Getting Vendors To Think Channel: Inventor Of Deal Registration Goes Solo


Lauffin, who until late October was senior executive vice president of Nexsan Technologies, said a lot of vendors have deal registration programs, but that many do not meet solution providers' requirements.

"Lots of VARs say there are a lot of registration programs, but there are no 'Diamond' programs," he said. "My design is able to handle tens of thousands of registrations. Before I left Nexsan, I was managing 60,000 registrations."

Lauffin is looking to take his experience in a variety of channel programs to new vendors who have no understanding of the channel, as well as to mature or semi-mature companies looking to expand into new markets. "I want to help them ramp up to success with minimal investment," he said.

Part of developing a deal registration program is automating the setting of sales forecasts based on data from the program, Lauffin said.

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"In my opinion, sales forecasts involves the vendor's sales force and the partners' sales force in wasting a lot of time," he said. "I have developed technology that keeps records of new details and registrations that can develop a trend analysis to accurately forecast future sales without involving the sales forces."

Lauffin is also developing a virtual front office for vendors new to the channel to help give solution providers access to the vendor's technical and sales support. The program is set up so that, once in place, it can be handed off to the vendor, he said.

Lauffin is also bringing vendors a program he called Video Ambassador under which he will help them bring their channel message to video in order to take the message to as many partners and their customers as possible in a short time. "I may go to an end user and do a perfect one-and-a-half-hour pitch," he said. "And even if it's perfect, I've still pitched only two people. Later, they'll come back and ask us to do the pitch again. We make sure partners get a consistent message to third parties."

Also on tap is helping vendors developing phone skills and outboard call centers so that multiple employees can pitch their message effectively.

Channel sales motivation is also being offered, Lauffin said. "Motivation is one of my core competencies and strongest attributes," he said. "I can motivate people and train people on the right steps to follow, how to convey the message to end users, and make sure it's the right message. I'll do it live at first, and maybe six months later go to video."

Michael Fanelli, a partner at TreTempo, a Dallas-based solution provider and a long-time acquaintance of Lauffin, said that Lauffin has really set the standard for channel programs over the years.

"Diamond really set the bar high for other vendors," Fanelli said. "I signed with Nexsan because of him."

While no channel program is foolproof, Lauffin typically structured his programs to keep the vendor or other solution providers from swooping in and grabbing a deal, prevent the all-too-common situation of the solution provider essentially providing consulting for free, Fanelli said.

"Diamond does what he says," he said. "He not only talks the talk, he walks the walk, if I can be forgiven for that weary old phrase. A lot of vendors say they'll protect the VAR, and they do, until the end of the month. If there is a guy that can help vendors change their channel programs, he's the guy. Now the question is, do the vendors want to change?"