All VAR’s Are Not Equal

Beats Me

All VAR’s are not equal nor are they the same. Some VAR’s shouldn’t be VAR’s which makes the exceptional VAR’s stand out even more, but gives the entire industry a Big Black Eye. This is just my opinion but some partners should close their doors and find their core competency and go do it.

Pre-2000 deals were flowing and everyone was happy, except for the customers. They were unhappy because they found that selling the solution was but a small part of the process and a lot of these customers were left out in the cold silently, and sometimes not so quietly cursing the entire industry. They were justified in their anger and disappointment.

What they found, much to their dismay was that not all VAR’s had their best interest in mind. This reminds me of Ben Franklin’s quote which was written more than 200 years ago;

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

Deloitte and Touche did a study a few years back. They asked first and multiple time purchasers of Accounting Software what their #1 criteria was for choosing a system. (See Results Below)

Top 10 Criteria for Selecting Accounting Software

Rank                            Reason

Price of Software

Ease of Implementation

Ease of Use

Software’s ability to fit the business

Functionality of software

Software works with existing hardware

Growth potential of software

Level of support provided by local firm

Quality of documentation

Developers track record of performance

2nd Time Buyers

Rank                          Reason

Level of support provided by local firm
Developers track record
Software’s ability to fit the business
Growth potential of software
Price of software
Quality of documentation
Functionality of software
Ease of use
Ease of implementation
Software works with existing software

Take a look at the top 5 in the second group. The level of support provided by the local VAR was #1. I have shared this study with many prospects over the years, 50% took a look at it and still decided that price was the most important and paid the price. I’ve had many calls from prospects who chose price over substance asking us to clean up the mess from the partner they chose. The other 50% bought the right solution from the right partner and lived happily ever after! I recently ran into a Sage Software distributor who doesn’t have any in house resources to implement MAS products and yet call themselves a VAR. Apparently they’re unaware that VAR is the acronym for VALUE ADDED RESELLER intimating that the reseller provides Value. They can sell and they can provide support for the customer. If there are any potential customers reading this please don’t make the mistake that many others have made by choosing your Solution Provider on price alone.

  1. a. Ask them for 3 – 5 reference able happy and satisfied clients.
    b. Ask them what their implementation methodology is. All successful VAR’s should have this ready to send to prospects.
    c. Ask them how long they’ve been in business as a Sage VAR.
    d. Ask them if their staff is certified. If they can’t provide you with any of the above then you’re probably not dealing with a VAR, you’re dealing with a distributor; and anyone can distribute software.This is your time to ask questions and you should expect answers to your questions.Being a VAR requires a healthy investment and there are companies out there who are looking for shortcuts to this process. The Sage Software distributor that I mentioned earlier didn’t even have up to date certifications for their IT guy to do implementations. Really? Yet, they call themselves a VAR. Its people like this who give the industry a bad rap and unfortunately the rest of the industry has to answer for these companies.