Partnering Starts with the Customer in Mind

Posted: 5/6/2014 by Norma Watenpaugh

Collaboration between technology providers and their channel partners has never been more important. Creating a sustainable partnership begins with the customer value proposition. Without customer value, there is no reason to partner! This requires you to get inside the head of the ultimate end user of your products and services and fundamentally understand the motivation to buy.  

Look at customer value in three buckets:

Business Impact, Solution Value, and Relationship. How does your alliance offer delivered through your channel partner create value in all three measures? Measures?  Yes measures, you should be able to measure the benefit to customers. 

Business Impact – Does your solution enable the customer to be more competitive within their own market?  Does it save the customer money?  Is the business more efficient? Does it create a more flexible consumption model i.e. pay as you go vs pay up front, preserving capital? Can you bring the customer more knowledge about their customer for better decision making or better relationships?

This requires you to get inside the head of the ultimate end user of your products and services and fundamentally understand the motivation to buy.

Solution Value – all too often this where we jump to. Why our offer is bigger, better, faster or cheaper is not the point.  The solution value is the essentially the “how” of business impact.  How does your solution save the customer money; create competitive advantage; increase their relevance to their customers. Make the bridge for the channel partner. Don’t expect them to make these connections for you. 

Relationship Value – all too often this is overlooked! But people buy from people they like. So you cannot discount the personal relationships that VARs and resellers have in the local markets.  Customers like to buy from someone they know and trust. Someone that will be there when they need questions answered and someone who has a good relationship with the vendors.  It may be your brand on the product but it is the local hero that customers depend on.

Once you’ve defined how your channel partner adds value to alliance offer, now you are ready to understand the economics of how your channel partner makes money and how that changes in a recurring business model…in the next blog. Or join the conversation: 

Changing the Channel: Succeeding as a Channel Manager in the Age of SaaS and SMAC

June 11, 2014 9:00am Pacific

The IT channel is rapidly changing, and true collaboration between technology providers and their partners has never been more important. This webinar will explore how to succeed as a channel manager in today’s world, where traditional hardware and software channels are at a crossroads and SaaS (software as a service) and SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, and cloud) present new challenges and opportunities for profitable and sustainable channel relationships.

Register

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