By Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC
Channel sales strategist and coach Dede Haas is founder of DLH Services, which helps technology vendors and partners create innovative, successful channel sales solutions and programs. This month, Haas discusses the rationale used when choosing vendor partners with two members of The ASCII Group, a 1,300-member organization of North American VARs, solutions providers, and MSPs offering services to help its members grow their businesses. Find more tips and stories in Haas’ “Channel Knowledge Nuggets” newsletter at dlhservices.com.
|WES HAIRE is president of CyberSOLUTIONS (www.cybersolution.net), an Auburn, ME-based IT solutions provider focused primarily on law firms, offering outsourced IT support services to companies throughout the U.S.
SCHYLER JONES, The owner of MiradorIT LLC (www.miradorit.com) in Concord, NH, has been in the tech industry for more than 30 years. His company identifies tech-based solutions to address business problems, manages projects, and provides maintenance and support services.
QUESTION 1: How do you cut through the noise of many vendors vying for your business to get to the one who is the best fit for you?
HAIRE: For me, it’s really about only communicating with the ones that I’m looking to pursue a relationship with. I use voice mail and call screening for the calls. And on e-mails, I tend to let vendors know if I don’t want to be on their e-mail and call list.
Today, we’re seeing vendors spoofing local call area codes and it’s a huge turnoff. My engineer who receives many of those calls said he puts those vendors in the same basket as the calls that we get from India and China of folks saying, “Hey, we’re your local whatever,” to try to get our business. I only take calls from vendors that I’ve initiated contact with first.
JONES: It’s a timely question as we begin the move into the realm of being a managed security services provider.
As we engage with vendors, we find their offerings are all over the map, with some providing services that overlap. That’s not a bad thing, but we have to cut through the marketing fluff and do our homework ahead of time to fully understand what we want to achieve, then be able to understand which features and capabilities are a good fit. We’ll make a checklist of items to stay on point when we’re doing a demo, having a phone conversation, or in a meeting with a vendor. We want to document whether the vendor’s capabilities can meet our needs during the initial conversation.
QUESTION 2: Do you ever rely on your peers for insight into who you should partner with?
HAIRE: Absolutely. I know that in this day it’s very rare that we are blazing a trail with regard to processes and solutions. My peers, the others in our industry, have often been down a very similar path that we’re looking at and are a tremendous value when it comes to working with new vendors and vetting those products.
JONES: We always ask our peer companies or other players in the industry for their thoughts and recommendations. We have certainly made decisions to go with specific vendors because of the feedback that we’ve gotten from peer companies. We’ve also made decisions not to proceed with vendors because of that trusted feedback.
The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solution providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solution providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.