Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who is Direct Anyway?

With the buzz in the channel about the new announcement that Dell is going to offer managed services directly to small and medium businesses, I dug out a letter we sent to our clients back in 2002 that I originally borrowed from Ted Warner of Connecting Point Greeley. Not sure if Ted is the original source, but he was my source back in 2002 when we were all bent out of shape about Dell's push down to our SMB clients. My perspective is that Dell will do what Dell does. They sell direct - always have - always will. That is their business model and they are very good at what they do. They "use" partners when it is in their best interest. They have no understanding of what it really means to partner - they just know how to get to their end goal - sell more stuff. Nothing wrong with that - it is what they are and what they do. But when it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck. Dell is a direct reseller and that is what they do. No sense sugar coating the truth. And no sense whining about it either. It is reality, and we need to leverage the fact that we are really the direct solution for our customers and provide what Dell or any large org never will - personal and local touch that truly cares about our customers and their needs.

To that end, here is something from the archives that we used some 6 years ago. Amazing how most of it still fits today:

Large direct marketing computer manufacturers talk about the message “Be Direct” in all of their print and television ads. Their message infers that it is infinitely better to deal with a website or a tele-sales rep at the end of a toll free number hundreds or thousands of miles away. We couldn’t disagree with them more.

To us, “Being Direct” means having real salespeople, and real engineering personnel working face-to-face with our customers. We listen to our customers’ needs and work to develop solutions that will help their businesses. Your success directly impacts our future. Unless we help to make you successful, we have no future while our distant competitor and their toll free number is only concerned about the order you may need to place at this moment. We partner directly with a wide variety of hardware and software manufacturers to craft the exact solutions that will serve the needs of your business. We take the time to evaluate what is best for your long-term needs, not the immediate sale that a telemarketer may want to make to hit their daily quota. When you have problems, we will be there directly to assist you. The “Direct” people don’t have their own service personnel; choosing instead to contract indirectly with other companies to do work. In some cases, they even select us to do their work since we can be a direct response to their indirect problem.

As we deal directly with each customer, our job is to provide you with options. We directly represent the best companies in the industry and we directly present you with solutions that include a broad range of products and services. The people who urge you to “Go Direct” can do little more than provide you with products and try to fix them over the phone when they break. If they can’t make the repair remotely, they call and ask one of us as a local reseller to go and make the repair directly with the end user. In your relationship with us, you have a partner that is committed to helping you now and into the future; business-to-business and face-to-face. Which begs the question….

Who is really being direct???

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