4 Things That Won’t Work With Your Reseller Channel

To build a successful reseller channel, you can’t take anything for granted. Provide the channel program structure, products, and support your resellers need.

Mobile forms and workflows solutions company doForms attributes much of its success to establishing a successful reseller channel. DevPro Journal asked doForms CEO John Darienzo to explain how his company built a sustainable channel early in the company’s history. He shared four mistakes ISVs should avoid to make a reseller channel succeed.

1. Don’t Give Your Resellers More Than One Simple Task When First Starting Out

Darienzo: “In the presence of confusion people do nothing. If your product is difficult for you to sell it, imagine how much harder it will be for a reseller who cannot invest the same time as you learning the product and training their employees. doForms, which provides scalable mobile forms and workflow solutions for companies in healthcare, transportation, automotive, field services and other task-oriented industries, simply asks its reseller to gather a single paper form used by its customer daily. doForms will then convert the paper form into a smart mobile form for free so that a sales rep can provide their customer with a fully functional solution. The reseller can provide the customer something much better than they have today in their hands quickly with no time or dollar investment. If you can convince people about the value of a product quickly and get them interested quickly, it works.”

2. Don’t Expect Your Reseller Channel to Know Everything Right Away

Darienzo: “Regardless of a channel partner’s expertise, there will always be a learning curve with a new solution — not just how to use it, but also how to sell it. doForms starts each new reseller relationship by partnering the reseller with a dedicated doForms resource that participates in sales early on with the reseller to ensure their success and facilitate their ability to sell and support the product on their own quickly. Once the reseller establishes a successful track record, there are more willing to invest internally, and doForms then offers additional financial incentives once our resources are no longer needed.”

3. Don’t Allow Your Resellers To Rebrand Your Product

Darienzo: “To protect your brand, you should reconsider allowing resellers to white label your product. We require resellers to make doForms a part of their solutions but do not allow them to white label doForms trying to be its own forms company. It’s never successful. They don’t have the expertise on the product or the support needed to address normal product issues. In addition, it creates confusion with other resellers when they see the same product sold under different brand names.

“The doForms brand is so well known that people are beginning to refer to mobile forms as ‘doForms,’ and businesses have job descriptions that include developing doForms. Resellers can benefit from the brand’s reputation, rather than trying to establish their own.”

4. Don’t Make It Only About the Recurring Revenue

Darienzo: “doForms is a great source of recurring revenue and the more licenses you sell, the more money you make each month. However, if a reseller tries to make doForms its only source of revenue, they will find that it takes time to ramp up a recurring revenue base to something meaningful. With that said, we like to partner with companies that have complementary products that can be sold together with doForms. Consider a company selling mobile printers and mobile payment. With a doForms mobile invoice that can print to the mobile printer and take credit card payment using the mobile payment processor, the reseller can now offer a total solution to a customer without needing the customer first to develop a solution or buy a solution from another vendor. They can make money on the hardware and the service, not to mention things like design consulting, project management, form building, data integration, report building, and data analytics. We want to enable resellers to make money a lot of money. It keeps them motivated and continuing to invest in our future.”

A well-planned reseller channel strategy is just one component of doForms success. Along with a scalable product, right-sizing your organization, and defining your position in the market, an ISV can achieve competitiveness and success that benefits both your ISV and your resellers. 

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The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.