By Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC
It’s not love at first sight. It is all about the relationship between the vendor and the partner if a channel sales partnership is to be successful. A better understanding of what a vendor expects from a partner helps the solution provider make well informed and prudent business decisions that have a positive and profitable impact on their organization.
Read Part 1, “We wait by the phone but they never call,” Part 2, “Do we really have to talk about business?” Part 3, “Marketing: Why do we have to get dressed up?” and Part 4 “We really like speed dating. Close and go, we always say.”
PART V: “We know what we are doing. Why do you ask?”
But do you really know? If a vendor is recruiting you for their partner program, can you definitively say your technical team meets their requirements?
Have you examined your systems engineers through the eyes of a vendor? Do they cut it when it comes to product knowledge and implementation? Are they trainable? Open to new products? Available for formal training and lunch ‘n’ learns? Willing to go through a certification process if that is required? Comfortable in customer-facing situations? Is there strong and experienced team leadership? Most important, are you prepared to make your team accessible to the vendor if you come on board as a new partner? You must be brutally honest with yourself and your technical team when it comes to vendor expectations because these are some of the questions they will ask. The vendor really does want you to know what you are doing and that you do it well.
Vendors want experienced technical teams that interface well with the customer. The team may not have to be big in numbers but it must be well managed and technically savvy. It is crucial you let the vendor know you value the investment they make in the training and certification of these resources.
What else is the vendor looking for when evaluating your systems engineers?
- Expertise in the vendor’s product areas, which may have been earned while working with a competitor's product
- Experience in areas such as development, services, and/or support
- Assurance they will use the vendor’s resources, tools, and portals that are in place to help them be successful
- Willing to being coached by the vendor’s systems engineers
- Active participation in all aspects of the technical program
- Team players
It is best to truly know your technical team and if they are the right fit for the vendor. Be honest with the vendor if they are not. You may not become their partner but you avoided the conflicts that may have come down the road once you were deep into the program.
TIP: Ask the vendor for their partner technical team profile. What they give you may not be complete but it is a start.
An award-winning high-tech sales professional and founder of DLH Services, Dede Haas creates 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, Dede 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 dede@DLHServices.com or +1 703-448-1710.