Solution providers have faced a global pandemic, geopolitical issues, a tight labor market, and now, inflation. Still, deal sizes were up 25 percent in 2021, a trend that telecom service broker Telarus expects to continue as businesses digitally transform.
Solution providers are faced with a bevy of selling obstacles right now. The upside? Companies of all sizes need technology more than ever and are leaning on their trusted partners to digitally transform and automate their businesses.
“There’s inflation, talk of a recession, geopolitical challenges and the tightest labor market we’ve ever seen… [but] I say the outlook is good because in 2008, you sold through the financial crisis and just recently you sold through the pandemic and you didn’t just sell through it, you grew your business exponentially,” Dan Foster, chief revenue officer for Telarus, told the audience of solution providers during the company’s partner summit on Wednesday in Salt Lake City.
Deal sizes were up 25 percent in 2021 and the diversity of those deals has never been greater, including customer experience projects, cloud, and global optimization projects, Foster said. Additionally, Telarus partners in 2021 to beat out global systems integrators in technology stack sales, including Deloitte, Accenture, and KPMG.
[Related: Telarus To Partners: ‘Where There Is Complexity, There Is Margin’]
Many solution providers have noticed that their targets have changed and have pivoted their businesses accordingly, Foster said. “You are no longer just a technology advisor, you’re increasingly asked to be a business advisor and you’re focused on revenue generation, productivity, and labor costs,” he said.
A focus on customer experience is the “true north” that can separate a competitor from a winner, Foster added.
“Even with the [economic] downturn, we really haven’t felt it because a lot of what’s going on with businesses is the fruition of what they were doing when they returned from the pandemic. Their 6-12 month plans are coming to fruition now,” said Ruben Pina, director and president of A1 BizCom, Inc., a San Antonio-based solution provider and Telarus partner.
In the event of a recession or customers having to make cost-cutting decisions, solution providers should position themselves to help when their customers come to them with business problems, Pina said.
“If there is a recession that starts to hit the bottom lines of businesses, they’re going to want to figure out how to do things more efficiently through technology that we sell,” he said. “We just need to get access to that budget to help them make better use of it.”
Macro trends and the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped buying behaviors. These factors also boosted interest in security and cloud solutions dramatically, which has been a boon for the channel, Adam Edwards, CEO and co-founder of Telarus, told CRN.
“We saw the recession in 2008 and 2009 as a great phenomenon. I think any change is good for us. Anything that accelerates these trends is good for us,” he said.
Another silver lining? Economic downturns and the resulting tight labor markets often help to identify people who may have lost their jobs who want to start their own channel businesses. Telarus in 2008 didn’t have the resources to help those startups, but it does today, Edwards added. “A recession or change in business model from a VAR is something that we can now help augment and help them through a tough transition,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic fast-forwarded a technological shift, which presents glaring areas of opportunity for the channel, Edwards said: “Anytime there’s a reason for people to have conversations about technology, it’s good for us.”