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Channel Matters Blog > June 2014 > What Your Channel Really Means

What Your Channel Really Means

by Rich Blakeman
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In my role as Managing Director for Channel Enablers, I review a lot of channel program materials. There’s one claim that almost every company makes.
 
We’re easy to do business with!
 
But what does that really mean?  I find there is often a disconnect between how the vendor sees the meaning of the words and how their channel sees them.
 
The vendor’s perspective
Ask vendors what they mean by “easy to do business with,” and they’ll probably tell you all about their global sales force, how easy they are to reach, how fast they return calls, or how user friendly their ordering process is.
 
The channel’s perspective
Ask a channel partner what it means to be “easy to do business with,” and you might get a very different answer. When the channel partner thinks about whether a vendor is “easy to do business with,” they often aren’t thinking about the standard program details like margins, terms and callback times quoted in the program documentation. They’re thinking about how well the vendor responds under specific and unique circumstances. Channel partners are asking questions like:
 
  • -Can I get a quote in special pricing to help me close a deal?
  • -If my customer has a question that I can’t answer, are they willing to talk with the customer – with me on the phone?
  • -Will my vendor offer special terms if that’s what we need to close business?
  • -How willing is my vendor to help me move into a new geography or new industry?
  • -Does my vendor know enough about my business to know what information I need – even if I don’t?

It’s these unusual circumstances, where vendors need to think and act outside of the box, that really define “easy to do business with.” And ultimately, the most effective channel organizations assess this through the eyes of their channel partners, not by what it says in their program brochures.
 
 
Last modified on 6/16/2014 2:30:15 PM
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