In the fickle world of technology, rather than committing to either a direct or indirect sales model it is not uncommon for vendors – especially smaller ones – to opt for both routes to market.
Trying to have it both ways can create uncertainty and even mistrust; confusing sales staff and reflecting badly on the vendor and the channel partner.
If the financials change, or any other difficulty arises, there is a tendency for the vendor to take the sale direct, out of fear they could lose money on it.
While this is understandable, it can also undermine the relationship between the vendor and the reseller, as well as the reseller and its client.
You need to be committed to the channel. A vendor should empower partners to talk directly to customers about the offering, and provide them with something different to offer.
It is also essential to support the deal beyond the initial pitch. Partner programmes should reflect this.
In the US and many other parts of the world, resellers are often little more than commodity houses, receiving orders and fulfilling them at relatively low margin.
The UK reseller channel is inherently stronger and very good at delivering value, making it ideally placed to work on solution sales.
In the short term, an investment made in a partner programme is unlikely to deliver the highest possible margins.
Yet in equipping certified partners with the technical and commercial skills needed to develop and deliver customer service and support, sustainable, long-term revenue growth for the partner becomes more likely.
Working exclusively with the channel is likely to bring opportunities that will far exceed anything one could have achieved via direct sales.
Grant Taylor is a senior vice president at NetConsent
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