While baby-sitting for my two nieces recently it suddenly occurred to me that I had come across exactly the same problem that most vendors have faced in the channel.
With one niece aged three and the other a little over 15 months, after less than an hour (which felt more like 24 to me) I was stuck for things to do.
The problem wasn't lack of ideas but that I struggled to keep both happy at the same time. What one could quite happily do, the other didn't possess the skills to handle. (Play-Doh, for example, seemed the perfect solution to me until I realised the 15-month-old wasn't playing with it, she was eating it.)
That's when it occurred to me that most vendors running dual go-to-market strategies have the same problem: how to keep both their direct salesforce and the channel happy at the same time. And let's be honest, even the vendors that claim to be 100 per cent indirect will at some point take a deal or two direct if the customer so desires.
But concentrating on just one area, whether direct or indirect, will lead to dissatisfaction for the other. Either way this is bad for the channel, for if only one side is busy and the other notices, you can be sure the aggrieved party will look at ways to compete.
This is where channel conflict arises. It is not necessarily because a vendor runs a double route to market, it's because the vendor does not know how to keep both of its sales routes busy in lucrative deals and content with what they are achieving.
Ideally, the VAR should be not only profitable but reach its own revenue targets and fulfil its business needs, while the direct sales people should be getting the commission they deserve.
If vendors are to run a hybrid sales strategy, they have two options: get both routes working together on a project, making sure each is happy about the contribution it is making and the rewards it can look forward to; or keep them busy on different deals that are right for their respective needs. If not, you can be sure that eventually toys will be thrown out of the pram.
Chief exec Jens Montanana claims Logicalis performed well despite 'currency headwinds'
All the photos from last night's event, which saw over 600 people congregate at the Hilton London Bankside
Five year deal with Essex NHS Trust will cover 400 sites, including hospitals, clinics and GP practices
18 individuals and three companies walked away as winners at CRN's inaugural Women in Channel Awards last night