Getting the Most Out of Your Vendor Relationship

By Bob Darabant, Vice President, Gateway and MSP Sales

As a reseller, VAR or managed service provider, vendors will contact you to discuss how you can improve your business by offering their products. You may think that deciding which products to offer is the most important part of developing your business, but this is not the case. The most important point in the process of developing a successful business comes after you’ve evaluated your options and decided on which partner program to join. This is when you develop and strengthen your vendor relationship and partnerships truly grow. Below are some tips for getting the most out of your vendor relationships.

Train yourself, or get trained
All vendors should offer courses to partners to get them up to speed on their products and services. These trainings can be a combination of in-person, on-demand, videos, or even full day courses. These training session can help you better understand the products you are now offering and in some cases offer advice on how to attract particular types of customers that you may wish to target. Whatever the vendor offers, you should take advantage of it.

Talk to other members of the partner program
When joining a new partner program, it is wise to get to know the other members of the program. They will offer insight into the vendor’s practices and policies as well as tips on how to be successful with this vendor. If you chose your partner program wisely the vendor won’t be over-distributed, so other partners won’t view you as a threat or as competition. Instead you will be able to collaborate with other partners on a consistent basis and work with one another for mutual success. Start getting to know other partners when you first join the program and you will make valuable business contacts that will help your business thrive in all different aspects.

Become an expert on how products serve particular verticals
It is not enough to understand how a product works. Successful partners also know how the products solve specific problems. If your company already has a specific vertical expertise, ask the vendor if they have messaging or information about their product satisfying the needs of that vertical. Customer success stories are another great resource. Ask if they have any customer stories that can be shared and talk to the partners you are developing relationships with to determine if they have any customer references you can talk to so you can understand their needs and how this product satisfied them.

Take advantage of marketing dollars and resources
And finally, once you join a partner program, ask to set up a meeting with the marketing department to discuss what kinds of programs they offer. Events, email marketing campaigns, co-op dollars and other programs designed with you in mind will only serve to help you find more customers. Take advantage of these opportunities and watch your business grow faster.