One in four resellers worldwide, and a third in the U.S., have fired a vendor, and “half of all value-added resellers (VARs) selling products as a cloud service aren’t satisfied with how their vendors listen to and act upon their feedback,” according to a ZS Associates study cited by Dede Haas, CA-AM, in her Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine article, “Optimize Your Channel through Trust-Based Relationships.” Vendors often are just as unhappy, complaining about underperforming partners, inconsistent sales, and unreliable resellers, according to Lawrence Walsh, CEO and chief analyst at The 2112 Group a new ASAP Corporate Member. Walsh explains why—and talks about how to improve channel structure, performance, and relative value—in this week’s ASAP Netcast Webinar, “The Channel Is Not the Best Route to Market but It Can Be.”
Walsh, a veteran journalist, analyst, and consultant specializing in information technology channel sales, is the latest expert to explore this topic with the ASAP community. Two articles in the Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine and several recent ASAP Netcast Webinars have delved into the convergence and complementary skills of alliance and channel management.
Previous webinars and articles have explored how the channel demands more collaborative and reciprocal relationships—to be treated as genuine business partners, each of which has distinct and sometimes unique requirements for a successful relationship. Smart vendors take this to heart, according to Mary Ellen Grom, vice president of U.S. marketing at SYNNEX, a Fortune 250 business technology distributor, who co-presented “A Changing Channel—The View from the Middle,” ASAP’s June 10 webinar. “We don’t move boxes—we are a trusted advisor, here to take partnerships to a whole new level,” Grom explained.
In his July 23 ASAP Netcast, “Move from Capturing to Creating Demand in Your Partnerships,” presenter LaVon Koerner, chief revenue officer at Revenue Storm, emphasized that across industries the sales function is undergoing a profound transformation. As a result, advanced partnering skills are fast becoming essential to sales and customer relationships—and alliance managers must increasingly focus on proactive value creation with partners and end customers. “Now our customers are demanding Insight from us,” Koerner said. Don’t give us more data. Don’t give more information. Give us insight, take our minds to places we’ve never been, help us draw lines of connection we’ve never drawn.”
What happens when alliance executives bring their partnering skills to bear in the sales and distribution channel? Two partnering veterans from Verizon presented their perspectives during the September 16 webinar, answering “What in the World Are Two Alliance Professionals Doing in the Channel?”
“The ways alliance managers can add value to channel relationships is huge—we bring that expertise and experience into the relationship,” explained Leona Kral, CSAP, who has transitioned several times between alliance and channel roles, currently serves as channel alliance manager, global channel sales, for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, and also is president of ASAP’s Tri-State Chapter.
“Alliance knowledge supports the concept of partnership, shared objectives, where channel development is more focused on immediate near term sustainable revenue and profitable growth for both partners – all going to be 100% relative to what your company’s focus is, what your partners’ focus and strategy is, and where the two come together to make that old 1+1+3,” added Kral’s colleague and co-presenter Karen Robinson, CSAP, a global strategy and integration exec for Verizon Enterprise Solutions.
Walsh’s webinar on Wednesday, Nov. 4 joins this year’s three previous channel-related webinars now archived in the ASAP Member Resource Library, available for free to ASAP members (nonmembers can access for a fee). You can view these events on demand, as well as explore more on the topic of partnering in the channel in the Q3 2015 Strategic Alliance Magazine, which includes the article by Haas as well as our Alliance Champion profile of Verizon’s Leona Kral.