In the pro audio/video (AV) industry, many value-added resellers (VARs) partner with a technology distributor, while others choose to go it alone. Faced with such a fast-growing and competitive market, VARs of all sizes stand to benefit from a distributor partnership.
Here, we take a look at why this relationship is so important for the VAR:
1. Access to leading manufacturers and technology.
Many VARs struggle to form relationships with some of the leading manufacturers, simply because the pro AV market is so large and competitive. This is especially true for new and smaller VAR businesses. However, a distributor can serve as the bridge between a VAR and the industry’s top vendors—regardless of the size of your company or your experience in the market. For many VARs, industry connections and manufacturer accessibility are two of the top reasons to partner with a distributor.
2. Best-in-class systems without the legwork.
Any VAR that is recommending a specific system or device for the first time should do some research and hands-on testing in order to make sure the technology will meet the customer’s needs. This can range from reading expert and user reviews to actually trying the device yourself and making side-by-side comparisons. This level of due diligence is admirable; however, it can become very time-consuming when you frequently work with new technologies.
That’s why technology distributors employ entire teams of product testers. They devote significant time and effort to vetting today’s pro AV systems in order to ensure they are high-quality and reliable enough to be used by their partners. Your customers benefit from the best technology possible for a given installation; you benefit with an improved product offering—without all the legwork.
3. Total life-cycle solutions for your customers.
Most of today’s pro AV customers aren’t looking for a one-off device; they need total life-cycle solutions that are going to help save them money and improve business operations over the long term. They’re seeking a VAR that can provide them an end-to-end solution that integrates seamlessly and works as a single unit. In addition, they require a business partner who can help them grow and update their technology as needed.
A technology distributor is essential in creating a true lifelong partnership with your customers. An ideal distributor will have strong expertise in pro AV and will be able to connect you with the right vendors and products in order to provide your customers a true life-cycle solution—regardless of the size of their business.
4. Big-picture thinking around new challenges and industry trends.
Faced with the day-to-day tasks of running and growing a business, it can be challenging for VARs to stay up to date on industry news and trends. That’s why many VARs lean on a technology distributor as a reliable source of the latest and greatest. As a true partner, a distributor should act as a kind of adviser, helping you see the big picture of the pro AV industry, where it’s headed, and how to best serve your customers now and in the future.
5. Assistance with vertical-specific contracts or certifications.
In certain verticals, such as education, a newer “indirect model” of IT procurement means that VARs must meet strict certification requirements and/or go through a long contract process in order to be awarded a project. Since most of these requirements are different for each area, it can be challenging to fully understand and navigate the required contracts and certifications for each job.
Technology distributors can be greatly beneficial in this area as well. A strong partner can help connect a VAR with various manufacturer-held contracts and streamline the process of getting on the General Services Administration Schedule and even helping secure state contracts that are unique to your technology distributor.
6. Marketing, sales, and business development support.
VARs of all sizes could use help with growing their business over time. A technology distributor serves as a true business partner, helping your team with marketing and sales advice and support, as well as overall business development. This feature can be particularly helpful for new VARs and for those companies that are looking to branch into a new vertical or technology field.
Are you considering using a technology distributor for your pro AV business? Why or why not?