“What are the most important things I should know or do before starting my reseller channel?”

    That question, in one form or another, is one of the most frequently asked questions I hear from business executives pursing a new channel or trying to figure out where their current unproductive channel went wrong.

    At that point we don’t’ talk about work flows, sales campaigns or target marketplace; we get back to the basics; the foundational building blocks of a successful channel.

    I introduce them to “The E-Ticket to Channel Success”, a collective of actions, understandings and behaviors that lead to partner driven success.

    In every productive channel I’ve seen over the past 30 years all 5 of these elements existed.  In every case of failure, one or more of these elements were missing!

    Here they are, and you can find a more detailed explanation in the PowerPoint presentation at my website in the Downloads Locker.

    E-Ticket to Success Elements:

    • Ease
    • Education
    • Enterprise
    • Enthusiasm
    • …and the critical binder- Execution

    Ease – Be easy to work with in every sense of the word.  Become the vendor partner they go to first because you make their job easier from first call to closed deal.

    Why would you care?  Because resellers traditionally offer many products to address their customer’s needs – many overlap.  And, regardless of price/margin they will always lead with the option that is the ‘easiest’ for them to sell with less obstacles to navigate.

    Understand their business model, goals and motivators – DO NOT expect them to adjust to your business model.  Unless you can account for 50% of their annual revenue don’t expect them to change how they do business.

    Education – Resellers will be more comfortable recommending the product they know the best; and, resellers will be more comfortable recommending the product their technical people are most proficient at demonstrating, implementing, training and supporting.

    As a critical step in your on-boarding process sales training must be initiated within two weeks of signing contract or agreement.

    If you’re in the process of rolling out a new channel program be sure to have all of your training, certification material and processes in place so there are no delays from contract signing to scheduling and completing their training.

    Create a Sales & Marketing Kit.  Fill it with your logos, images, quotes, success stories, videos, anything they can use to establish a landing page on their web site that features your solution(s) and/or can be used in marketing campaigns.  Your new partner will be looking to you for marketing assistance, don’t let them down or their initial enthusiasm will quickly fade away.

    The Sales & Marketing Kit and how to leverage it will be covered in more detail in a future article.

    Enterprise – Is account penetration, up-selling,  and leveraging the resellers’ farmer nature of account care and nurturing.

    Products that spawn future opportunities throughout their customer’s business are far more appealing than one-off sales.

    Enthusiasm – Is the catalyst that inspires confidence in the VAR sales representative and their customers.  It’s infectious and starts at the top.

    Enthusiasm about the product, program and partnership radiates up and down the value chain and can be a force to shorten the sales cycles, even overcome stiff competition.

    Execution – Diligent Execution is the linchpin and most important of the earlier four components it unites.

    Execution is following through on your promises, hitting deadlines and is critical to establishing loyal partnerships based on trust and respect.  Execution is leading by example and establishing a pattern of consistent responsiveness that must be in place before expecting the same from your partners.

    If you place these principles at the core of how you do business with your channel partners you will have a solid foundation and framework to build your program around.

    Thinking about starting or refreshing a stale Channel – Call or email The VAR-City!

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