Somehow in the last few years the term "Reseller" has become an insult. It's not enough anymore to just sell a product, now to be a true Value Added Reseller (VAR) partners must provide services. None of this is news but many partners are promoting themselves as a VAR when they may still be just a, dare I say it, Reseller.
As an end-user it becomes even more difficult to differentiate between the partners you go to in order to simply purchase product and those partners that provide you services above and beyond. Partners truly have to differentiate themselves in the current market and economy which becomes even more difficult if your competing partners are getting the same air time from the vendors. There is nothing wrong with simply selling product but is there a different level of support partners need if they are a Reseller or if they are a Value Added Reseller?
It is as important for a partner to find and promote their value proposition as it is for the vendor. If you don't provide services it's okay! Really it is! But you better add value another way (price, speed, accessibility). The bottom line is with more and more partners claiming to provide services the market is getting murky and customers more confused.
If you claim to be a VAR you need to have the certifications required to promote yourself. Vendors need to make the certifications comprehensive and provide marketing support for those who have completed it such as certified logos for websites and business cards and a partner finder on the corporate site. Vendors also need to do their part to promote the services that should be offered with the product or set of products. If the vendor site promotes "plug and play" then the partner has a hard time adding services.
There are opportunities for both types of partners, not providing services is not a bad thing but partners must capitalize on what they do provide. Some end users only want a "plug and play" partner or they have the capabilities in-house and want a partner to leverage their relationship with the vendor to acquire product. There needs to be different levels of service from partners and therefore, different levels of certification from vendors.
Vendors have you seen different opportunities for both? Partners how are you differentiating yourselves?