Finding a vendor partner with market leading and differentiated offerings is crucial to solution provider's success. There is no substitution for category leadership, market acceptance and overall growth potential as key attributes for selecting vendor partners.
It is critical to invest your time with the right vendor partners who have the depth of commitment in offerings, programs, marketing and sales support. Most of us do not have the luxury to invest in multiple relationships so we need to get it right from the start.
However, that alone will not lead to success for solution provider partners. If the vendor does not have an organizational and programmatic commitment to your marketing and sales initiatives, you run the risk of being “all dressed up with no place to go.” Many will ask for exclusive or quasi exclusive relationships within a given category. Before accepting this type of arrangement, you need to understand how your interests will be served. Obviously, vendors want to see partner sales of their solution grow and be meaningful. But can the same be said about their interest in their partners' growth and success?
[Related: How To Partner Successfully ]
Before you make the leap and sign up for sales numbers and start training personnel you should look carefully at how the vendor can help achieve your goals of growth and profitability. When evaluating a vendor’s program, look for initiatives that demonstrate they have your best interest at heart, and the relationship has the potential to be a win-win.
Here are 10 attributes to look for in a vendor partner before going "all in."
1) Territories , sales and service goals are clearly defined between the vendor’s sales team and the channel
2) Customer and prospect rules of engagement exist between the vendor’s sales team and the channel and compliance is tracked and reported
3) The company’s sales team is measured and/or compensated on partner revenue success
4) Vendor content, messaging, Revenue Marketing services and infrastructure are available for partners to leverage ( i.e. Marketing Automation and CRM systems, lead generation assets, programs and services)
5) Marketing funds and resources are available to support partner led initiatives that will drive opportunity for both companies, and the vendor is not just expecting investment in their own corporate led events
6) There are dedicated online and event marketing resources and personnel supporting the channels marketing and sales efforts e.g. Partner Marketing 7) Vendor leads for partners are scored and assigned to meet partner specific strengths and customer needs
8) Service Level Agreements are in place with clear measurements and reporting on what a partner is responsible for doing once they receive a lead
9) The company’s in house support and service organization has insight into channel customers and works collaboratively on support and renewal efforts
10) Dedicated or named partner resources are available to provide technically support for both client and prospecting situations
The more of these attributes you find in a given company the better chances of success you, as a VAR or Service Partner, will have. All vendor programs are different and should be examined carefully before partnering and then leveraged fully once a partnership is in place.
Bruce Culbert, Chief Service Officer
As chief services officer of The Pedowitz Group, a 2012 Inc. 500 company, Bruce is focused on delivering results-oriented services to the agency’s rapidly expanding client base. He is responsible for the company’s global consulting services and support and is also a member of its executive board.
Bruce’s career represents more than 25 years of experience leading groundbreaking information technology solutions and launching new business initiatives for companies including IBM, BearingPoint, KPMG and salesforce.com.
Email Bruce: Bruce@PedowitzGroup.com
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