Paul German of voice security firm Pbxwall says resellers should look for applications where they can differentiate rather than sell on price.
Today’s reseller community is able to sell a variety of solutions that meet both their customers’ project based requirements and in parallel the requirements of their own business in terms of value add, differentiation and margin.
However, during difficult economic times we have seen many in the reseller community batten down the hatches, focus on core competencies or face the inevitable and go out of business altogether.
As such we have seen little differentiation in the offerings from resellers and as such the only competitive edge has come from the price point on offer, pushing us in to a buyers’ market where price typically dictates the overall winner of any business on offer. So not a good place for us as a market to be.
It is however pleasing to see the reseller community starting to look at ways to differentiate themselves based on offering and not price alone, showing that the market is again looking to value as a key differentiator rather than purely price.
One such area is that of voice security, a proven billion dollar problem area that has proved to be topical and of interest but one that during tough economic times becomes a low priority; as with any security product, voice security is an easy area to reduce cost by simply stating that one is willing to accept the risk, an easy step to make if the risk is not fully understood.
However, customers are being educated by the press, and are now taking the stance that with security risks such as Toll Fraud the risk is at a level that requires mitigation and cannot be accepted due to the potential impact to a business should they fall victim.
This brings about a huge opportunity for the channel in a number of areas which are listed below;
Education & Awareness: customers are aware they require education in the area of voice security, so this gives a reseller the opportunity to help the customer learn along with positioning themselves into the trusted advisor role and best position to pick up any business that this education generates.
Risk Assessments and Penetration testing: As with any area of risk a customer will want to understand their risk so delivering services that help a customer do this generates both a new area of revenue along with a better understanding of the customers risk profile. This having the added benefit of helping a reseller position an offering that plugs any security gaps or risks found. Making sure that these areas are identified and plugged generates not only revenue but also prevents competition from using these areas of risk to establish any foothold within that particular customer.
These types of services also help resellers deliver the high value recurring services revenue that many are looking for as services such as these can be delivered as a bi-annual or quarterly service offering.
New Product Offerings: New areas of identified risk will always bring with it a host of existing and new entrants with offerings that claim to be the best in breed in helping customers understand and mitigate any risk in this area, and this too is true with the identified area of voice security.
By adding new products to its portfolio a reseller demonstrates to the market its awareness of an issue, a clear indication that it has taken steps to understand and learn about this issue in the interest of using this as a USP within its current customer base and in the wider market to generate new business opportunity, something that any BDM or new business executive will be keen to see from their employer.
With new innovation typically being driven by new entrants then resellers with a keen eye would do well to engage with technology start-ups offering a different perspective on a particular issue, as when it comes to the majors they are typically offering solutions based on established product ranges which may not offer the best solution for a customers or markets needs when it comes to new problems.
Managed Services: The single biggest area of opportunity for the channel when it comes to voice security is in the area of Managed Services. Security in general has typically been sold as part of a high value managed service as customers are reluctant to take on overhead in an area where products are expensive and talent even more so however they are fully aware that the security function is required and as such outsourcing to a managed service provider becomes the best option.
With the ever growing interest in voice security the market is defined and ripe, ready for keen eyed resellers to take the lead in clearly establishing themselves as the leader in identifying this risk with their customers, offering services that will help customers quantify their risk and then help them mitigate this risk by offering products, perhaps as part of a managed service, to mitigate the risks in this area.
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