The film Reservoir Dogs is a five-star classic. Its claustrophobic plot relates the tale of a diamond heist gone wrong and how the outlaws, pursued by the police, come undone as they search for the undercover agent who set them up.
Underlying the extreme violence, harsh language and black humour is a simple story of a partnership gone sour due to lack of trust.
Here's how key scenes from the film show how both vendors and resellers can benefit from its lessons on partnerships and trust, and in turn build healthier, mutually beneficial links.
- Don't steal business from the channel
In the film's climax, Mr Pink sneaks away from his partners, leaving them to kill each other. He takes the diamonds, but runs straight into the police, gaining nothing from his self-interest.
It's surprising how many vendors do the same by snatching the biggest deals from the channel and selling direct. The result is short-term gain and long-term loss of relationships and business. Resellers should make sure the vendor they work with is completely committed to the channel.
- Training matters
To help undercover cop Freddy (Mr Orange) penetrate the group planning the heist, he is given an anecdote to learn about a drug deal that he is supposed to have taken part in. Freddy objects to learning the lengthy script, but does so under protest realising it will enhance his credibility with the group. It is also useful training to help him adjust to his role.
It's the same with software sales. It is vital that the manufacturer has a training programme to help resellers gain the product knowledge needed to be credible with customers, with emphasis on sales training and high-level sales support.
- Back up your partner
When Joe Cabot, the mastermind behind the heist, accuses the wounded Mr Orange of being an informer, Mr White defends Mr Orange's honour by shooting Joe.
While it is not necessary to go to these extremes to support partners in a sales environment, it's very useful for vendors to provide sales support to help resellers succeed when pitching to big customers. This enhances the reseller's credibility, and underlines the manufacturer's commitment.
- Listen to the channel
Although Mr White's loyalty to Mr Orange is admirable, had he listened to Joe he would have realised that Mr Orange really was an undercover agent. The lesson here is simple: don't be completely resistant to change. Part of the vendor's sales and product philosophy should be to adapt to the changing needs of the customer. Intelligence passed onto the manufacturer from the channel is vital in this.
So if a vendor is prepared to help you in the ways outlined here, then you can be sure of a long-term, profitable relationship, with no need for firearms.
Jason Holloway is general manager at F-Secure
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