The VAR industry is a lucrative place to be – that is if you know how to gain the advantage over your competitors. But in a business rife with tight profit margins, complexity and competition, how are you going to come out ahead? You need to not only differentiate yourself through an impeccable service offering, but you need to be able to effectively measure and protect margins, with systems in place that run smoothly and keep all of your teams on the same page at all times. The profit – process – and customer-focused VAR will be crowned king.
Here are five actions the most successful VARs take to help their company not just survive, but thrive in today’s environment.
1.) Maximize your margins: Use a quote tool that’s built on top of your Supply Chain Management (SCM) information, giving you margin visibility at the quote level. With the right quote tool, all of the necessary data regarding pricing, inventory and previously negotiated customer agreements will be right there at the salesperson’s fingertips, updated on a real-time basis.
2.) Remove barriers to speed and efficiency: Aka stop using so many spreadsheets or stand-alone tools to manage various aspects of operations. Having all of your information on one platform isn’t simply convenient; it’s actually vital to the success of your business. When your quote tool is built on your SCM, Sales can give quotes based on accurate pricing and preferred suppliers, eliminating costly mistakes that are time-consuming to fix. Meanwhile, your SCM and Professional Services Automation (PSA) integrate with your billing app, ensuring accurate, consolidated and timely billing of goods and services – as well as faster payments.
3.) Keep your customers coming back for more: With an all-in-one SCM app that’s integrated with your billing platform, it’s easy to make your customer feel supported. You can immediately send order acknowledgments to catch errors on the front-end, rather than wait for everything to be delivered to find out something is wrong. A 360 degree customer view makes it simple to track order history down to the serial number, giving Sales the opportunity for further outreach – for example, when products are discontinued. And quotes and invoices always match, building customer confidence and trust.
4.) Prioritize internal and external communications: With so many moving parts in the procure-to-pay and quote-to-cash processes, it’s essential that all the players are on the same page – from your suppliers to your sales reps to your billing department, and everyone in between. With an all-in-one SCM/Billing/PSA platform, your company and your suppliers all benefit from a full 360 degree view of each customer. Not only are sales reps and suppliers looking at the same information, the supplier catalog is giving them the most up-to-date view. Sales can give better quotes and suppliers can better handle fulfillment, while unnecessary conversations are eliminated. And a better view into profit margins makes it easier to dictate future business strategy.
5.) Make compliance a non-issue: Get rid of manual processes. Compliance is too complex – and too important. With thousands of sales tax jurisdictions and taxability rules, it’s key to have your SCM system integrate with an app that is designed to keep track of it all. And when that app talks to your billing system, you can rest assured that tax and compliance will be streamlined and accurate.
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