Vendors: Building a channel is worth the effort

Simplicity VoIP's Opinion:

As the principal for a regionally focused Master agency, I believe that the author is spot on. As the CEO of a Regional VOIP company, I have a different perspective. To recruit the correct talent as a Service provider you have to have a proven track record. Large agencies are not going to look twice at you without some solid experience. The middle ground is probably to have some direct talent along with a local or Regional agency focus.
— Benjamin Humpreys, President & CEO

Engaging the channel enhances any vendor's hand, but playing the cards right is a must.

Given all the technology and sales wherewithal that vendors bring to bear, do they need a channel at all? Why not take a page from the playbook of Elon Musk and aim to sell direct? The answer, simply, is yes, vendors could forgo the channel. But they'd probably be doing themselves a huge disservice. After all, they'd be missing out on all the resources - feet on the street, expertise and customer relationships - that VARs, integrators and service providers bring to the table.

Without the channel, it would be difficult for vendors to service their total addressable market. They would have to sink a lot of money into building a fixed sales force. Channel partners afford vendors scale that would otherwise be nearly impossible to attain.

But creating an effective channel program takes time, planning and effort. Vendors won't get sought-after results by recruiting partners randomly or carelessly putting together an indirect-sales initiative. Myriad details need to be considered. How will you onboard your partners? What compensation model will you use? How will you train and support your solution providers?

Even after all the questions have been answered, the process continues. Channel partner programs are a constant work in progress. They need to be revisited and tweaked periodically, and the lines of communication between vendors and partners need to remain open at all times.

Adapted from an article in www.channelnomics.com by Diana Mirakaj