be surprised how open and willing to chat other companies in your sector are. Why? Because those companies are also looking for partnerships that can help build their businesses. And that’s an important point to understand: not all of business is a zero-sum game. Alliances and partnerships can take many forms and oftentimes those combinations strengthen both businesses.
An Alliance Your VAR Can Count On
At Connectria, we’ve spent the better part of two decades working with value-added resellers in a wide range of industries and sectors. Our expertise is in developing holistic solutions that serve the needs of the most demanding industries. And our experience is that the more problems we can help solve for clients, the higher the heights we are able to drive our own business. However, we don’t go it alone, instead choosing to partner with organizations that offer complementary services to our own. These partnerships provide opportunity for all parties, resellers, providers and clients to grow and ultimately succeed. If your VAR business is interested in better understanding how the right partnership opportunities can help supercharge your business contact us now. Our team is eager to learn more about your growth goals and how combining forces in the market can help you reach them.