The VAR Guy Blog

Looking for That Competitive Edge? Try Specializing

For a traumatic knee injury, you’d see an orthopedist. When your car breaks down, you go to an automotive specialist. This same logic applies to technology. Yet, every day, customers are sold “solutions” by providers that lack a complete understanding of those customers’ particular industry. The fact is, “one-size-fits-all” technology solutions no longer exist. Here's why.

These days, it’s all about which company can best offer business solutions spanning the data center, rather than simply selling commoditized products. In other words, specialization is king … but in a different sense than you may think.

Specialization isn’t just about finding custom solutions. And while it’s important to understand your customers' needs, it’s equally (if not more) crucial to also have a deeper grasp of the demands of their particular industry. This not only offers you a competitive edge to retain existing customers, but also positions you as an invaluable resource for new customers, elevating your role to that of a trusted business adviser. Why? You can easily provide the best possible solutions for their current demands, while also possessing an uncanny ability to anticipate their future needs. It’s almost like being a fortune teller with a crystal ball, without all the smoke, mirrors and incense.

So, knowing is half the battle. But how do you get that knowledge?

You might hire consultants in each vertical market to help you get up to speed. You also could spend hours in training to learn each market. Yet, by the time you’ve compiled what you think is all the information you’ll need, the variables and base data likely have changed. And, don’t forget: While you’re busy compiling and learning, your customers may have already left you for an in-the-know competitor.

Bottom line: Gaining knowledge such as this takes a significant investment of time and money, and doing it on your own is a huge undertaking, especially when the fact that vertical markets -- and all their variables -- are ever-changing and evolving. It might be easier to shrug this off as unnecessary, yet I think specialization in this way offers a huge opportunity to grow our businesses while simultaneously helping our partners thrive. The goal is to gain this knowledge in an efficient, strategic manner so everyone benefits. Delivering on that goal boils down to this: having the right staff, tools and resources in place to deliver consistent and repeatable positive results.

Here at Avnet Technology Solutions, we can help. We’ve created the SolutionsPath Engagement Service (SPES) – long name, simple concept. In a nutshell, Avnet has an entire team of specialists on board who already have done the heavy lifting. With incredible industry knowledge of the most lucrative high-growth markets -- energy, retail, government, financial and health care -- this strategic consulting service allows our partners to gain the knowledge they need to deliver personalized solutions to their customers. Remember that crystal ball I mentioned earlier?

It’s crucial to have access to up-to-the-minute business intelligence to keep that strategic edge and get partners to get to market faster, at less cost. As we all know, the more nimble we are in this ever-changing technological world, the better. So, what is your strategy for diving into the high-growth vertical markets? It’s an important question to ask. The answer can provide great insight to where your strategy should start.

Remember, without specialization, you may be putting your customer relationships at risk for defection to your competitor. Avnet is here, at the ready, to help make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Give us a call, we can help.

As a new guest blogger for The VAR Guy, I’ll be bringing you monthly posts, providing a glimpse into the latest channel trends, along with tips to apply them to your business. I’m looking forward to being here each month and hope you’ll join me in the conversation.

Gavin Miller is VP of Marketing, Solutions and Sales Acceleration at Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship. Read all of Avnet's guest blogs here.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

on Jul 2, 2013

Specialisation should be at the very root of what we strive for. I'm a digital marketer - and proud of it. Doesn't mean I'm ignorant to traditional offline methods, but we all have specialisms that we develop.

For my specialism of recruitment software, the technical element protects us as it acts as a barrier to entry. Not too shabby!

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