For A Better Channel – avoid shortcuts and build a solid foundation for growth – get back to the basics. It’s as easy as A-B-C…
The “basics” I’m referring to are not compiled on a neatly defined list of do’s and don’ts, there’s already plenty of those around. And, not to diminish their value, they can be quite helpful to the aspiring channel newbie while they gobble up every blog and forum comment they can find on the subject as they prepare for the challenges to come in their new role of an SE turned Channel Manager. or Software Developer soon-to-be CEO of their new company.
The basics I’m talking about are the Who, What, Where, Why, When and How’s of your yet-to-be reseller channel. Ultimately your go to market strategy will, or should, come from a candid self appraisal of your product(s) allure to resellers and how the benefits of that knowledge complement your company growth vision.
These should be fundamental steps before embarking on a new channel initiative – these ARE the basics. Sadly, a surprising number of today’s business leaders sidestep this important introspective exercise to rush forward without a realistic understating of the costs, resources and time it takes to build a successful reseller program. Most importantly, they haven’t learned to “think like a reseller”, therefore unable to relate to their new partner prospects in meaningful (to them) ways.
Jumbling the above order a bit, simple logic demands that we start with “Why”. why do you feel that a reseller channel makes good business sense for your company? Do you know “How” resellers make their money, do you know “Why” they select one product over another. Do you know “Who” your resellers are and “Where” to find them?
At this point, in train wreck fashion, I’m compelled to share some of the most common, and simultaneously frightful, responses I’ve received to some of these questions (feel free to look away if you wish):
- We don’t want to spend the money and take on the burden of hiring direct sales representatives.
- We’re in a hurry to make money and selling our software through 100’s of resellers is the way to go.
- Our competition has resellers…
To the question – “Why would resellers want to sell your software?”
- We’re much cheaper than the competition and so simple anybody can install it.
- Because everybody who’s seen it loves it.
- We don’t know, nobody is using it yet.
At The VAR-City we specialize in software startups and over the past 30 years of Channel development and management we’ve seen a significantly large increase in software executives who are emotionally attached to “their” software – to the degree that they honesty can not understand why everybody in the world does not want it; and, they believe that selling through partners is nothing more than an academic exercise they can master as they have with most other new challenges in their life.
Observationally, and not a comment, the majority have also been non-U.S. companies who for whatever reasons believe that the U.S. marketplace is a fertile launching point for their new channel; in fact, there’s much truth to that, but they fail to understand the real and perceived disadvantages of starting a new reseller channel beyond their borders, time zone and culture.
Basically, that is Why – Who, What and Where matters. If your organization is looking for new revenue dollars this year through a reseller program, be sure to take a little extra time for these basics – I guarantee that it will save you mountains of money and grief going forward.
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