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Leverage what you have and act fast

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Patrick Reeves, Axiz HP Category Manager, says that while the negativity of the global economic situation has understandably spread angst amongst local business owners, it is important not to let this pessimism consume you. If you run a solid business, stick to the fundamentals, strive to improve your own metrics, and keep doing what you do best.

“The economic downturn has affected all of us, but I don’t believe we need to panic. A difficult economy is not the time to reinvent the wheel, but instead keep focused on what we do best, and improve on this, in line with our business objectives.”

What is also imperative is the customer – and, more specifically, delighting that customer. The opportunities may be less than they were a year ago, but they certainly still exist and are equally as valuable.

“The IT infrastructure deals have not disappeared, they are just a bit tougher to secure this year. CIOs want their budgets to stretch further and buyers want to demonstrate immediate savings. Suppliers have to therefore deliver value in every way possible.”

Optimising every sales opportunity and activity has never been more important. The same applies to existing partnerships. It’s about the “Pareto principle”, Reeves says.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule), he explains, states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. It is a common rule of thumb in business that 80 percent of your sales come from 20 percent of your clients.

Reeves says fickle, price-obsessed dealers will battle to survive. Businesses need to manage their largest, most loyal customers even more closely and leverage tight partnerships in which vendor, distributor, reseller and end-users work together to address the challenges and ensure mutual benefit.

“Concentrate on keeping your company connected to its channels and breaking down any process- or system-based barriers internally. This gives you the strongest competitive weapon of all: the ability to respond accurately and quickly to your channel partners’ and customers’ needs. After all, a true competitive advantage means you not only know what you competition is up to, but you’re acting on that knowledge. Agility is your most powerful tool in a difficult economy.”

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