The VAR Wish List: 5 Things We Wish Vendors Did Better

Wishing Upon A VAR

If VARs had three wishes, or even five, what would they ask of their vendors?

Solution provider executives answered that question at a discussion moderated by Jere Brown, CEO of Dimension Data Americas, on whether vendors are keeping up with their partners at the Best of Breed 2013 conference, hosted by CRN's publisher The Channel Company.

"It's like a marriage: Some are good, some are bad, and you have to fight through the ugly spots to get to the good spots," said Rick Marcotte, CEO of DLT Solutions, of the relationship between partners and vendors.

CRN has rounded up five ways executives wish that vendors could work better with them going forward.

Wish 5: Better Listening

First of all, VARs said they wished vendors would listen to them more and help understand their problems.

"I think there's something to be said for the human element and what those vendors are doing for the right people," said Chad Massaker, CEO of Carceron. It comes down to good customer service, Massaker said, that could make the difference in a relationship.

"We pride ourselves on [customer service] and I think the vendors should pride themselves on it," he said.

Wish 4: A Focus On Revenue

In the end, a big part of the relationship is the revenue that it can produce, because in the end the solution providers have to make money, Dimension Data's Brown said to CRN after the event.

"We’re always looking for a margin and revenue opportunity," Mark Galyardt, executive vice president at XIOSS, said. "Can we make money doing this?"

That includes tracking the rebates to solution providers. He said his company has to have three employees just to keep track of the thousands of deal transactions that result in rebates and making sure they go through, a cost that wouldn't have to be there if the rebate process was sure to be completed.

Wish 3: Keep It Simple

Other than the rebates, the VARs on the panel said that they overall wished the administrative process of working with vendors was much easier.

"That comes into your decision when you're looking to add another vendor to your portfolio -- what do the programs look like, are you going to have to add more resources to support the administration of the programs?" Brown said to CRN.

Wish 2: Investment In Training

In order to keep up with the pace of a rapidly changing industry, Brown and the panel said that they wished vendors would provide more training on new programs and how those programs can benefit solutions. Brown said it would help solution provider teams keep pace with changing technologies if the vendors helped provide training and certifications.

The training is on both sides, though, Brown said. Vendors need to train their sales team on how solution providers work and make money in order to make the best out of the relationship.

Wish 1: A Defined Relationship

Brown said that he wished vendors would minimize contention in the field around who owns the client. He said vendors and VARs need clear rules of engagement that will continue to be monitored and enforced along the way. Because, in the end, it's about building a relationship, Brown said.