Running your business efficiently and without disruption is key to conquering your competition, while continually delivering the best services and products to your customers. When you excel time and time again, you have customers for life; when you stumble, your short- and long-term future with any customer may be in question.
Just like your customers have a choice as to whom they want to work with, you have a choice in your value-added resellers (VARs) who offer technology and related services. How do you know you’re opting for the best-fit solution? Here are 5 tips to help you choose the right VAR for your business.
1. Industry Knowledge
Too often, parts of your business must integrate with many others, so it’s important to work with a VAR that has worked in your industry. If your business is manufacturing, you won’t want to choose a vendor who only has retail experience. That’s common sense, but something so simple can often be overlooked if the potential VAR talks a good game. Yet, the last thing you would want is to hold your VAR’s hand, especially when it comes to technology, coding and installations.
2. Demonstrated Experience
While you may be tempted to try out the newest, shiniest object, or award the project to a friend, carefully consider your options and seek out the most experienced VAR you can, especially if you want to convert from something like QuickBooks to Sage, for example. If a VAR has only done a handful of Sage installations, there may be issues along the way. When you’re interviewing VARs, ask as many questions as you can to ensure you have a full understanding of the VAR’s capabilities, and don’t hesitate to seek out other industry experts to comment on a VAR’s work. In addition, expect the potential VAR to be proactive with you, rather than reactive. They say the secret to sales is knowing what the buyer wants, even before the buyer knows he or she wants it. See if this philosophy rings true with a prospective VAR.
3. Singular Focus on Software
Scalability is important. In addition to experience, VARs who spread themselves too thin by representing more than one software program that does the same thing may not be the best choice. However, when VARs have a singular focus with a program that has a multitude of scalable options, the VAR is much more apt to help you grow with minimum disruption – and that goes for integrating across all departments. What you don’t want to happen is for one department to use a different kind of software than another. It just doesn’t work.
4. Add-on Products and Services
Rarely will you ever see a case in which a business did not need some kind of add-on product or service that integrates with the primary software program to work across all parts of the business. It’s a fact that even the most robust software solution cannot handle every single need; however, when you work with a VAR that knows all about other products and services, the end-game solution is made far easier and less complicated. Seek out a VAR with this kind of knowledge and you’ll be much more satisfied with the results.
5. Technical Support
A lot of companies take their service and support for granted, but rather than becoming just another support ticket, you’ll want to work with a VAR that goes to great lengths to have a personal relationship with its customers. If it’s 1 a.m. and there’s an emergency, what do you do? Look for 24/7 availability that provides reliable and accurate technical support. Ask for referrals to current customers to get non-biased feedback.
Don’t Rush Your Decision
Choosing your next VAR might be the most important decision you make all year, so take your time and vet all of your options. Carefully look into industry knowledge, experience, specialties and support. In the long run, you’ll be much happier for years to come.
SWK Technologies has been a VAR for over 30 years and continues to delight its customer every day. Read why we would love to be your Sage partner.