Guest Column | October 20, 2015

5 Insights Into Successful Channel Relationships: Transparency And Proof Of Concept

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

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

For Mosaic Technology, Infinio Had Them At Trust, Transparency, And Proof Of Concept

According to Herb Hamblen, VP of sales for solutions provider Mosaic Technology, “Infinio has resources that I know and trust, their solution is non-disruptive, performance impact is very transparent thanks to the tools they include and minimal time and investment is needed from the client. I see the partnership as having great opportunity for continued success as we execute our sales and marketing plan with them.” Says Hamblen of Mosaic’s relationship with the software based storage performance company “They support us in proving the performance impact with a proof of concept within our client’s environment before acquisition of the product. They made it very easy for us to determine the needs within our customers’ install base.”  He continues, “That really is what closed the deal for me.”

Insight #1: Infinio made it easy for Mosaic Technology to become a partner. They supported Mosaic’s need for a proof of concept.

“Mosaic Technology is really the ideal partnership that a vendor like Infinio is looking for,” explains Bob Skelley, Infinio’s VP of global channel and alliances, “and there are several reasons for that. First of all, I think that, when you think about Mosaic, they invest strategically, so it is not the type of company that is going to just take on a lot of different products and work with them on the surface only. They invest. They create a strategic relationship. There is a plan. We’ve put a plan together to how we’re going to grow the business together. They invest in building the right depth of skills, and they can effectively tell our story and be our partner in the true sense of the word. And it is those types of strategic relationships that I think are most critical, especially for an emerging vendor but, really, for any vendor.”

Insight #2: Ideal partners, such as Mosaic Technology, invest in themselves, create strategic relationships, capably tell the vendor’s story, and work with them to grow their business together.

“Any great relationship starts with trust” states Skelley. The companies, he points out, “follow through on commitments.  There is a lot of communications …We communicate frequently. I think both companies truly embrace the concept of partnership, and we both invest in each other.” In keeping with that mindset, Infinio invests in their partner by helping them with enablement, training, and marketing. As he sees it, “both companies are putting a huge amount of investment into making this successful, and I think that is the underlying criteria for a successful partnership.”

“It is transparency, too,” Skelley maintains. “If you’re going to be a partner, you have to sometimes share information that isn’t easy to share. Right? Whether it is, “Hey, we’re not a good fit for that particular customer,” or whatever it might be, you have to be honest with one another and be transparent about working together so that you continue to build that trust and you foster that relationship.”

This partnership is working for Hamblen.  He stresses, “We have an excellent relationship with Infinio. Support and follow-up is key around our customer trials, and that has been outstanding.”

Insight #3: Successful partnerships include trust, commitment, communications, transparency, and investment by the vendor and the partner. For the partner, support and follow-up by the vendor is key. This may sound like a broken record but how many partnerships really embrace these concepts?

What about rules of engagement? Can they make or break a partnership? Hamblen underscores their importance in their experience with other manufacturers’ channel programs, “there have been rules of engagement in place, but we definitely see conflict from time to time.  I work with many manufacturers.  Not everyone has followed the rules of their own channel playbook and this can be frustrating and require[s] you to rethink your partnership.”

Insight #4: Note to vendors, if you have rules of engagement, follow them. If they are not working, fix them. And if you don’t have them, develop them. Don’t wait until there is conflict and a very unhappy partner.

Lastly, words of wisdom from Bob Skelley, “make sure you’re listening to your partner. I know that it sounds basic but listen to what they need, listen to the things that are important to them.”  He thinks that “sometimes, channel managers are so focused on revenue and how are the revenue results going to look like, they forget to really learn and understand their partners’ business. And I think you’re going to be a much better partner to the solution provider if you really understand how they’re trying to grow and what they’re trying to do with their business, and then use that to think about a strategic plan that incorporates those goals.”

Insight #5: Ask your partner about their business. Then stop talking and really listen to what they are telling you.

As for the Infinio and Mosaic Technology relationship, Hamblen sees the partnership as “having great opportunity for continued success as we execute our sales and marketing plan with them.”  And for Skelley, “the expectations are strong. I think we’re both very optimistic that it is going to be a profitable relationship for both of us. We still have work to do.”

Infinio Accelerator provides software-based storage acceleration that boosts performance 10x. While hardware solutions can be expensive and complex, Infinio creates a shared, de-duplicated cache from small amounts of RAM in your hosts to increase storage performance. You’ll make no changes to VMware operations or storage configuration, continuing to rely on shared storage arrays for capacity. Infinio will improve application performance and extend the life of existing storage while preserving your IT budgets. http://www.infinio.com/

Mosaic Technology provides IT solutions to small, medium, and large businesses around the world. Its consultants and service professionals help companies plan, develop, and implement customized IT solutions for hybrid, private and public cloud environments for data storage, data management, desktop, server, networking, backup, disaster recovery, performance optimization, email and much more. Mosaic is an authorized reseller and implementer of business solutions from Dell, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, Infinio, Veeam, Nasuni, Nimble Storage, Brocade, Intel, Symantec, SilverPeak, Bradford Networks, Extreme Networks, Fortinet and other leading vendors. Based in Salem, NH, Mosaic also has offices in Bellevue, WA, and Portland, OR. www.mosaictec.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dede Haas, CA-AM, is an award-winning high-tech sales professional and founder of DLH Services (http://dlhservices.com/), She 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, Haas 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, contact her at dede@DLHServices.com  or +1 703-448-1710.