Being the perfect channel partner
We caught up with Marcos Wrobel, Channel Sales Manager EMEA at RFS to find out what makes a perfect relationship between vendor and distributor.
For distributors, a great vendor partner treats the relationship as a true partnership. Both parties work together to drive sales and enhance the service the end customer receives. With this in mind, we may not be showering our distributor partners with a dozen red roses this year, but we have looked very closely at what a vendor can do to ensure its distributor relationships thrive.
- USP – a vendor with a USP helps a channel distributor stand out from the crowd. It not only gives a great angle when speaking to customers but ensures healthy margins as they are able to differentiate on product, not compete in a race to the lowest price.
- Innovation – Beyond having a unique selling point, vendors must ensure they are enabling their channel partners to deliver solutions that are at the cutting edge of what the market has to offer so providing a continuous stream of innovation is a perfect gift for distributors. Part of this is developing solutions with customers in mind. The innovation element must be driven by putting themselves into the end users’ shoes, identifying potential difficulties and pre-emptively solving those problems.
- A supportive partner – Distributors often sell an array of solutions from different providers and having confidence that their customers can directly access the customer support they need to keep them happy is key to a successful relationship.
- Tailored solutions – Bespoke solutions are possible within a channel model and really help to set distributors and integrators apart without harming both sides strategies. If a vendor is able to foster a great relationship with its channel partners, the sky is the limit for tailoring solutions to truly meet the needs of their customers.
- Safety first – More and more, communications equipment must strike a balance between excellent performance and safety as increasingly stringent regulations put an emphasis on fireproofing in particular. A vendor that has enhanced safety at the heart of product development is key to helping customers tick all the boxes they need to.
- A guiding hand – Clear information for distributors, translates into clear information for end customers and makes the selling process much easier. Well thought through product guides are on every distributor’s wish list with bonus points if they are available in local language to make it as simple as possible for the end customer. Additionally, having local facilities to streamline logistics is a real plus. Cutting lead times is a great way to help distributors deliver the best possible service for their customers.
- Consultancy – Vendors have a wealth of expertise that can help distributors and customer make the best possible decisions on equipment. By providing consultancy as well as product this knowledge can be tapped into to ensure that every deployment is the best it can be.
- Teamwork – A relationship with distributors should be just that – a relationship. A vendor that works closely with distributors; producing joint material, understanding their customers and ensuring they are meeting their needs makes for a great partner.
- Agnosticism – More often than not customers are looking for a solution that will easily integrate into their existing infrastructure. Agnostic equipment vendors make the process of upgrading and changing the network much simpler.
- End to End – One of the benefits of purchasing via the channel is that the integrator partner gives customers a one stop shop for the infrastructure they need. Having a vendor with end to end solutions makes it very straightforward for distributors to provide the complete solution their customers are looking for.