Relationships are tricky; all we have to do is look at today’s divorce rate to know we are in murky waters if we are depending on that relationship for success. Add technology and few long-term commitments and you get vendor/partner relationships in the channel today. While vendors and partners are mutually dependent on each other, in the majority of cases they are completely different entities with different goals and objectives. Having once run a managed services/solutions provider, I have direct experience with this scenario. On the surface, the vendor and the partner seemed to be aligned, but under the hood things were not so smooth.
To me, a piece of the success begins with introspection; the vendor needs to start with a very direct question: Do they really care what the partner thinks? I am in no way a marriage counselor, but this question can also be quite beneficial in a marriage. While at first blush this may come across as harsh, I have looked into the eyes of vendors who are jaded and truly believe the relationship is parent/child at best. And my admitting to once being a partner actually diminished my credibility. Partners tend to have a pretty good detector for that kind of thought process.
To be fair, I also know many partners who swear that vendors swallow their young and are merely biding their time to take the world direct. However, the reality is that like most of the world today, there are both good and bad partners. There will always be weak partners; in fact, the weak will always outnumber the strong; but the good news is that there are unquestionably dynamic, smart partners out there who know their markets, customers, and services exceptionally well. These partners know what it means to work together and are willing to give in order to get. And these partners come in many different sizes and offerings, particularly with the new cloud and managed services crew. My suggestion is to find those types of partners and listen to where they are taking their business and where they can take you. By listening to what they think, perhaps we will see an improvement it the divorce rate, at least in technology.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steven Kellam, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at CCI
As a growth specialist, Steven is responsible for CCI’s sales and marketing strategy and vision for today’s goals and objectives as well as positioning the organization for continued, long-term success. Steven has experience in both the VAR space, having run a successful Managed Services IT business, and a background in Manufacturing where he built a channel of over 2,000 partners.