What are the benefits of leasing as part of an IT deal?

Great IT sellers don’t need to just offer the latest technology, infrastructure, networking or software solutions, they also need to be able to provide the best in customer service, too. One of the most effective ways you can help benefit your clients, and for you to gain a competitive edge over your competitors, is by offering IT leasing. So here are our top tips to an IT lease.

The benefits for you:

1. Removing the barriers to sales

The ability to pay up-front, particularly for high-value products, is simply out of reach for many businesses. Particularly start-ups and smaller businesses hoping to grow. Rather than insisting on immediate payment terms, offering a leasing option to your clients may put much more of what you sell within their reach.

2. Offers opportunities to upsell or cross sell

A manageable leasing solution might not just make the product they originally wanted affordable, but you may find that there is the greater potential to sell a more premium package or cross sell addition solutions at the same time.

3. Encourages customer retention

Making your products more affordable is likely to lead to happier customers and a happy customer is more likely to have a better relationship with you and return when they have other IT requirements in the future.

4. You’ll get prompt payment

Once the lease has been arranged and the invoice sent, you’ll get 100 per cent of the sale price, while the finance company handles the lease repayments.

The benefits for your customers:

1. Easy monthly budget management

The ability to spread the cost of an IT solution creates a fixed monthly expense that can be much more straightforward for customers to factor into their monthly cash flow, with the added advantage of access to the technology from day one.

2. Keeps alternative credit lines available

Customers will enjoy the fact that they can turn to you as a ‘one-stop shop’ to both fulfil orders and get financing. Plus, they may find this type of financing easier to obtain than a bank loan. Better still, it leaves alternative lines of credit untouched and available for other projects.

3. Staying at the cutting edge

Rather than having to wait until there is money in the budget available for an up-front purchase, businesses will be more able to access the latest technology and IT solutions when they need them, rather than when they have some cash to spare.

4. The opportunity to upgrade

You don’t need us to tell you how quickly things can change and customers may need to upgrade their IT before the term of their lease is up. With the right finance partner, a reseller can build in upgrades and mitigations within the lease to allow their customers to sign a new agreement for the latest equipment or software, often without an increase to their monthly payments.

You might be more comfortable talking servers and software rather than finance terms. So don’t worry one of Syscap’s dedicated consultants can talk you through the process and is always available to deal directly with the client. Contact us to find out more.

Syscap CEO takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

Philip White, Syscap’s CEO, has responded and taken up the Ice Bucket Challenge. Philip was nominated by Syscap CFO Steven Dunne, who took the challenge at the weekend.

He took the opportunity to nominate Martin Hellawell at Softcat; Andy Fox at K3 and Florent Pannequin at Sage.

Not content with one bucket, Philip was doused with two full buckets of freezing water. It has to be noted that there was no shortage of volunteers at Syscap ready to help with this challenge.

Click here to see the full video.

Tell us what you think

Here at Syscap we regularly take time out to listen to our customers. It may be a bit of a cliché but we do genuinely believe that the customer is at the heart of our business.

We have recently completed one of our peak periods with the July tax funding deadline. As this draws to a close, we have approached every single one of our customers to ask for feedback on our service. More importantly, we also want to know what we could do better next time around. With nearly 20% of our customers replying, we are confident that there is a representative sample of our customers replying.

We aren’t trying to pretend that this is corporate atruism. If we do a better job of servicing our customers, they are more likely to come back and do business with us again in future. So the feedback loop is built in to everything that we do. Below is a chart showing just how many of our customers are likely to come back to us again.

Very likely

64%

Fairly likely

21%

Neither

4%

Slightly unlikely

7%

Very unlikely

4%

To some, this looks like a great result with the responses weighted towards the “very likely”. But at Syscap we are about to begin the intense process of working out why there are so many in the bottom left who are unlikely to come back to us.

In school report terms, we would probably see this as a “Good but could do better”. We would welcome your help with that. If you are a Syscap customer or a potential customer, tell us how you think we can do just that. Your comments are welcome by emailing contact@syscap.com.

Syscap announces partnership with Swiftpage

Exclusive deal offers funding options for resellers
Syscap, the leading independent provider of finance, is partnering with Swiftpage to offer a new funding solution to its resellers. The new product can be used to spread the cost of Act! and Saleslogix licenses and annual maintenance plans over a 12 month period.

