As a technology provider, your data is one of your most valuable assets. Everyone in the channel – whether you’re a Vendor, Distributor, Value Added Reseller, or Service Provider, would be privy to incredibly valuable information. If managed right, this data can be leveraged to create additional value for your business.
Can You Trust Your Data?
Before I get into detail about how to leverage your data, it’s important that we tackle the issue of data integrity – because, if you can’t trust your data, it’s virtually useless.
Often, when I speak to technology providers, they’re fairly confident about their data integrity, because they believe that the bulk of the information sits within their CRM/ERP system(s) and is updated regularly.
However, when we start breaking it down into every possible data set beyond just customer contact details/sales – such as point of sale information, price books, part numbers, part descriptions, weights, cubic measurements, options, service and maintenance contract dates and consumption data, just to name a few, we start seeing a different picture.
If any of this data is sitting across various different silos within your business, there is always the risk of data duplication, human error and major inconsistencies. Like pieces to a jigsaw puzzle, if the data is not in consolidated into a central location, how do you achieve a complete, accurate and informed picture of each customer or product lifecycle?
Data integrity is about trust in the data through ALL of the process steps. To tackle this issue, you must do away with spreadsheets and multiple disparate systems that lack integration.
How can VARs, SPs, and Distributors Use Their Data?
With access to direct customer data, VARs, Service Providers and even Distributors can create a competitive advantage not only with their customers, but also with their vendors to drive growth, deliver better services, improve customer relationships and reduce the “vendor-cost”.
For example, once you’ve installed a product or service at a customer site, you know that at some point in the future there will be a need to either renew, upgrade, or refresh it. But this relies on tracking and monitoring your installed assets (a.k.a. the data). However, few VARS and Service Providers actually do this. Instead, they rely on their vendor to supply this information and it’s often not available or requires several logins to different systems to obtain it – adding to the vendor relationship cost.
In another example, a vendor releases a new product that is a perfect complement to another that has already been on the market for a while. Since you are tracking your installed products, you are able to quickly locate all the customers that have that established product and introduce the new offering as an upgrade or upsell, thereby creating immediate opportunity at minimal cost.
What About Vendors?
With such a vast network of channel partners, you need an automated, efficient way to track your entire installed base and POS data in one place. This data must flow in real-time up and down your channel to ensure you are not leaving any potential revenue behind, or making it difficult for your partners to sell your products.
If you have a platform (beyond just a PRM system) which can cleanse, validate and consolidate all of your products and partner sales activity into a single view, you can then focus your efforts into analyzing the data and delivering further value to your partners and end customers throughout the entire product lifecycle.
For example, you should be:
- Automatically driving growth opportunities with existing customers via tech refresh, upgrade and/or migration campaigns based upon where they are within the product lifecycle.
- Triggering automated quotes and reminders to your partners as renewals approach
- Tracking and managing usage and initiate billing for all cloud contract across your channel
- Monitoring trends by partner/product/geography
- Making it easy for your partners to share POS data with you
The easier you are to work with, the more likely your partners will choose your products over your competitors.
Create a Single Source of Truth
With iasset.com, your data is always valid, accurate, and updated automatically. Take a look at our case study, where we helped a global distributor ensure efficient, ongoing management of their installed base with over 9 interfaces from their disparate silos into their iasset.com platform!