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What happens when the people in charge don’t get it?  The value solution providers (VARs, Resellers, Consultants, etc.) bring to their clients has more to do with the business advantage they bring and less to do with the features…yet I am hearing the disturbing message this is being sacrificed in the name of budget constraints.  Here is what I am hearing from the field:

1. When distributors bring together their clients (generally mid market and SMB resellers), the attendees need to hear from industry experts, receive business building strategies, and be challenged by new ideas.  Thousands will be spent on the travel, accommodations, and food, not to mention opportunity cost.  Why would those in charge allow free speakers from the manufacturer to dominate these sessions with product information?  It’s all available online and it’s all commodity stuff…I’ve heard numerous comments this year along the lines of, “waste of time.”

2. When “Vendor” sponsored training is forced on the reseller (forced may be a strong word – but this is the way I receive the message from resellers I work with), why is it so product centric with “speeds and feeds”, when what is needed is a message that resonates with senior managers, negotiation skills, and marketing insight.  It’s rare to find people making these decisions who understand the reseller business, financial model, and competitive pressures, so bring in someone who knows.

3. I recently learned of a major reseller who went through several days of sales training with HP specifically on building their message. After attending my Mastering Board Room Presentations (where we were going to focus on delivering  their new message) they told me, “Our message stinks.”

4. When marketing dollars are available (which they always are if you sell enough product), why do the people managing these budgets insist that it be spent on golf outings, call blitzes, and product specials?  These programs are proven failures…I’m told by sales people and VAR business owners, “We’d gladly sacrifice the outings for outstanding content and training.”

5. “Stop telling me there’s no money available.  Instead, give me the criteria for getting the money I see others getting.”  It’s no secret, money is being spent on marketing and  training…if it’s not, the channel is dead. But who will get it and who dictates who it will be spent?  The criteria needs to be clear, and the reseller’s choice of partners should take this into consideration.  There’s no sense in trying to build this business alone – channel partners are needed, great channel managers are needed, and resllers who think they can build a business without the product are wrong.  When synergy exists between the two, a winning combination is formed.  But this requires an understanding of how to invest and partner in a way that produces profit.

© David Stelzl 2010

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New Rules of Marketing

April 21, 2010 — 3 Comments

If you resell technology, stop wasting joint marketing funds provided by your partners.  Over a billion dollars in unspent funds are reported each year, meaning there is money available, however, dysfunctional marketing campaigns are destroying the channel’s ability to access this money.  Use this money with a well planned marketing strategy and show a return – earn the right to more than your share.  Companies like HP, Cisco, Oracle, Sonicwall, etc. all have funds to support these types of activities.  The goal should be to choose your partners based partly on technology and partly on their willingness and ability to support you as a reseller.  From there, it’s up to you to demonstrate your ability to bring incremental business to the table.  But be careful…

Marketing is different now!  You can’t run an event and advertise “storge UC/Voip, Data Center, or Network Security” and expect decision makers to show up, and you can’t have your local vendor or internal SE be your featured lunch-and-learn speaker.  However, events are a great way to attract higher level audiences if you present the right things in the right way.  Educational based marketing is powerful, and between social media and properly planned events, resellers can demonstrate tremendous value.  This video provides a few minutes of insight on this important subject!

© David Stelzl 2010