Swiftpage is a leading provider of integrated marketing and CRM solutions and is in the process of rolling out Act! Finance to its Platinum, Gold and Silver partners. The deal will allow Swiftpage resellers to present spread payment facilities to its clients – removing the upfront cost for clients.

Act! Finance runs on a revolving credit facility so that customers can continue to use the facility year after year. Documentation has been kept simple and, with no underwriting and no cost, the deals allow clients a more accurate comparison with subscription-based products.

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, says: “As an innovative software vendor, we are delighted that Swiftpage is leading the way in innovating payment terms for its clients. In a dynamic software market, the customer experience of buying a product is increasingly complex. Flexible finance options simply mean that the customer can align their purchases with their use of the product.”

“Swiftpage is committed to working with our channel partners to grow revenue by delivering a customer-centric sales process. Partnering with Syscap enables us to bring innovative funding solutions while Syscap takes care of the finance,” said Lindsay Boullin, Vice President and Head of Marketing and Operations for Swiftpage International.

 

Working together for a greater good

This was the running theme at one of our latest meetings where we had the opportunity to get together, which is crucial to the development of the team and overall success of the business.

With help from an external facilitator we used our afternoon session to focus on how we can drive Syscap forward so that we can continue to deliver exceptional results. Our starting point was that great things come from small changes and that everyone needs to come together in order to reach a common goal. In this context we were looking at our sales and marketing efforts, but believe that the same mentality can be applied to any context, which is why we thought we should share some of our thoughts from the day.

Stop accepting

In work, as well as in life, we will generally get what we accept – so if we genuinely want to improve something, we have to stop accepting the way it is now. “Stop accepting” doesn’t mean a flat refusal, which would most likely create friction and unhealthy conflict; it does mean, however, at least raising “I don’t think this is good enough”. You can’t change a culture overnight, but you do have to start somewhere.

Small improvements = sustained success

There were some great successes for Team GB at the Olympics in 2012. But one team that stood out in particular was the cycling team led by Dave Brailsford. He has been widely quoted on the importance of marginal gains.

Put simply….how small improvements in a number of different aspects of what we do can have a huge impact to the overall performance of the team.”

It’s so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis.

Almost every habit that you have – good or bad – is the result of many small decisions over time. And yet, how easily we forget this when we want to make a change.

So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

From what I can tell, this pattern works the same way in reverse. (An aggregation of marginal losses, in other words.) If you find yourself stuck with bad habits or poor results, it’s usually not because something happened overnight. It’s the sum of many small choices – a 1 percent decline here and there – that eventually leads to a problem.

We are all responsible

Very often it is seen as someone else’s problem to sort issues out. But to make improvements we must all play our part. As with so many things, it just needs people who are prepared to make a start, however big or small. It’s also fundamental that we recognise that it’s not just others this applies to – we are often most accepting of mediocrity from ourselves.

We will continue to make marginal gains in order to take small steps towards a greater, more successful and sustainable future.

Top tips for a perfect pitch

This weekend is the Open Championship at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, with 14-time major winner Tiger Woods and former world No.1 Rory McIlroy amongst the players hoping to make an impression. If they want to lift the Claret Jug they are going to need the perfect pitch.

Clearly natural talent is a big part in their success but practice also makes perfect. Even the most experienced salesperson needs to refresh their sales pitch. So take a look at our refresher tips to avoid hitting the bunkers.

Do your research

Before you pick up the phone or send the first email, you should be finding out as much about your customer or prospect as possible. Why waste precious meeting time asking questions you should already know the answer to? Remember to research the following and give your customer an individualised experience that shows you have done your research:

  • What is the company history and their current situation?Have you looked into their latest sales figures? Have they launched any new initiatives recently?
  • What are their key business issues?Sales people are expected to have a good knowledge of what the most important issues and challenges affecting their prospect’s business and/or industry are. Are they concerned about the actions of a competitor? Are newer companies taking too big a bite of their market?

Remember that a pitch is a dialogue, not a monologue

Received wisdom is that a salesperson should be talking 20% of the time and listening for the other 80%. Businesses don’t really want to know about your company or what you have to sell. They want to know why they should care about your product and how it will directly offer solutions and improvement to their own problems. It’s vital to connect the value of your solution to the needs of your buyer.

