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Take back the power from resellers

Shane O'Neill

Recently, a small company I talked to implemented a new SAN using EMC products. When I asked why he chose EMC, the IT manager replied, "because our reseller said EMC was the best fit for us." I came out of the interview feeling that the reseller had ulterior motives for pushing EMC and that this guy had been hoodwinked into buying expensive products.

But when I talked to more SMBs, I kept hearing the same story. Most buy what their resellers tell them to buy.

IT guys are not trained negotiators. Their job is to implement and operate technologies, not cut deals. Resellers know this and will push storage equipment on users that exceeds their needs and budgets.

And think again if you believe that resellers are objective. Even when they resell equipment from five different vendors, they will lean toward selling say, EMC or IBM products because they get the best leads or the best commission from the big vendors.

I talked to a friend recently who has worked in sales at two major storage vendors as well as at a reseller. He laid out for me what smaller companies should do at the negotiating table, but often never do in his experience.

  • Demand a longer maintenance term at the same price. If the deal is for a year of maintenance, ask for two years.
  • Ask for deferred payments. Tell the reseller that you don't want to pay now -- you'd rather start paying in six months.
  • Demand that the sales rep from the reseller bring
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