Channel Partners

FAL 2016

For 25 years, Channel Partners has been a resource for indirect sales channels, such as agents, VARs and dealers, that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications, and managed and professional services

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can find out more about their needs and recommend enabling technology solutions. In addition to ensuring you have a regular dialogue with your customer, these meetings are an opportunity for the decision-makers and influencers to get to know you and your company as their trusted adviser. WHICH CUSTOMERS ARE THE MOST VALUABLE? Regardless of whether your company has hundreds or thousands of customers, the prospect of getting to know all of them intimately may be daunting. It's important, then, to evaluate your customer base and find out which accounts are the most valuable so you can focus your attention there — and work on finding more customers like them. You probably segment your customer base by revenue, investing the most time and attention to the big guys at the top of the pyramid that pay you the most money (see chart, left). Below them is a second tier, where you devote less time. At the bottom of the pyramid are small or new customers, which understand - ably don't get much attention since your resources are limited. If this is the sum total of your analysis, you're doing it wrong. A more strategic way of segmenting your customer base is to focus on profitability. Instead of a pyramid, create a matrix with revenue on the Y-axis and contribution margin on the X-axis (see chart). Go through this exercise; you may be surprised at where your customers land in the matrix. It will likely give you better guidance on where to focus time and energy. The most profitable customers — and the ones you need to focus on — are those in the top right quadrant. At the bottom left quadrant are low-revenue and low-margin customers that you should either consider firing or create strategies (like charging more) to nudge them to the right side of the matrix. Customers in the top left likely are generating a lot of revenue for you, but you might look at ways to reduce the costs of serving them, bundle in some profit-rich services or, again, just consider charging more. Those in the bottom right have the potential to be highly profitable if you can grow your wallet share with them. Don't stop there. Take a closer look at your most profitable customers in the top right quadrant. Who are they? What business or vertical are they in? Why are they more profitable than other customers? It may be that they align best with your company's strengths as a solutions provider. Or, you may be able to deliver greater value to those who are willing to pay. Let your findings here guide future sales and marketing efforts. Understanding your customers is key. At the micro level, it helps you develop those trusted relationships that are more vital than ever as customers raise concerns about security, privacy and reliability as they migrate to digital and cloud solutions. And, at the macro level, it can help you grow your business by optimizing where your team focuses resources. Jennifer Anaya is vice president of marketing for Ingram Micro North America. In this role, she is responsible for directing the activities of Ingram Micro's marketing organizations across the United States and Canada. @jenniferid8 Dany Bouchedid Founder & CEO Colotraq " " " " TCA's CTP program is the leading certification program available and covers the key technology components within the indirect telecom channel. Colotraq has certified every member of our front lines and find it is a great way for team members to stay on top of our rapidly changing industry and grasp key concepts, terms and design elements. We highly recommend the CTP certification for all telecom agents!

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