There are certainly some companies we want to do business with, some we have to work with out of necessity, and still others that just creep into the fold somehow. Then there’s that group that we probably could do without. But for those partners we want to and have to do business with, creating mutually beneficial relationships is not only important, but it can also position you as a leading VAR in the industry – the sought-after leader with whom everyone wants to partner.

Of course, it’s a two-way street. You need your vendors, and your vendors need you. But developing those relationships, working with your vendors to really educate them on your needs and those of your customers takes time. Solution provider programs that have multiple hoops to jump through in order to succeed – like excessive restrictions, qualifiers, and paperwork – or limiting communication to newsletters are just ways for vendors to “say” they’re doing something for their partners. It’s lip service. If your vendors aren’t delivering more methods to suoport your selling efforts, you must be open and honest with them about what you need in order to push their products and services. After all, if your bottom line is doing well, then theirs will be, too.

So what are some of the ways that you can grow together as partners – for you to be a successful VAR and your vendor to flourish as well? At the Channel Partners Conference and Expo held recently in Las Vegas, more vendors sought out solution providers to become economic distribution channels, and partners were looking for more revenue-generating opportunities and strategies to build business. Now more than ever, you must rely on your vendors, but they need to rely on you as well. Here are a few things to consider as you build and nurture you partnerships:

– If you grow, your vendor will grow, and vice versa. Look for vendors who utilize profit-building and margin incentive programs .Choose those companies that truly understand the importance of their solution provider’s profitability. While it sounds like a no-brainer, not all vendors are concerned with their partner’s financial success but are just looking for the sale themselves. Ask vendors about their strategy to help you become more profitable. If they have a program in place that takes into account not just their own profit margins, but yours as well, they may just be the partner you’re looking for.

– Over-communicate. In a down economy, we continue to discuss the importance of good communication. Communication is the backbone of any great relationship and vendors who simply “shoot out an email” every so often and then call that communicating need a bit of education. If you begin working with a new vendor, and that vendor actually listens to your needs and concerns, and then offers you products and solutions that will work with your customers, you’ve got a good communicator on your hands. What other types of resources could you both use to enhance communication? Host forums and roundtables to discuss strategies and new initiatives. Better ideas will come about if you work together and build off each other. Ongoing communication can open the door to so many successes for the both of you.

– Seek out partners who are able to capitalize on what’s next. Obviously you want to stay ahead of the competition by offering the latest technologies to your customers. By working with vendors who understand what it takes to transition from one technology to the next, you’ll be able to keep your customers at the forefront of what’s to come. Vendors who read trends well, and then have programs already in place right from the start, will be able to deliver right out of the gates, providing support for the “next big thing” for your customers.

– Don’t try to partner with everyone simply to offer everything. Clearly there are aspects of your business where you excel and others where you might not. Play up the good parts by working with vendors that will support and enhance your existing solutions. Try to steer clear of working with vendors who will, by default, force you to offer products and services that are unfamiliar to you, or that don’t fit into your plans and goals. It’s better to be focused, solid, and successful with the items you do offer, versus trying to please everyone and disappointing many of your customers.

By yanam49

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