Avnet Promotes Solutions Selling to Channel Partners

Avnet Technology Solutions, the distribution arm of Avnet Inc., has published a white paper investigating market conditions driving channel partners toward solutions selling, suggesting that resellers re-frame their businesses to operate more as trusted advisors to their customers.

The white paper identifies key factors driving solutions selling such as hardware and software commoditization, an uptick in IT spending, a trend to streamline data centers, legislation promoting IT solutions, green technology, cost reduction projects and security/compliance issues.

"Current trends and predictions suggest the future of the IT channel will be primarily about selling and delivering solutions that span the data center, and less about point product technologies as it has been in the past," the report said.

Customers want solution providers to bring to the table IT expertise in planning, strategy and management more than specific technical capabilities, the report said. Most believe that a solution provider's understanding of their business is critical to the relationship.

Many customers are willing to pay extra for solution providers who possess particular knowledge in their industry, offering a premium for custom application development and systems integration, the paper said.

Avnet's report also points channel partners in the direction of newly emerging industries such as cloud computing.

"The ancestors of the Cloud--application service providers (ASPs), managed service providers (MSPs) and on-demand utility computing providers--have been hanging around the fringes of the industry for 5 - 10 years," the paper said. "But what we are talking about today is a mainstream gold rush to Cloud computing--in just the past 18 months.!"

Avnet counsels channel partners that evolving to a new business model means that "sales processes, technical knowledge and compensation must be aligned with solutions selling. This shift is not a 'flip of the switch,' and may, in fact, take up to 12 months."

The distributor's white paper offers channel partners that to compete in today's marketplace, they must "elevate their role to a trusted business advisor who can offer customers business solutions that span the data center rather than simply selling commoditized products."



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