In a tight economy when your customers’ IT budgets are shrinking, and you are competing for those fewer pounds against the giants in the industry, how is it possible to gain an edge? Storage and mobile PC vendor Fujitsu shares its secrets that have its channel partners’ deal-closing rates at 80 percent.
In a tight economy when your customers’ IT budgets are shrinking, and you are competing for those fewer pounds against the giants in the industry, how is it possible to gain an edge?
Fujitsu has found one way – a try-before-you-buy program that places evaluation units of the company’s storage technology, SAN and NAS solutions, at the customer site. The program enables the customers to rest assured that the solution is what they want before they agree to buy it.
“It’s really helped our VARs improve their close rates and also improved the time to close the deal,” says Matt McManus, channel chief at Fujitsu, who adds that the close rate is about 80 percent. “We are hearing end-user customers questioning total cost of ownership. Offering these evaluation units has been a unique differentiator for us.”
To prove TCO, Fujitsu partners can put the evaluation units at the customer site for up to 30 days. McManus says that Fujitsu’s larger competitors in the storage market won’t do that for their partners, particularly on deals of less than £14,000 or £10,000.
“We’ve got roughly 150 storage partners out there,” McManus says. “It’s not like we have 20,000 VARs out there trying to get evaluation units. Plus, VARs make more profit on our products than they do on our competitive products. If it’s not a super tight deal they are getting double digit margins.”
The move to offer the evaluation units is just one of the tactics Fujitsu, a maker of storage solutions and mobile computing products, is employing during this recessionary year. Fujitsu is also participating in Tech Data’s offer through GE Capital, offering 60 day floor planning credit to its channel partners.
In addition, Fujitsu is aiming to make it easier for partners to do business with the company by combining three of the portals that its channel partners must use into a single portal. Now partners can configure products, get training and training material, and get Fujitsu marketing all in one place online.
Fujitsu has also rolled out its first online market development funds (MDF) tool, a big improvement from the previous process of faxing marketing planners and then sending back proof of performance. McManus says the tool is expected to improve the efficiency and time management of VARs.
Fujitsu is also launching a serious lead generation program for storage, stratifying leads into “A” leads – those interested in purchasing in 30 days and who have a budget, and “B” leads.
Finally, Fujitsu has seen some success in focusing on particular verticals, including health care and education.
“Our health care business has grown 20 percent year over year,” says McManus. “We are looking at the new stimulus package. There’s about £14 billion available for health care and electronic records. We will be looking at that and providing training to our VARs on how to write the proposals to get the grants.”