IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Maximizing Margins on Storage

Whether they're talking about upselling, cross-selling, or demonstrating return on investment, our panel of distributors offers advice on how to make the most of your storage sales. By Rachel Cericola

Vice President, Infrastructure Technology Solutions, Ingram Micro North America

Develop common solution sets and services for each vertical you serve. Ensure that these solutions meet the general needs of the markets, but still offer some room for customization.

If you have a new client, perform a network assessment to properly identify needs and charge for it whenever possible. If you're an MSP, set up a node and offer to monitor the existing network free of charge for a week. This will help you demonstrate ROI and quickly uncover any vulnerabilities and needs.

Also, always provide clients with real-world business solutions--including products, services, and specializations--that show a tangible ROI and help drive productivity and performance. Offerings might include business continuity solutions, document retention, branch solutions, data protection and remote backup, and managed services.


Vice President of Purchasing, D&H Distributing Co.

Network-attached storage has become the digital repository for everyone's life and business. There's no more use of film, no more videotape recorders or 8mm'everything from X-ray images to surveillance recordings has gone digital. Demand is strong enough now that VARs can leverage storage as a lead-in to selling specialized solutions that rely on specific drives for their functionality.

For example, an SMB reseller can cross-sell NAS as an integral part of a multimedia PC network. A small office--legal firm, real estate agency, or healthcare practitioner, for example--could utilize a larger mediabased network to store images, files, and digitized records, as well as manage content for digital signage and background music for the waiting area.

Similarly, resellers and system builders can upgrade their SMB customers to an IP-based security surveillance system, since digital drives are proving to be superior to tape-based systems. To help VARs meet that need, specialty hard drives have hit the market that are designed specifically for surveillance applications, with enhanced video streaming, extended reliability, and the ability to write to disk 24/7.


Vice President, Networking Product Marketing, Tech Data Corp.

A lot of resellers have been adding disks to old Proliant servers and JBOD-type (Just a Bunch Of Disks) configurations. The real opportunity is to be able to consolidate storage resources. It might be taking that whole array of storage that has being underutilized and scattered throughout and consolidating it under one storage appliance. By doing that, you have better control and management of that resource, but it also gives you the opportunity to start layering in some software.

Executive Director and CEO of NASBA and former Associate Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Alliances, Synnex Corp.

Resellers should be looking to develop a complete storage solution strategy, with flexibility for various company sizes and technology needs. The opportunity is to sell storage infrastructure products like host bus adapters (HBAs) and switches as well as storage. Continuous data protection (CDP) and de-duplication along with storage backup is a tremendous opportunity that most resellers don't think about enough. The trend toward disk-based backup should further increase raw storage needs.

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