Guest Column | September 16, 2014

Channel Sales Vendor/Partner Relationships: What Vendors Want (Part 4)

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.

Read Part 1,  “We wait by the phone but they never call,” Part 2,  “Do we really have to talk about business?” and Part 3, “Marketing: Why do we have to get dressed up?”

PART IV: “We really like speed dating. Close and go we always say.”

If you want to partner with a good and well respected vendor, “close and go” is not going to cut it.

Just like the partnership itself, sales are all about relationships. If you are OK with your sales team as speed daters and order takers, then a transactional, quantity-based relationship is for you. But if you want a high-quality partnership, you need to be prepared for the vendor to expect you to have experience in establishing good working relationships with new and existing customers.

I know this has been discussed ad nauseam, but people will buy from those they trust and they will trust those with whom they have a positive relationship. Do you have trusting relationships with your customers? If so, that is what vendors are looking for in a partner.

But there is more vendors consider when they are recruiting partners. Is your business and customer base a good fit for their products and services? Are their sales incentive programs suitable for you and your sales team? Can both your sales teams work together? These questions must be taken seriously and your answers must be honest and open because it is better find out sooner rather than later if the vendor’s expectations and your sales team realities do not jibe.

What else do vendors want or look for in sales teams when they are recruiting partners?

  • trained and qualified with past sales experience
  • successful sales in similar products and services
  • open to additional training and coaching
  • willing to work closely with the vendor’s channel account manager
  • amenable and responsive to sales and business reviews
  • ability to develop realistic sales goals
  • Completing and delivering — on time — the necessary sales administration and incentive program forms and documents

Vendors are looking for partners who want to be a part of a team that can be successful together. Partner sales team dynamics will have a positive or negative effect on the vendor/partner relationship. If they are not on board or unwilling to work with the vendor, the partnership will be unsuccessful and possibly damaging to both parties. Something neither organization wants or needs.

TIP: Take the time to get to know your sales organization’s personality and culture before a vendor makes that recruiting call.

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.