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Jennifer Clark

How to Decide Which Products and Services Make Sense for Your Business

You’ve probably been there before: meeting with a customer who mentions a new technology or product and you’re not familiar with it. Or they want to know when XYZ will be available to them. Only you’ve never heard of it or haven’t yet had a chance to dive deep into the specs and training on said-product.

This is a problem for many VARs who specialize in one service or product and don’t have the time to invest in becoming an expert on the latest and greatest trends. Time away from your customers can often equate to lost revenue, so how do you bridge that gap?

Unfortunately, just staying up to date with the latest technologies isn’t enough to make you a successful VAR. Real success comes with being truly engaged in the entire industry or vertical and not just following trends, but selling the products that comprise that movement.

To get started, try to stay current with and follow as many industry news sites, magazines, and tradeshow events, etc. How many times have you brought a new product to your customer versus them mentioning it first? New additions to portfolios more often than not come from requests from customers, as solution providers typically stick with their bread and butter core offerings.

Knowing it’s risky and time consuming to add to your portfolio, it’s not impossible to go through the vetting process. You don’t need to add every new technology product as they become available. If it doesn’t perform to your company’s standards or expectations then you’ve lost time and potentially money as well. There is nothing more consistent than change in the IT industry.

So, instead of having any and everything the minute it hits the market, look to your customers’ needs and how to serve them first. How can a new product solve their biggest problems? You know them better than anyone, and thinking how you can meet their needs and make their lives better should outweigh just offering a new fancy gadget. At the same time, if you do choose to invest your time and resources into learning a new technology, you can potentially expand your client base if advertised correctly. The challenge is finding that balance.

The following questions will help as you begin your assessment of a new technology.

• How long will it take you to learn the ins and outs?

• How profitable will it be?

• What are the margins?

• Will it be worth taking two weeks of training and reading marketing materials?

• Do you have an existing client base that would be interested in learning more?

• Do you have customers who buy complementary technology that this would enhance or make sense to offer?

• Does this product seem like part of a trend that is here to stay, or something that is popular now but might be obsolete in a year?

These questions might not be some you can answer right away, but are helpful when trying to decide which areas are important to invest.

If you’re looking for true expansion opportunities, consider selling more deeply into a specific vertical. If your portfolio lends itself to say, healthcare more naturally, then look to the trends of products in the medical fields. Often times, specializing in a vertical will help you get to know more products that are in demand by a specific customer base. You will be seen as a resource for deep insight and expertise in a particular market space and know more than others about most, if not all, of the technologies in a given industry. Ultimately, you’re a better choice than someone who is just offering one healthcare product.

If you can make your customers come to you for all of their needs instead of just one, then you’ll be ahead of your competition. Don’t sell just the product, but the whole service. Hardware often needs software and as-a-service renewable products to execute the task. Think about how you can offer it all.

If you’re looking for recommendations on how to add to your portfolio, contact our Sales Development Representative, Jamal Strother at, and he’ll help you get started with one of our in-house experts.