SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

On WebRTC and Big Fat Pipes and Stickiness

Telecom Reseller SMB Nation AdDouglas Green, Publisher, Telecom Reseller

You would think that owning the big fat pipe, over which everything must flow in the age of cloud, would be the best thing to have. The problem is that Internet service and many other cloud (carrier level provided) services have a vanilla like quality. The pipe provides a commodity service that is hard to make distinguishable. Accordingly, the carriers all share a customer loyalty problem. Fully 25% of their customers depart each year. Each carrier makes these lost customers up with new customers defecting from rivals, but the cost of their acquisition is high. In many cases it takes over a year for a carrier just to recoup the cost of marketing and sales built into each acquisition.

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SELL YOUR COMPUTER PARTS WITH THE BEST IN THE IT AND TELECOM BUSINESS

 

PSO banner 220X150Members of the PowerSource online community enjoy unparalleled opportunities to buy and sell all kinds of new, used or refurbished IT and telecom parts, including computer parts and related equipment. Our B2B network connects sellers with thousands of buyers worldwide, allowing suppliers and resellers of computer components to greatly expand their sales prospects and develop industry contacts from a single online platform.

PowerSource Online’s advanced selling and sourcing tools give our members a leg up on the competition by allowing them to advertise up to 30 “Seeking to Sell” postings per day. Members can view and respond directly to requests to buy computer parts, telecom equipment and more. Another advantage of PowerSource is the ability for members to customize who sees their inventory. As well, PowerSource members are able to access government contract opportunities in their region that require the purchase or sale of computer parts and telecom equipment.

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Tired of Playing Tug of War with Vendors?

attachedapps tugofwarOne of the biggest points of contention between partners and vendors is who actually owns the relationship with the customer. It’s a topic that comes up frequently whenever partners talk about their relationships with vendors. Partners often complain that some of their vendors seem to want to disintermediate them from their customers, thus setting up a bit of a tug of war, with the unfortunate customer caught in the middle. For example, some vendors take the approach that if a customer is using their products, then they have primary responsibility for supporting the customer, regardless of whether or not a partner is involved in the sale. This can take the form of not enabling partners to bill the customer, not enabling partners to provide support, and/or not enabling partners to co-brand the product. While it’s understandable that the vendors want to ensure the best possible experience for the end user, many of them seem to forget the critical role that partners play in the process of selling and supporting the customers. These conflicts will likely only continue to increase as adoption of cloud-based apps continues to rise, since customers are now running software may be hosted by the vendors.

So, which vendors “get it”? One of our favorites is attachedapps. They have built a suite of contact and customer management apps that are designed to easily “attach” to Office 365 or Exchange, and they are taking a strict partner-first approach to selling to SMBs. For instance, they just enabled partners to have a tile in their customers’ dashboards where partners can display their logo, contact information, sales messages, or anything else they want their customers to see every time they access the apps. We haven’t seen that from any vendor! Plus, attachedapps enables partners to bill customers, provide support, and they have a very generous revenue sharing model. They have even designed their apps so that partners can easily add their own services like remote admin, migration and customization. No more tugging!

You should check them out: www.attachedapps.com/partners.

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“The right tool for the right job.”

attachedapps 220x150 Feb 12That’s a slogan a popular tool company has been using for over 100 years. It’s also a concept that partners like you should keep in mind when helping your SMB customers. Just because something can get the job done, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to get the job done. A great example of this is managing contacts. When SMBs are asked what software they use to track contacts, you might think a majority of them would name one of the popular CRM products like Salesforce.com, Dynamics CRM, or any one dozens more. Instead, in several surveys conducted by Microsoft over the last 10 years, the #1 answer from SMBs is Microsoft Outlook. The #2 answer is Microsoft Excel. An e-mail client and a spreadsheet. Great tools for their designed purpose, but definitely not the best for managing company contacts, tracking sales or managing customers

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Legal Tips (No Tricks) for Emerging IT Businesses

Liutikas Dan55944By Dan Liutikas, Managing Attorney of ITLA and CompTIA’s Chief Legal Officer

Whether starting a brand new cloud services company or managing an intentionally small MSP business, today’s IT professionals can expect an ever-increasing array of issues to stand in the way of their success. The financial challenges alone keep many companies from achieving their goals, and a variety of personnel and regulatory concerns tend to make those objectives even harder to hit. Needless to say, small business owners have a lot to deal with each and every day ─ and legal concerns are often one of the biggest challenges.

For IT firms, virtually every operational or client-focused activity exposes some level of risk. Every entrepreneur and manager has to be readily aware of today’s business environment where conflict and litigation has become an accepted norm. Even when you think you have strong relationships with your customers, you may still find that these customers might let attorneys dictate how to approach dispute resolution with you rather than deal with the matters personally. Conflict resolution isn’t what it used to be, even in the SMB space.

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