Insight

Are vendors and partners worlds apart?

Recently we discussed whether we might start to see channel partners and distributors creating their own portals. That concept is very much tied to vendors ‘relinquishing their power’ – not an easy one to grasp, perhaps, if you believe you are the centre of the channel universe and partners merely orbit around you.

It calls for a realisation that, in fact, the world doesn’t revolve around the vendor. That partners today are, in many ways, in the driving seat when it comes to choosing with which vendor to work.

It’s a subject that Purechannel’s CMO Daren Bach explored this week, noting the blinkered thinking that has traditionally existed in ’vendor-world’.

He says it natural, of course, that vendors are proud of what they do. In vendor-world, he said, “you eat, sleep and breathe your product. After all you have spent a lot of time perfecting and crafting it into technology solutions that make a real difference, for businesses and for people.

“It’s a world where you are rightly proud of the team you have, of the ethos the company has and of how you are working to provide your partners with solutions that they can be proud of.”

However, partners are equally as proud of their impact and what they do. They are proud of their team, their ethos and the services and solutions they provide for their customers.

As a vendor, the difficulty comes when you want partners to embrace your world in the same way that you do, but sometimes you find it hard to understand that they don’t see what you see, says Daren.

“That they don’t seem to appreciate your world as much as they should, after all it is brilliant and it could be brilliant for them.”

But here’s the thing, he adds. “Your world only is a small part of theirs, they will be working with multiple vendors, each with their own worlds as magical to them as yours is to you. Each wanting and expecting attention.”

This is so important for vendors to realise. In many cases – particularly in competitive areas like cybersecurity – you many just be one of a handful of vendors with which your partners collaborate. So why would they stick around if they felt their individual needs weren’t being met?

Says Daren: “If you imagine in any single day, your partner might be working with 10 vendors on top of all their own work, then the impact your world might have on theirs could be as little as 10 minutes of their day.”

Now, you might think that 10 minutes is plenty of time to make an impression, to get across everything you think is great, right?

Wrong!

“This isn’t about what you think is great, this is about what they think is great, what is it about your product that brings value to their world?” says Daren.

“This is about you bringing value to them. You, not necessarily your company. It isn’t about selling, it isn’t about trying to get them to drink your Kool-Aid.

“This is about being human, this is interacting with them in their world on a human level, this is about being present, being helpful. So when the worlds align and an opportunity presents itself, it is you that is top of their mind.”

That’s some great advice to vendors; vendor-world isn’t the partner’s world! It would therefore pay to step into their shoes for a minute to really understand what they need from you, and how you can make the relationship more valuable for you both.

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