Guest Column: Trouble in the Channel?
Seemingly nothing has really changed in the channel for decades. It's the same old concept. Another me-too supplier competing for your end customers' dollars. However, there have been exceptions to this rule in the past. If you provide an IT hardware vendor or service provider with enough of your customer leads, maybe they throw you a bone and provide a lead back in your geographic area. But really, let's face it, those opportunities seemingly don't exist for the independent solution provider. You simply don't generate enough demand or volume with your client base to move up the ranks and be fortunate enough to get a lead from most partner programs.
Years ago when I was reselling a manufacturer of routing and switching products, I brought the lead to the manufacturer and the manufacturer stole it and sent it to a larger partner in my area. I lost that deal to my competition down the road.
I've also been the victim of discontinued commission programs. This is the one where you're selling internet circuits to your end customers and getting a recurring commission check, only to be told a year or two later that program is discontinued – and the checks stop rolling in.
How about simply being cut so badly by the margins that it doesn't even make sense to sell the product or service at all anymore? Some of the biggest providers of cloud services today crush the margins so badly that you would have to sell 10,000 seats to even come close to making it profitable to support the service with your internal staff.
Let's face it: Life in the channel is rough, rarely innovative and disloyal. Most channel programs only care about the next lead you're bringing them, hence the one-way relationship.
Recently I was at an IT conference and an executive from a very large, nationally known cloud service provider got on stage. His first words to his audience of IT solution providers were, "I'm here to make sure all of you partner with us." Then, he went on to explain how his partner program provided the best service and great pricing. In other words, it sounds like a company that only cares about signing up as many partners as possible, as quickly as possible, to grab that almighty dollar.
Our unique company, Diverse Technology Solutions, has positioned to change the one-way model. As a fast growing cloud hosting provider selling exclusively through a partner channel, DTS is striving to break this common stigma centered on typical channel partner programs. The executive team at DTS lived these exact experiences for many years, as managed IT service providers and solution providers themselves.
The bottom line is that at DTS, we understand that the IT solution providers business is more important than our own. We also understand that "net new" business is the only way to survive for any IT solution provider. Without it, every business eventually fails. At DTS, we are a business development team for our partners, generating net new income to the partner. Not only do we designate dedicated territories to our partners and geographic exclusivity to sell our services by zip code, but we deliver net new business leads in that territory. We do this using many different methods, including telemarketing and SEO advertising, directly within a partner's dedicated territory.
We understand that the feet on the ground is the front line of support for our cloud services. We also know how to package and deliver cloud services, along with our partners' managed IT services, to bundle our businesses together into a cohesive and strategic long-term relationship. We have heavily invested in partner success on all fronts.
In other words, our goal from the start is to establish a two-way relationship.