One of the impacts of the lockdown during the pandemic has been the amount of business meetings that can be crammed into a day. The normal time to travel or even walk between meetings has gone – they finish and start on the hour. The time to reflect, digest and create responses is reduced or moved into “after hours”. But there is upside; because of a wider participation by dispersed team members, insights can be gathered quicker than in our previous “normal” environment.
So last week we had some great discussions with partner teams about launching new solutions, creating new routes to market and integrating new acquisitions. All of these require investment; in people, resources and creating sales opportunities.
However, when making these decisions to invest, sometimes it’s easy to assume everyone understands why you are making this new investment, missing the need for internal education, developing the new value proposition for your customers and creating the supporting collateral for the sales team. If it’s not immediately obvious to your employees and partners why you are doing it, then it probably isn’t obvious to your prospects either. Communicating what the new opportunity is, why the business has undertaken this action and the benefits for all, will be a key factor in success.
This conversation with the partner often leads to a discussion about the value proposition for the solution or new business venture. Three simple questions quickly establish if this has been thought through.
- What is the product or service? Describe the offering, what does it do, what value does it offer?
- Who are you targeting? Who do you think will buy/use the offering? The individual job role.
- Why they should buy from you? Why would it appeal to this buyer? What would be the benefit they realise from your offering? Why is it better than other similar offerings?
As an example, here is our Value Proposition, developed for the Tech Data Retail Ecosystem.
“The Tech Data Retail Ecosystem provides Industry focussed businesses with the means and support to identify, collaborate and design new solutions for delivery to end user customers, who themselves may be part of the Ecosystem.
Benefiting participants include ISVs, innovators, MSPs and Tech Data anchor partners, along with industry aligned vendors, consultants and retailers.
In this unique to distribution programme, Tech Data partners are offered the opportunity to showcase their solutions to the rest of the ecosystem and receive executive introductions to other partners, innovators and customer groups such as the UK Fashion and Textile Association.”
However, coming up with the value proposition that addresses the three questions is just the start. It needs to stand up to scrutiny, it needs to be credible.
A value proposition stating you are a carbon neutral Data Centre provider, when your people visiting customers drive large engine, diesel cars is a tough sell. A value proposition targeting financial institutions when all your references are corner shops, or indeed vice versa, is also tough. (A slight vendor dig!)
So, the underpinning business strategy behind the value proposition needs to support it, not undermine it. Too often this part of the value proposition gets left behind. The fun piece of getting all the right words in order so it sounds appealing is ticked off, management are happy and then everything else, the actions that make it credible, are forgotten.
So back to our Ecosystem example. We believe our actions now and over the past 2 years have continued to support the value proposition.
At Tech Data we have remained consistent to the original value proposition behind the Ecosystem Programme. We have run regular showcase events so partners can present their solutions to a wider community, even in the pandemic. We have had over 70 presenters and 700 participants over the past 18 months covering a wide range of solutions.
We have made, and continue to make, new introductions between the NextGen innovators and the anchor partners with whom we have long standing relationships.
And we have extended the reach of the Ecosystem into industry organisations such as the UK Fashion and Textiles Association, with whom, along with IBM and Leeds University, we have partnered in a recently awarded UK Innovation grant submission. These activities open up new channels to market for our partners.
The Tech Data technical teams have created platforms for partner collaboration including the European CloudPak for Data initiative and the Multi-Cloud Project, (which we covered in last week’s blog). Partnering with the Tech Data Multi-Cloud Project
Just as our partners have had to innovate to add value to their offerings, we recognise that Distribution has to too. Partners have a choice just like customers. We hope the value you see us adding to your businesses will continue to grow and keep us connected.
It was during one of these investigative conversations with a partner’s team that, unprovoked and spontaneously, we were told “we love Tech Data”. This wasn’t one individual but a response that echoed around the zoom call from members of the management team.
A small moment, but it makes what we do worthwhile. And makes us more determined to continue to add value that prompts responses like this. Our Value Proposition workshops are now part of the Ecosystem offerings and another means of us extending our support to you. Please contact your account manager or a member of the Ecosystem team to find out more.
And so to next week. On Thursday March 25th we have our next webinar with four more Ecosystem partners and innovators, plus UK FT. Presentations will focus on solutions for the supply chain. Registration is here: Webinar Registration - Zoom
We hope you can join us.