Guest Column | November 5, 2013

Channel Sales Vendor/Partner Relationships: Part 4

How Opposites Attract And Stay Together — Or Not

Dede Haas, CA-AM, channel sales strategist, DLH Services, LLC

If a channel sales partnership is to be successful, it’s all about the relationship between the vendor and the partner. There can be all kinds of fancy channel programs and spiffs but if the channel partner does not feel like they are treated as a legitimate business partner, the partnership will not work.

Part IV: If The Partnership Does Not Click, Is The Next Step Counseling Or Cutting Ties?

Q: Can this relationship be saved?

After everything the NYC VAR had been through with the vendor (Part I, Part II, Part III), it was no surprise they were rethinking the partnership. The vendor was continually reaping, but not sharing, the rewards from the labors of the VAR. Was it time to end this relationship?

Before making the final decision to terminate the partnership, the VAR reviewed their concerns and the vendor’s responses:

  1. Did the vendor take the time to learn about their business?  Did they help them to build that business?
  2. Had the vendor satisfactorily addressed the concerns they had about the lack of: a sales plan, qualified leads, and total attention from the channel manager?
  3. Was a proper solution proposed and implemented to mitigate the channel conflict?
  4. Did the vendor ever actually listen to them?
  5. Has the partnership been worth the investment they made in time, personnel and money?

Because all efforts to rectify the partnership problems had been exhausted with no positive outcome, the VAR decided it was time to develop an exit strategy to end the relationship.

An exit strategy defines how to smoothly end the partnership:

  • Re-read the agreement, especially the termination clause.  If needed, retain the services of counsel with an expertise in contracts and agreements. (TIP: Always carefully read and understand the entire partner agreement before signing.)
  • Determine what the loss in revenue means in the short term, how to make up for it in the long term, and how to adjust accordingly.
  • Plan how and when the vendor will be told.
  • Be prepared to tell the vendor why the partnership is ending.  Be honest but end on good terms if possible.

If a vendor and a partner are not a good fit and they are not enjoying a mutually profitable and viable relationship, it is time to end the partnership.

Have you fired your vendor?  I would love to hear about it.


An award-winning high-tech sales professional and founder of DLH Services, Dede Haas creates innovative and successful channel sales solutions for the vendor and the partner. She has developed and managed channel partner programs for enterprise and cloud based products and services for small and medium businesses and for industry leaders, such as Intel Corp.  For the partner, she has managed the vendor relationship, created business opportunities, and developed and conducted product training.  She has her Certification of Achievement-Alliance Management (CA-AM) from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals. Have a question, comment, or story you would like to share with Dede?  If so, please contact her at  or +1 703-448-1710.