There are a couple of tried and tested approaches to entering a new market: appoint a distributor to access resellers or hire a direct sales team to win new reference customers. A hybrid of these is the single-tier model employing channel managers that engage directly with resellers.
Are any of these right for disruptive vendors, either in their technology or GTM strategy?
At Opex IT Group we have decades of combined experience in selling through the channel – we know the challenges and have learned a few guiding principles to overcome them:
- Many resellers view new technology or a new vendor as a risk carrying significant opportunity cost
- The majority of VARs do not have a dedicated resource to evaluate and interface with emerging vendors
- Bandwidth is limited: even if you come with a bag of leads, the minute you exit the door there is little or no guarantee the partner is pushing your product to their prospects. The gravity of ‘comfort zones’ is indeed a difficult force to overcome
- Lead by example works best
- Revenue is king: an early win is a massive boost to product credibility
- Net new business is far more attractive than selling to their existing customer base
With this background, our success has come from directly helping the partner win new business with end users: ‘sell-through’ just isn’t appropriate for disruptive vendors, ‘sell-with’ still has many dependencies – by far the best approach is ‘sell-for’.
- We assume the opportunity cost
- …although reseller has ‘skin in the game’
- Our success is 100% incremental to the reseller
- Direct access to end-users: partner customer base and new prospects
- A focus on just 1-2 vendor offerings