All About the Channel?

Jeff Wilshire
April 7, 2021

As an IT service provider, you no doubt partner with a myriad of vendors to provide the best technology products, solutions, and services for your customers. You’ve worked super hard to build your client base, and making the decision to partner with a new vendor is a BIG deal. Let’s face it, no matter how hard you evaluate and vet technology partners - it takes a leap of faith to initiate the relationship. Everything the vendor does, especially in the eyes of your customers, reflects on you. While you may be the indirect sales channel for the vendor, there is nothing “indirect” in what they do for you and your customers. 

With 28% of MSPs listing “Technology or Vendor Issues” as their top pain point (Datto2019), partnering with the right vendors is critical.

How often have you heard the phrase “we are all about the channel”? If you partner with a lot of vendors, I’m guessing this sounds familiar.  For a vendor selling through the MSP channel, this makes absolute sense from a positioning standpoint. But, beyond the words, what does being all about the channel really mean?

It’s a mindset. 

Being all about the channel “should” infer that the vendor is 100% committed to you and your clients’ success - period. There should be no conflict of interest. If a vendor is all about the channel, they shouldn’t be selling directly to the end-user (or worse, your potential customers). If they run a “hybrid” business model selling to both IT service providers and end-users, this needs to be communicated to you. Stealth selling doesn’t exactly help build trust for a lasting partnership. 

Being all about the channel is also about providing a great end-to-end experience for service providers. Vendors that get it know how to create an awesome partner journey from initial onboarding and sales assistance, to ongoing technical support. Vendors that have dedicated “partner success” people are a step ahead of the game.

Value should be added at every stage of your journey with the vendor. Do they provide value in sales assistance, training, and enablement to give you the confidence to identify and close new deals? Do they offer flexible onboarding and technical support models, where they can perform these functions for you, enable you to provide these services to your direct customers, or some type of model in between? Do they embrace “persona-based” relationships to better understand the dynamics of your business (i.e. start-up, mature, franchised) to provide even more value in the relationship?

Do your vendors ask for your input for new product features, functionality, enhancements, and integrations? If not, they should. Being all about the channel is also about building community. And, one way to build a strong community is to prioritize the needs of the community. What matters most to you and your customers is important...and should be important to your vendors. 

Lastly, being all about the channel is consistently going that extra mile. You want vendors that can alleviate your pain points, lower your blood pressure, and help you sleep better at night. 

Stressed about generating more leads for your business? Vendors that do lead-generation on behalf of their partners provide another level of support. Cultivating good leads is tough, and when you have vendors doing this work on your behalf, that’s definitely value-add. Something special.

57% of organizations use partnerships to acquire new customers (BPI Network).

Vendors willing to work with you on revenue growth initiatives and customized IT solutions can be catalysts for your business. They demonstrate an investment in your business that others don’t provide, and will do what it takes to help you land new business, grow revenue, and succeed with your customers. A true strategic partner that is willing to go that extra mile. 

When a vendor is all about the channel, supporting MSPs is their #1 priority each and every day. It’s a partnership mutually beneficial to both. Their success is contingent on your success. It really is that simple.

To learn more about what it means to be “all about the channel”, please download our ebook - Do Your Vendors Have Your Back?