Reseller Survey Endorses SuperVAD Vision
Pan-European survey confirms that expectations in IT distribution are changing, as nearly half of resellers assert that ‘VAD’ alone has lost its meaning
June 14th 2012: The Exclusive Networks Group vision of the SuperVAD, and its relevance to the channel, has been validated by a European-wide survey of resellers. Distinct from Value Added Distributors (VADs) and multinational ‘broadliner’ distributors, the term SuperVAD refers to a specialist distributor that combines commercial strength, logistical muscle and market reach with extremely high level technical engineering support (pre and post sales), high-touch marketing and sales support, along with local knowledge and understanding, and a strong service ethos benefiting each individual reseller partner.
The survey, commissioned by Exclusive Networks, canvassed a wide network of resellers across the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Benelux and the Nordic region during April 2012. It found that reseller expectations about what constitutes ‘value added’, as opposed to industry standard, distribution services have significantly evolved. Significantly, ‘technical excellence’ ranked higher than ‘marketing support’ and ‘credit facilities’ in the critical trio of most important distributor qualities. 70% of resellers considered the ability of the distributor to generate sales leads and make end user appointments as the highest rated specific value added service, with the ability of the distributor to act as a proxy in a technical pre-sales capacity (66%); and the ability of the distributor to offer Level 1-2 post-sales 24/7 support (64%) also scoring highly.
Amazingly, the survey revealed that the term ‘Value Added Distributor’ is losing its meaning. 42% believe that VAD is now redundant, while 39% of resellers believe the term holds true to at least some of its intended meaning, with 19% undecided on this difficult question.
“There are a number of key differentiators that make a ‘SuperVAD’ stand apart from a VAD,” said Alastair Edwards, principal analyst at research firm Canalys. “These include: superior financial strength, an ability to stay 2-3 steps ahead of technology trends, an integrated approach with reseller partners, the ability to create and enable a channel for high-end vendors, and professional services/consulting services enabling de facto presales for partners.”
“Our survey threw up some remarkable insights into how resellers’ attitudes to distribution are changing, with an overwhelming conclusion that the original concept of the VAD is dying on the vine,” said Barrie Desmond, Group Director Marketing & Global Accounts at Exclusive Networks Group. “It’s no longer enough for even the larger distributors to rely purely on distribution efficiency anymore, because resellers are expecting high levels of logistic service and commercial stability as standard. Smaller VADs meanwhile, risk losing their traditional USPs because resellers demand exceptional levels of market knowledge, vision and technical services and won’t consider anything less as ‘value-added’.”
Another compelling finding from the research is the consensus that large distributors who traditionally lack the ability to offer as much value as smaller competitors have no excuse for viewing their size as an obstacle to value-adding progress. Only 16% said big distributors offered value-add by virtue of their size, while nearly 50% believed there was no reason why distributor size should have anything to do with value-adding competence.
“The survey clearly supports our vision of a SuperVAD whereby the most efficient and effective distribution model sits somewhere between the business efficiency of a large distributor and the more involved nature of a small value added provider, all wrapped up with superior levels of technical competency, sales support, lead generation and local market knowledge,” added Desmond. “We are focussing all our efforts at consistently achieving this across our entire pan-European operation. We’ve got more than 20 offices across Europe but continue to maintain a 1:1 ratio of sales and engineering staff, and we’ve recently launched our first European-wide 24 hour support services offering.”
About Exclusive Networks Group
Exclusive Networks Group connects emerging and growing global technology vendors to pan-European markets through its ‘SuperVAD’ – value-added distribution model. Exclusive Networks Group specialises in security, networking, infrastructure, and storage solutions for the ‘Smarter Social Enterprise’ and trades with circa 5,000 reseller partners.
Operated as a tightly integrated group of nationally-focussed, independent, and entrepreneurially-led business units, Exclusive Networks Group has become renowned for bringing innovative and disruptive technologies to the European marketplace. Since 2003 it has achieved significant growth and shared commercial success by providing accelerated go-to-market momentum for its vendor, integrator, VAR and service provider partners through consultancy, engineering, sales, marketing, training and technical support services.
Headquartered in France, Exclusive Networks Group is present in over 13 other countries including UK, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, and Finland and across Francophone Africa.
For further information contact:
David Evans / David Mclean / Andrew Parker