by Dede Haas & The ASCII Group
Getting the take – and maybe a little advice – from members of The ASCII Group on what solution providers are thinking and doing on a range of important channel topics.
Build Your Presence With Vendors
Source: Channel Executive Magazine
By Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC
Channel sales strategist and coach Dede Haas is founder of DLH Services, which helps technology vendors and partners create innovative, successful channel sales solutions and programs. This month, Haas discusses the rationale used when choosing vendor partners with two members of The ASCII Group, a 1,300-member organization of North American VARs, solutions providers, and MSPs offering services to help its members grow their businesses. Find more tips and stories in Haas’ “Channel Knowledge Nuggets” newsletter at dlhservices.com.
|ANGEL ROJAS founded DataCorps Technology Solutions in 2003 and is obsessed with helping business owners remove the hassle and waste of faulty information technology. He loves his God, family, and flying remote control helicopters.||TOM FOX is founder and president of southeastern Michigan MSP Tech Experts, which offers “No Problem Support” to more than 200 businesses and individuals throughout the southeastern Michigan, Metro Detroit, and northwestern Ohio areas.|
QUESTION 1: How do you cultivate relationships with vendors?
ROJAS: It comes down to just treating people like people. Taking their calls, hearing them out, and being very crystal clear about my expectations of them. For example, MSPs don’t make anything. Having a healthy, strong relationship with a vendor is crucial, because when something goes wrong, we need them. We absolutely need them.
We do business with some smaller companies. And when something breaks, I can get somebody on the phone right away. And, sometimes, I even have the CEO’s number, where I can call him and say, “Hey, man. You know, what’s up? You guys are costing me money.” When there’s a good understanding of expectations on both sides, that’s a great way to cultivate the relationship.
FOX: I’m interested in vendors that really look at us as partners in a relationship. I think it’s important to learn about their solutions so that you’re not going into a situation blind. And I think it’s important to engage with them on a regular basis.
I have at least a monthly phone call with most of our vendors, just to stay in touch. Some of the ones that we don’t use as much, I might talk to every quarter. I like to let them know what’s going on in the business and talk about changes that we might have coming up, staffing, things like that
QUESTION 2: How do you, as an MSP solutions provider, get known to vendors?
ROJAS: I seek out the vendors I want to do business with and work to convince them to see me as a partner. I off er them the opportunity to use us as guinea pigs with the commitment to provide deep, meaningful feedback to improve and further the product, as well as not to jump ship at the first sign of trouble. As a result, we are extremely loyal to our vendors and they are extremely loyal to us.
FOX: We engage with vendors and build a rapport and a relationship with them so that they know what’s going on in our business. Attending events like ASCII is a good way to get your face in front of the vendors and build mutually beneficial relationships, and participating in ways like that lets the vendor know that you’re part of the community.
The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solution providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solution providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.