Recently I have been talking to friends and clients—some IT techies, some business users, and senior-level management — about their implementation lifecycles. Out of my discussions, a few key pain points have become very clear. Many companies’ decision-makers do not have the context, resources, or time to make a fully educated decision when it comes to some of their most important IT investments.
Many of them feel that they were sold a truck, and received a compact car, while others feel that they were sold a luxury vehicle when what would have best served them was a reliable station wagon. Ignoring the funny imagery of your IT salespeople as a used car salesman, there are ways for you to minimize your risks, receive significantly less biased information, and reduce the pain of a misconceived product implementation.
This article will detail ten (10) such benefits that can be derived from a good Value-Added Partner (VAP).
Before we start the list, let’s define a Value-Added Partner. A value-added partner is a third-party company that has deep knowledge about the industry, the product(s), and the latest technologies, and is asked to assist in the planning, pre-sales, or sales cycles to make sure that the goals and needs of both companies are aligned.
- Sales teams benefit from VAP’s because they are not restricted to only one source for implementation, price quotes, etc. Very often salespeople are pressured heavily to sell the product company’s implementation team. These teams can be very strong, but they almost always come at significantly higher costs.
- Sales teams can utilize the VAP’s cross-product relationships to identify synergies with other products or functionalities which the customer is already using. This can lead to significantly greater ROI for the customer, and it often streamlines a sales cycle quite a bit.
- VAP’s should always have the latest industry research and trends available to them, and they cull through the millions of pages of facts and data to provide you with the information you need to make an informed IT decision.
- A true VAP should have standing relationships with your potential product’s sales and support teams (usually all the way into upper management) so that they can help direct and facilitate discussions and concerns to the right people. They will help you identify opportunities, keep their ears to the ground and provide feedback regarding the pulse of the project and the client.
- A VAP should be available throughout your implementation. Typically those companies that also specialize in implementing, installing, or supporting the product will have the most vested interest in the overall project’s success.
- Because VAP’s (typically) receive no direct commission from the sale, their primary concern is with the potential implementation project, and the success thereof.
- VAP’s can be much more flexible with their pricing schedules, and by maintaining relationships with many implementation partners, they can help you find the right resources to bring your project to the finish line on time, and under budget. I must stress that I don’t mean the discount firms. I mean proven firms with implementation experience that won’t use fresh college grads to handle your entire complex implementation!
- There’s one more group of people (the VAP’s) just dying to take you out to a ‘free dinner’! This is a joke, but not really; It does usually come with the added benefit of more open channels of communication amongst intercompany leadership.
- A VAP is much more likely to view your enterprise holistically, and they may be privy to other tools or products (reporting, visibility, etc) which are usually addressed as an afterthought to the sales cycle.
- A VAP is, by definition, someone who adds value to your product experience. True partners will go above and beyond to help you fill your needs, wherever they maybe. If you are having trouble hiring resources, deciding on a mobile strategy, or positioning a key change within your company, a VAP will help you bridge your gaps successfully.
By providing information, research, and guidance, VAP’s can make sure that expectations are realistic, that the customer is making an informed decision, and that the sales team is focused on the truly important aspects of the product for the customer. Bridge Solutions is dedicated to being a Value-Added Partner for our existing clients, as well as new and potential clients. Our focus on this concept shapes us to the very core of our company- our Mission Statement. Excerpt from the mission statement:
“Our focus is on enabling and unlocking value in your core business processes. We not only provide IT solutions, but partner with our clients to create and harmonize their competitive advantages. Your IT solutions are there to support your core business, and our team is there to make this possible. By maintaining strong relationships with major technology providers, we ensure that we can bring you the best advice possible about your IT challenges. Whether it’s a matter of making the software work to fit your process, or determining how to change your processes to best utilize the software, we can help you find the most effective balance between people, processes, and IT within your organization.
Through our strong leadership team, our intensive and comprehensive training, and our industry experience, Bridge Solutions will always bring you the skills, advice, and resources that you need to enable your enterprise at every level.”
Bridge Solutions looks forward to an opportunity to partner with your IT group to ensure that you get the best solution for the least cost possible. If your company is in need of a value-added partnership, or your sales team could use some of the benefits listed above, please contact us.
You can email us at: [email protected] or call us at 1.877.245.4347