by Meg Bingley
The Channel talks about “The Cloud” a lot. A LOT. I have attended Baptie’s Channel Focus Conference for North/Latin America three years running, and The Cloud is always a predominant theme. And of course, it’s no wonder. While it’s clear that traditional resellers are going to be faced with the reinvention of themselves and/or their business models, it’s not clear how quickly this will occur, or how many traditional resellers will be affected – who will make the transition and what “The Channel” will look like in five or ten years.
As I was listening to one of the presentations at Baptie this year, it dawned on me that account managers like me interact with our clients in ways that are very similar to the ways MSPs interact with their clients. We are trusted advisors to CCI’s customers rather than a reseller of services. For example, we support a multi-lingual experience in our software, and what I have found most valuable is to partner with/recommend an industry leader for localization/translation services. But CCI doesn’t resell its services. We make the introduction and encourage the tech vendor to have a direct relationship with the client. The localization company gets a new logo (and might, in turn, recommend us one day) and CCI has added value – everyone is happy, right? We certainly hope so.
Other services we offer customers as a value-add (some free, some for a price):
- Social media recommendations via socialondemand™ and Purechannelapps (a partner)
- Salesforce.com integration expertise and related services (same for ERP systems)
- Research from CCI’s vendor and partner communities (Gartner, Forrester, and other proprietary studies)
- Best practices content based on 28 years in business and deep bench strength (all over our website and ingrained in everything we do)
- Perspectives on how other vendors generally approach specific challenges in their programs and channels (you’re not alone!)
- Job matchmaking if we hear of any vacancies within the channel organizations
Are you an MSP? If not, think about how you can be. The services that surround your core offering can become the “make or break” of your success.