Most vendors have in place a registration process to manage this conflict, which resellers should leverage to the fullest extent possible. But, resellers shouldn't rely solely on registration. Adding a few extra steps -- along with a dash of common sense -- can ensure resellers come out on top when vying for the all-important new prospect.
[Related: How To Partner Successfully]
1.) Stake Your Claim
Many vendors have implemented the aforementioned registration process for new opportunities, be it via email or through a partner portal. Unfortunately, resellers often fail to register their prospect, leaving it wide open for another partner in the same region to claim. Therefore, immediate registration should be the first order of business for a reseller.
2.) Confirm Your Registration
As soon as you finish typing up that email registering your opportunity, reach for the phone and call your vendor's sales rep. The reasons for doing so are threefold:
* It allows the reseller to share as much information as possible about the prospect with the vendor so a plan of action can be created.
* It serves as a backup in case the registration didn't make it through. Technology hiccups are far too common and occur without warning, so it's best not to leave a coveted opportunity to their whim.
* It builds a good relationship with the vendor's direct field (if applicable). When the direct rep recognizes you as a trusted partner with whom he has a relationship (and not the competition), he will be more willing to share leads rather than fight over the same ones.
3.) Get a Meeting On The Books
Step three is likely the most important element in solidifying an opportunity. Once a reseller has registered and confirmed the opportunity, arrange a WebEx, phone or face-to-face meeting with the prospect and vendor. This step ensures an indelible claim by the reseller on an opportunity in all parties' minds.
4.) See Your Sale Through
Managing your opportunity from soup to nuts is a professional touch all resellers should aim for. Seeing it through the entire sales process not only helps build a lasting business relationship, it can also open doors for upselling, future sales or recommendations for other new opportunities.
5.) Don't Overextend Yourself
At first glance, offering a wide swath of products may seem like a great way to broaden your appeal, but try to resist. Resellers that sign up to represent too many products can find themselves spread too thin and unable to spend an appropriate amount of time learning about each product and cultivating promising leads. With so many products to cover, overextended resellers can hardly find the time to register prospects properly (or at all). Worse, they may ignore those that have been registered, potentially sullying a business relationship.
Instead, select products to resell from vendors based on the strength of the product and how it fits into your product portfolio. Your selection should also be based on the vendor's partner program.
Certainly, vendors do what they can to keep a level playing field among their resellers in any particular region, most often by offering specific tools (e.g. registration) as outlined earlier. Only by making these tools a permanent part of the sales process will the reseller gain an advantage in the channel.
Chet Menzione is the vice president of channel sales at Quorum.
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