Guest Column | June 17, 2014

Channel Sales Vendor/Partner Relationships: What Vendors Want

By Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC

Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC

It’s not love at first sight. It is all about the relationship between the vendor and the partner if a channel sales partnership is to be successful. A better understanding of what a vendor expects from a partner helps the solution provider make well informed and prudent business decisions that have a positive and profitable impact on their organization.

Part I: “We wait by the phone but they never call.”
Don’t just sit there. Do something about it!

Don’t be a secret and be prepared.

Words of wisdom to help you understand what the vendor is looking for in a partner and what you, the solutions provider, can and should do about it.

Be noticed. You may already be doing what it takes to get noticed by a vendor but, to reiterate, publicize what you do, the problems you solve, how well you solve them, and the benefits of doing business with you backed up by comments and case studies from happy customers.  And then...

Be prepared. When a vendor is recruiting you, be aware of and prepared for the specific characteristics they want in a partner. Does your company fit the profile the vendor is looking for?

  • Business stability
  • Financial security, soundness, and structure
  • Market focus
  • Clear-cut target markets and verticals
  • Skills and experience in sales and marketing
  • Technical expertise
  • Processes and practices that fit with theirs
  • A partnership mentality
  • The ability to work together as business partners

Also, be prepared for the questions the vendor will ask to determine if you are a good fit for a channel partnership.

  • What is the potential for the partner to drive business for us?
  • Is the partner open to letting us help them build their business? (Vendors who employ good channel practices help their partners build their businesses.)
  • What is the partner's financial status? Do they have a solid and functional business practice?
  • Does the partner have expertise in my product or service area and trained and qualified sales and technical teams? Do they value investing in training and certification?
  • Does the partner have expertise and relationships in areas that reinforce my products or services? Can they introduce my products or services to new industries or geographies?

What else do vendors want from partners? Find out in this seven part series where we examine vendor expectations and if, why, and how a partner should fulfill them. Look for upcoming articles on:

  • Business requirements
  • Marketing  responsibilities
  • Sales personnel and revenue commitments
  • Systems Engineers/Technical Teams
  • Training/Culture/The right fit
  • Is this the relationship you want?

An award-winning high-tech sales professional and founder of DLH Services, Dede Haas creates channel sales solutions for the vendor and the partner. She has developed and managed channel partner programs for enterprise and cloud-based products and services for small and medium businesses and for industry leaders, such as Intel Corp.  For the partner, Dede has managed the vendor relationship, created business opportunities, and developed and conducted product training.  She has her Certification of Achievement-Alliance Management (CA-AM) from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals. 

Have a question, comment or story you would like to share with Dede?  If so, please contact her at dede@DLHServices.com or +1 703-448-1710.