Vendors should take time to screen partners to identify where they lie on the partner continuum.
A survey by ZS Associates studying the vendor-partner relationship revealed that only 47% of channel partners felt satisfied with a vendor’s ability to listen and communicate to their needs. However, this percentage shrinks tremendously when it comes to smaller and mid-tier partners, often to the dismay of the vendor who struggles to find a harmonious middle ground that satisfies both ends of the channel relationship.
Finding the Wrong Channel Partnerships
There are varying influences that affect the strategic potential of a vendor-partner relationship. These include partner types such as reseller, VAR, or system integrator.
Criteria for Measuring Vendor-Partner Relationship Compatibility
- What are their goals and how do they align with yours?
- Most partnerships lack goal alignment because most vendors don’t spend the time necessary to communicate the company’s mission, vision, and goals to their partners. You want all the efforts of your channel partners to be a part of your overall strategic vision.
- Are they open to collaboration?
- A collaborative partner understands that a successful partnership requires time and open communication. Therefore, a willingness for collaboration means a win/win for vendor and partner.
- Are they willing to take measures to build upon their partnership?
- A partner that is willing to go the extra mile is a partner that wants to grow with you.
- What role will they play in the channel?
- Are they equipped to sell for you?
A clear understanding of the needs of your channel partners is a positive step towards reducing the amount of channel conflict. Here are a few of the needs to consider when evaluating potential channel partnerships:
- Identify your value proposition. Address why your partner should want to sell for you.
- Communicate what your company can offer channel partners: types of training, tiers of partnerships, discounts, margins, channel programs such as deal registration, Co-op/MDF, channel incentives, volume incentive rebates, etc.
- Identify the partners’ needs, expectations, and priorities. What do they expect in a deal registration program?
- The territory they offer. Is it a viable market?