Breaking in is hard to do

I recently sat down with two solution providers, SoftChoice and Acrodex, and talked about net new vendor partnerships

Both are very cautious about bringing on new vendors. Here are some of the reasons:

First, it costs solution providers money to bring on new partners. These are usually soft costs, such as the time needed to ramp up with the new technology. But there are also some hard costs, such as sending staff to training courses.

Second, vendors looking to break in with a partner may be competing with another well-known company that is entrenched with that reseller. For example, if a solution provider has a partnership with a networking vendor with good products and support, why would it need another networking supplier?

Inside this issue, CDN, with some help from Info-Tech Research, has selected five vendors the channel should watch for in 2007: Juniper Networks, NeoWare Inc., Websense, WebX and XenSource.

You can even include Net Integration Technologies from Markham, Ont., to that list. Net Integration was considered for the top five, but just missed being selected. We did, however, cover the company’s NitixBlue announcement, which is on page six of this issue.

These vendors are all flying under the radar in the IT industry. They all have great products and a very good working channel strategy and programs. Each could provide a solution provider with a fantastic market opportunity. At the very least, these vendors gives solution providers a chance to differentiate themselves in the market.

Their challenge is how to gain traction with solution providers.

Well, the first tip I can give them is to make it worth a partner’s while. Give them great up-front margins right off the bat. Make them want to work with you. Do not go down the Sophos route, where the security provider offered only five per cent margins because it was standard policy. That is not enough. You need to wow them with 30-plus margins. You have to be flexible in this day and age.

The other tip I would give is to offer turnkey marketing support, which means doing all the work for the solution provider. By doing this, you prove that there is a market for your product in a solution provider’s selling area.

Also, do what we refer to in the industry as buddle calls. If a solution provider has a lead, get one of your technical people out there with the partner. This makes the customer feel more comfortable about trying some new technology.

It also speeds up a partner’s knowledge of you and makes them a better-trained sales person down the road.

I know this looks like a lot of hand-holding, but isn’t that the first rule of building a long-lasting relationship?

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

Related Tech News

Featured Tech Jobs


CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.