By Diane Krakora, CEO of PartnerPath
As made famous by Marshall Goldsmith, what got you here, won’t get you there. Meaning, what you did to be successful in channel partner recruitment over the last decade will not be successful in recruiting the next generation of cloud-savvy solution providers.
If you are an IT vendor, the VARs that propelled your sales in the early 2000s aren’t going to help you be successful selling cloud solutions. Yes, some of those old-school VARs are slowly transitioning their business to offer and support solutions delivered in the cloud or as a subscription model. For most of them however, their IT vendors are dragging them along into new markets, new business models and new technologies. This isn’t the solution. You’re going to need to add new ‘born-in-the-cloud’ solution providers to your stable of slowing transitioning legacy resellers. Bummer, I know.
Throw Away the Old Lists
In even worse news, you can’t recruit the next generation of solution provider like you did your past VARs. Distributors’ old VAR databases aren’t going to help you profile, segment, target, message and convert the new guys. None of the standard VAR recruiting lists or services will help you find the next generation solution providers – primarily because those lists have been compiled over the last 20 years. They are by nature, old. How you got your current partners will not get you your new ones.
Plus, the next generation of cloud-savvy solution providers aren’t sitting around waiting to hear from you. The principal decision-makers at these solution providers aren’t pining to get a phone call or email from some channel recruiting service to schedule an appointment with a channel development manager to hear about your fantastic technology. These guys have a business strategy and model wholly different where they actively and aggressively pursue where they will be profitable. If they wanted or needed your technology to realize their value to customers, they would have reached out to your company already.
Get a New Game Plan
Seduce the next generation of solution providers like you sell your customers. Nurture them. Provide value to them. Solution providers primarily care about three things:
- a product/technology that works as advertised,
- a way to make money on the product/technology and
- how easy it is to do business with the technology vendor.
Create case studies on these three areas of concern and promote them widely. Start conversations with potential solution providers and understand their business needs and challenges. Where can you help them be successful?
And, as with nurturing your top talent, stay in conversation with key evaluators at your target solution providers. This is not a Q2 MBO. It’s going to take years. Hunker down for the long haul and you will be rewarded with a stable of solution providers that understand your technology and can provide value to you and the end customers.