In 2018, a number of industry thought leaders used DevPro Journal software developer magazine articles as a platform to share their advice with you on how to successfully build a reseller channel. The amount of attention this topic has received isn’t surprising: Selling through a channel can be a tremendous advantage for an ISV — but mismanaging a channel, on the other hand, can create issues that can hamper growth and success.
Here’s a recap of some of the sage advice in this year’s reseller channel-focused software developer magazine articles from DevPro Journal.
Don’t Sign Partners without a Plan
Linda Sudderth, North American Sales Manager of OEM, VAR and ISV channel partnerships for Epson, says the first step toward a building a reseller channel is to know your software, know the reseller model that best fits your solution, and then find reseller partners who are a good fit for your business model. Taking your time and growing your channel methodically with the right partners is the best approach, rather than trying to bring on a large number of resellers at once.
Your Responsibilities Don’t End with the Partner Agreement
Sterling Payment Technologies contributed a software developer magazine article, “Successful ISV-Reseller Partnerships Start with the Right Match,” which points out that once you sign a new channel partner, your work is just starting. You need to provide resources and support including training and marketing and sales support. You also need to train in-house resources to provide any assistance your channel partners may need.
Avoid Channel Conflict
Brenda McCurry, VP of merchandising for ScanSource POS, says a key to a successful reseller channel is not to sell to end users when you have channel reseller partners selling in the same market. “Not only would this strain business relationships, with reseller partners, but it would also confuse customers and dilute the overall sales footprint,” McCurry says.
Don’t Make the Partnership Only about Recurring Revenue
In our article based on an interview with doForms CEO John Darienzo, you’ll find some tips for building a sustainable channel, including partnering with resellers who aren’t just trying to make simply selling your software as their only source of income. Darienzo says look for partners with the capability of offering a total solution. “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.” He says this enables resellers to earn more revenue, which “keeps them motivated and continuing to invest in our future.”
From our collection of software developer magazine articles on this topic, a number of bylines and interviews dealt specifically with the point of sale (POS) reseller channels, but the advice can be valuable to a wider audience.
For example, Justin Zeigler, director of product strategy at Datacap Systems, says when dealing with value-added resellers (VARs), it’s smart to think of them as franchisees, requiring in-depth training, and using standardized marketing materials. This will ensure your channel is using standardized messaging to consistently represent your product.
Walk a Mile in the Reseller’s Shoes
Jim Roddy, Reseller and ISV Business Advisor at Worldpay, says to be careful about the relationship you establish with your channel partners. “Don’t establish an adversarial relationship — don’t treat resellers like a sales force that you can give marching orders to,” says Roddy. He says, instead, to remember the challenges they face on a daily basis, keep the lines of communication open, and provide them with the support they need to be successful.
It’s Never Too Late for Improvement
Whether your reseller channel is new or established, take stock of your channel program in light of the advice in these articles, and, if necessary, map out a plan for change. The time you invest in your reseller program will not only result in greater success for your channel partners, but also provide you with ROI in the form of more sales and business growth.