The more you listen to a decision-maker, and the more you ask high-value, thought-provoking questions, the likelier you are to identify what is important to them. It gives you the opportunity to show how what you are selling can help them accomplish that. Customers aren’t as interested in functions or features as real-world benefits and value. In the same way, they don’t want to feel like they are being sold to – the feeling of being talked to, rather than conversed with, could mean distant and defensive decision-makers.

Remember to follow through and follow up

If you’ve gone to all the hard work of recommending your product to a customer and they have shown an interest, why throw it away with sloppy behaviour? If a prospect asks for a certain piece of information that you promise by a certain time, stick to your word. If you aren’t consistent and reliable, a slow response before a sale will set off alarms bells about your aftersales attitude.

Similarly, be relentless with how you follow up after the pitch until you get a definite “yes” or “no”. A lack of a response doesn’t necessarily mean a “no” and the inability for a prospect to make a decision straight away shouldn’t put you off. Some even say that most sales aren’t made until the twelfth follow up. In fact, using these follow up opportunities gives you the chance to build a relationship with your prospects to really establish their desires and any hesitancies they might have.

And the winner is…

After 64 matches, the Syscap Summer of Soccer game has reached its dramatic conclusion.

There have been early exits and eye watering injuries; plenty of thrills and a few goal mouth spills but most of all there have been plenty of shots on target.

Syscap’s predictor game has been keenly fought and we are delighted to announce that the winner is…

James Baxter of Softcat who wins 4 Club Wembley tickets with hospitality.

The runners up are Ramesh Shrestha of Viglen and Tim Burrows of Softcat who take home an iPad mini and a meal for two at Cabana Brazilian Barbecue.

Well done to everyone who participated. We hope that you have enjoyed the Syscap Summer of Sport and we look forward to working with you again soon.

£1.7bn Support & Maintenance Market Funding For Resellers

Syscap is launching a new funding solution to allow resellers to unlock revenue from the UK’s £1.7 billion* IT support and maintenance market.

The new stand-alone online product, Support Funder, allows resellers to receive payment for an annual IT support and maintenance deal at the start of the contract, while clients spread the cost into simple monthly instalments.

Support Funder is already being used by several major Channel businesses, including Iris and Swiftpage. Syscap is also in negotiations with around 50 more IT resellers to use Support Funder.

Contracts for services including maintenance of equipment and software, helpdesk provision and staff training are potentially one of the most profitable parts of the market for IT resellers, although most have yet to tap its full revenue potential.

Until now no funding has been made available to help resellers access this market

Syscap explains that until now, no suitable funding was available to help resellers access this market due to the short-term nature of support contracts. For many IT resellers, this has led to difficulties in securing and maintaining support contracts, as the significant up-front expense involved has acted as a barrier to some clients.

Accepting monthly direct debit payments from clients has also not been a practical option for the majority of resellers, as arranging direct debits through a bank involves significant costs and administration work, and very few resellers are able to accept these payments directly.

Support Funder will provide payment up front to resellers for their support contracts, allowing them to focus on growing their businesses while it takes the administrative burden of collecting the monthly payments from their clients.

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, says: “Most resellers are still struggling to make the most of their capabilities in maintenance and support, and the lack of a suitable funding product has definitely left many of them unable to provide annual support contracts in the best way for their clients.”

“We think Support Funder can be the key that unlocks profits for resellers in this market.”

“Many resellers have told us that they could retain a much higher percentage of their support and maintenance clients if they had the ability to offer financing for the service. Syscap has a long history of providing bespoke funding to Channel businesses, so this product was a natural fit for both ourselves and our clients.”

Syscap plans to roll out the Support Funder model to other IT services in the coming months.

Says Philip White: “We believe that there is scope for this funding model to be applied to other services provided by Channel businesses, allowing resellers to offer a better deal to their clients.”

* Source: TechMarketView

IT Vendors Offering Finance To Customer To Convert Leads

New funding service for maintenance and support contracts expected to drive continued partnership growth

The number of IT vendors offering finance to potential customers to help convert business leads into sales is continuing to grow strongly, as securing bank lending for IT investment remains tough particularly for SMEs, says Syscap, the leading independent finance provider.

In the past year Syscap has seen a 19% jump in new partnership deals signed with IT resellers keen to offer a finance option to customers as part of their sales process. Syscap signed 350 partnership deals with IT vendors last year, up from 294 in the previous 12 months, continuing a strong upward trend over the past three years.

