Your vendors are here to help because your success becomes their success. When you get more business, you’re able to sell more software licenses and hardware, which in turn drives their bottom line. That’s why many of your vendors offer partners all kinds of incentives and resources like marketing materials, business planning tools, and even cash for marketing events. All too often, however, MSPs and VARs don’t take advantage of everything a given vendor has to offer. Luckily, this simple process will help you make sure your vendors are doing their best work for you.
Understand What Your Business Needs
You know your business goals. Take those into consideration before you engage with a vendor about resources they have available. You could need marketing support to find more clients, or maybe you need your techs to better understand the hardware and software you offer so they can spend less time troubleshooting. Vendors will usually offer you a bunch of ideas about how they can help. So if you can articulate your goals at the onset, you’ll be much closer to a solid action plan.
Sign Up for Partner Programs and Get to Know Your Account Reps
You’re probably already partnered with a number of vendors as a reseller, but are you a part of their partner programs? Do you have a dedicated account manager or rep? Are you regularly in contact with these reps, or do you avoid those calls like the plague? Most of your vendor reps are there to help you succeed at what you do, which makes them the absolute best people to talk to about available incentives.
If you’re not sure who your rep is, don’t be afraid to ask. Choose a few vendors with products and services you love and get to know those reps. Maybe buy them coffee or lunch if you’re in the same area. Discuss your business goals, plans, and product offerings to see how they can assist. In most cases, they’ll work with you on a plan that will get you more clients, more sales, and as a result, more profit.
Log Into (a few) Partner Portals
If you’re like a lot of IT providers, you probably haven’t had time to log into all the partner portals you have in front of you. However, you’ll often need to submit a request for certain incentives (say, funds for marketing development) inside a partner portal. Rather than trying to manage every single one you have available, use information that your favored vendors’ reps provided to decide which vendors’ portals are worth exploring and which might not have what you’re after right now. From there, get to know a couple of partner portals so you can access the tools and resources you need.
When in Doubt, Ask
You’d be surprised how much a vendor rep will help you out if you just ask. The reason is that your success is also their success. If you’re not sure whether they provide something you need, there’s no harm in asking, and it’s the only way to find out who will really go to bat for you. Some vendors will show their true stripes by bending over backward to give you a hand if it can mean more business comes your way.
You might have trouble finding time to get what you need from an individual vendor—let alone sorting through all the ones you work with. But using the steps above, you should be able to easily identify a few vendors you like, get a hold of your rep there, and put them to work helping you develop solid sales and marketing plans. When you work with a vendor partner, you can unlock some serious opportunities.
We’re curious to hear about your best strategies of approaching the vendor community and how you make partner programs work for you!