Probrand has recorded landmark half year growth following a widespread transformation programme, which included the launch of an online marketplace for IT products and services. A differentiator that heralds the business as the first UK VAR to adopt a software-driven platform-based strategy.
Exploiting this IP has enabled the business to access bigger opportunities and ramp customer acquisition to deliver record year-on-year sales up 22% for the first half of 2018, and 9% growth in profit.
The results follow the merger of the company’s traditional IT reseller and cloud & managed IT services businesses in January 2017.
Probrand’s new service oriented vision has placed its marketplace platform front and centre of the business, onboarding buying communities, sales teams and vendors into a self-service environment, as well as integrating utility based pricing into its own world class managed services portfolio.
This disruptive approach is matching market demand for a new way to buy IT, fulfilling demand for resellers to deliver value into product and service transactions for both buyers and suppliers.
Probrand’s marketplace openly connects IT buyers with over 2,500 brands from distributors and vendors in a ‘live’ and transparent environment that facilitates drop shipping direct to buyers. Users save time and money via live price and stock updates, price comparison across suppliers, visibility of personalised and special bid discounts plus ERP integration and customisation.
Uniquely, users can configure, price and provision cloud and managed IT services from within the Probrand portfolio and those of 3rd party suppliers.
Marketplace user Claire Wilkinson, Head of Service Delivery at Mears Group, said: “The Proband Marketplace is like a business version of Amazon but better. The whole admin process is a lot simpler and it enables us to get products much faster.”
Matt Ruskin, Channel Manager at Lenovo UK and Ireland, said: "The Probrand marketplace delivers efficiency and scale, driving and protecting the channel. We have already seen the added value it brings. The business has put digital at its core to deliver value to both sides of the buy-supply community."
Probrand CEO, Peter Robbins, said: “Transformation is expensive, challenging and demands great people. With customers changing how they discover and buy, reflected in the rise of B2B marketplaces, we are half way through our plan to remain relevant, and early results are very positive.
“Our platform is providing a materially different digital IP, delivering market differentiation, attracting new customers we otherwise would not have engaged and unlocking future scale out into international geographies.
“We have rapidly grown our transactional base with integration into mainstream ERP systems and third party communities, winning much larger run rate and contracted spend from bigger organisations.
“Sales of cloud and our managed IT services have also grown by 25% year-on-year as have digital services, improving overall margin and profit for the period. This builds on the success of our in-house technical excellence and deployment.
“Of particular note are digital projects that are boosting profits and customer engagement for vendors and distributors. Our pre-sales advisor applications simplify the process of configure, price and quote for complex products, as-a-service financing and utility priced services. Users then ‘add to basket’. We aim to unlock these to not logged in users early 2019.
“We now move to drive growth through exploiting the reach of our IP, scaling customer acquisition and onboarding more sales people to our platform mentality.”
The Probrand Marketplace offers IT products, Cloud, managed IT and digital services and was developed in response to the influence of consumer style purchasing in the business world. Research has shown that 94% of B2B purchases now begin online, and 91% of cold ‘interruptive’ calls fail to produce sales.