Comments Syscap Chief Executive Philip White, “In the last few years, the ability to offer finance to clients has become a crucial part of the sales process for many IT vendors, enabling them to maximise the number of enquiries and leads they can convert into actual business. From what we are seeing this trend shows no sign of abating.”

“While businesses’ desire and need to invest in IT may have returned since the recession, many SMEs in particular are still having trouble securing the funds to make the necessary upgrades to support their business growth and development. Bank loans, especially for IT investment, are still in short supply.”

“Providing asset finance is the obvious solution so that IT vendors can help put clients in a position where they can green-light investment projects that would otherwise have been out of reach.”

New funding service for maintenance and support contracts expected to drive continued partnership growth

The new stand-alone funding product, which is accessed completely online, enables more businesses to take up contracts for maintenance of IT equipment and software as well as for support such as help-desks and staff training.

Philip White says: “Maintenance and support contracts are valuable product for vendors, and help customers to get the most out of new IT acquisitions.  But businesses can be reluctant to pay for these contracts up front, and funding a monthly payment option themselves is not always attractive for vendors.”

“Vendors tell us that most businesses recognise that technology maintenance and support are desirable.  They know that they need help to make the most of the technology they are buying rather than just using the basic functionality, but unfortunately, there isn’t always a way to make this support immediately affordable for them.”

“With Support Funder, we are excited to be the first to fill that need, and to put this new service online so that it can be accessed instantly.  Providing targeted financing for maintenance and support products should help to grow what is already a very important market for vendors.”

Support Funder is based on proven technology and processes used successfully for two years as the Law Society’s recommended finance provider for regulatory fee renewals.

Funding for IT investment jumps 9% in a year

IT leasing bucking overall trend of asset finance industry

IT investment through leasing in the past year totaled £1.5 billion, up 9% on £1.37 billion in the previous year*. Many businesses cut back sharply on IT spending following the credit crunch, leaving Britain’s business IT infrastructure crumbling.

The growth in asset finance for IT investment halts the overall trend of business investment through asset finance, which contracted by 1.7% over the same period, going from £22 billion to £21.7 billion. This is partly due to the withdrawal of ING from the UK asset finance market in November 2012.

The main reasons for  the rise in IT investment by businesses is the boom in the use of cloud storage, the increasing number of companies supplying tablet computers to their employees, and even businesses switching to Windows 8.

Investment in IT has impact on economic growth

Philip White, CEO of Syscap, comments: “Investment in IT by British businesses can be a huge catalyst for economic growth. It has a massive impact on how efficient and globally competitive UK plc can be.”

“Cloud computing has completely changed the landscape of data storage globally. Businesses around the world have moved hundreds of thousands of terabytes of data out of in-house storage to the cloud over the past few years.”

“That has driven a huge increase in demand for storage at third-party data centres. A lot of these cloud providers are investing heavily in storage, networking and security, as their clients become more comfortable with the notion of remote storage, and more willing to put sensitive data in the hands of third party providers.”

“The penetration of tablets into the workplace has also been a major factor in the increase in IT investment. A massive number of employees across financial services, professional services and the technology sector are now given tablets by their employers to aid their productivity. This comes with a cost that some businesses are choosing to meet through asset finance.”

“Even Windows 8, despite a difficult first year in the market, has provided some impetus for businesses to invest in new IT equipment.”

Asset finance to invest in IT has grown in popularity

The use of asset finance to invest in IT hardware and software continues to grow in popularity as many banks remain unwilling to write business loans to fund IT investment.

Explains Philip White: “A lot of banks lack the specialist knowledge to assess the long-term value of IT assets, meaning they are often reluctant to write loans to fund them. This means a lot of businesses have found that asset finance is a much better fit for their programmes of investment, as the specialists in the sector have a much keener understanding of how to assess the risk in lending against IT hardware and software.”

“Leasing allows businesses to bring their IT equipment up to date without impacting on cash flow, or adding to the level of debt they carry on their balance sheets. This frees up cash for the other vital investments businesses will need to make as the economic recovery gathers pace.”

Asset finance for IT investment by UK business, last two years*

Asset finance for IT investment by UK business, last two years*

* Year end October 31. Source: FLA