One of the big challenges in the New Zealand market is the relative lack of big deals. When they do come up they are fiercely contested. The going is tough for large proprietary vendors and multinationals. It is harder still for resellers and the channel. One of the greatest challenges is resellers finding themselves up against their business partners. New Zealand was once the domain of the “channel model". Multinationals like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP supported a growing channel and reseller community. Now, multinationals are going direct to clients more often and coming into direct competition with their channel. So how do resellers compete? For resellers wanting to improve their strike rate in this area there are some key points to keep in mind. Differentiate This is one of the easiest things to say - and one of the hardest things to do. But, if you can’t pin point why the client should choose you, the client won’t be able to either. As a reseller, it is nearly impossible to differentiate solely based on product. You need to clearly outline what it is you offer that no one else in your space does. This will help you decide which work to bid for and how to approach the customer. Price realistically There will always be price pressure in deals, especially competitive tenders. But clients also need assurance that suppliers will stay in business. Undercutting the competition or selling at a loss is rarely a winning strategy. Price competitively, but bear in mind your actual costs. Partner Large pieces of work often go to large service providers because it’s perceived that they have the size, depth and breadth of skill to deliver the work. A reseller can replicate this through partnering with carefully selected partners. These can be structured as long-term or project based relationships. Either way, choosing partners that have complementary skills and products is a must. Where possible cultural alignment a good thing, as is a diverse customer base. Pick your battles As a reseller, one thing that should be kept in mind at all times is your relationship with your primary vendors. It’s a competitive market, so by all means compete, and play to win. But bear in mind that aggressively competing for business may satisfy short term gain. However, getting offside with vendors can prove damaging long term. When it comes down to it, you can afford to have one lost deal, but can you afford to have one angry vendor? Resellers that want to be successful at winning big business need to be a step ahead of the rest. Create a strategy not only for your business but also for taking on big deals. This doesn’t have to be a long and exhaustive process. But getting your team internally to agree on a vision, some goals and areas where you can and do differentiate will give you a more effective sales proposition. There are others already making headway, so if you want to be active in this space, get your team together and start planning.