By Werner Herbst, General Manager: Enterprise Compute
Being a true professional, as an ICT distributor, means becoming an integral part of the decision-making process for your customers. This is the only way that channel businesses can move from being box droppers to trusted advisors.
In addition, it is not about selling quantities, but about going beyond being a salesperson, to a partner they can trust to solve their challenges. It does not matter what product or solution you are selling to a customer, or what the price of it is. Forward-thinking distributors are taking quantity and price out of the equation and changing the conversation to be one about value.
Everything we do at Tarsus Distribution is about adding value and staying relevant within the industry to offer a better service than our competitors. However, this change from being a volume distributor to a value distributor does not happen overnight, it’s been a long and successful journey, where our sales team thinks about solutions, and about how they can solve their partners’ and their customers’ problems instead of just trying to sell them a product or solution.
Initially, the difference between selling a product and selling a solution may not be a hundred percent clear, after all, the majority of products were designed to solve a specific problem. However, at the same time, most products were also created to be one-size-fits-all offerings and were not tailored to meet each client’s unique requirements.
Products are designed to be good enough to meet the needs of the broadest audience. On the other hand, solutions are a blend of products and services which are designed to help the customer solve a challenge or realise a goal every step of the way, making sure that by the end of the journey, that specific customer's problems are resolved.
This is how Tarsus has positioned itself as a real trusted advisor, although it is still an ongoing process. Selling a solution meant we had to change the way we do business on a fundamental level. Rather than pushing products or brands, we have learned to build genuine, long-lasting relationships with our customers. Selling a solution means true longevity in relationships with customers in which our goal is always to find new ways to assist them. It’s not about selling a brand; it’s about selling the best tool for the job.
A company-wide mindset
In a manner of speaking, sales needs to be treated like customer service, which happens by anticipating clients' challenges and requirements, and having a better understanding of their issues than they do. To become a trusted advisor, every member of the team needs specialised knowledge and expertise.
Tarsus understands that having the necessary skills and experience is key, as is gaining every relevant certification, and conducting ongoing training to keep staff up to speed with all the new technologies on the market. After all, the better the understanding they have of the solutions, the more easily they can sell them, and the more they can advise their customers in a way that truly meets their needs.
Everyone in the team, from sales and management, all the way to support, needs to be on board. Having a solution-selling mindset is not for the sales team alone. It’s an ethos and a culture that needs to run company-wide. It’s a prescription for the whole company.
Becoming a trusted advisor is also being in the position where partners find it far harder to close the deals without one of our pre-sales professionals on board. At the end of day, walking the solution-focused walk, is all about action. It is the path forward for every top distributor who wishes to stay ahead of the curve and add value in today’s world of unprecedented change, and digital disruptions.
Today’s customers are looking for tailor-made solutions, and this is exactly what Tarsus Distribution is offering them.