Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.[i]
What can vendors do to develop mutually profitable channel relationships with their partners? Teach them to fish? Well, something like that.
One of the most important things a vendor can do for their partners is provide them with the education and tools needed to successfully sell. According to Andrea Sittig-Rolf, Chief BlitzMaster & CEO at BlitzMasters, “That’s a real value-add because the vendor is sponsoring a program that’s going to help that partner sales team be better at sales whether it be specifically for that vendor or just overall improving their selling skills
“The vendor can say, ‘Okay. We’re going to give you these selling skills, but, oh, by the way, we’re funding this, and we want you to apply these selling skills to our products, and that’s what we get out of it.’”
Insight #1: Furnishing and funding sales education and tools shows how much value the vendor places on the partner and supports their ability to achieve sales success.
It is not only sales education and tools that contribute to the development of a strong channel relationship, but also helping the partner to build their business. Sittig-Rolf maintains, “I think partners are going to look for a vendor that’s going to support them in all kinds of ways. Not just in the products that that vendor sells, but in helping that partner be better at running the business, whether it be operations or sales or HR and just looking kind of at that overall package of, ‘How are you going to help me grow my business?’, and, ‘Why should I choose you versus your competitor?’”
Insight #2: Partners want to be a part of vendor channel programs that help them build and grow their businesses.
“The partners are really craving information and value and things that are going to help that partner be better at running their business” reiterates Sittig-Rolf. When vendors can supply skills training, she explains, they are going “to get much more of a buy-in from that partner, you’re going to have that goodwill aspect from the partner saying to the vendor, ‘Wow. You really care about my business, not just pushing your product.’ And then that’s going to encourage that partner to then sell more of the vendor’s products and services just because of that goodwill that it creates.”
Insight #3: Really caring about the partner’s business can lead to goodwill and increased sales.
Vendor goodwill also helps to build trust, which is the cornerstone of successful channel relationships and something that should be nurtured. But what happens when that goodwill is damaged? Warns Sittig-Rolf, “I think as soon as that’s broken, that trust is broken, it’s really hard to get it back.”
Insight #4: When a partner’s trust in the vendor is broken, it takes a long time and a lot of work to get it back but sometimes the partnership never recovers.
For some vendors, choosing a specific partner is not always about revenue. As Sittig-Rolf says, “Sometimes it can be ‘Well, this particular partner has this niche, or they have a sweet spot that can really help us in this particular area. Maybe we’ve been wanting to sell more managed services and here’s a partner and while they’re small and maybe they only have a couple of locations, it’s going to help us get started with this services piece.’”
Insight #5: Many times it can be the partner who provides the education to the vendor, especially if the vendor is adding another line of business. The vendor should be ready and willing to accept the partner’s help.
[i] Garson O’Toole, Quote Investigator, http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/08/28/fish/#note-11878-5, August 28, 2015.
BlitzMasters empowers salespeople to fill their pipelines with new opportunities in a single day. By “teaching them to fish” for their own leads, salespeople learn how to effectively get past gatekeepers, handle objections, get voicemail messages returned, and ask for the appointment. Learn more at www.BlitzMasters.com.
This article is part of a series. Also read 5 Insights Into Successful Channel Relationships:
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.