The MSP Christmas List

Channel conflict comes in all shapes and sizes – from competition between direct sales reps and partners to marketing efforts that completely undermine the channel partner’s ability to make money. Many of the direct sales and marketing best practices simply do not work with the channel, and even some of the most talented sales and marketing professionals fail to realize that disconnect.

It can be maddening for partners who are out there trying their best to build their business, when they get that call from a prospect they have been working on for months ─ only to find out that a key vendor has announced a marketing initiative allowing end users to buy direct or via a big box store at less than the MSPs cost for the same goods / services. The vendor may make adjustments to address the issue, but in many ways the damage is done and the end user will always wonder whether the partner was trying to gouge them.

So, in the interest of spreading holiday cheer during the season and with the hopes that it will continue into a prosperous 2016, here is my channel related “letter to Santa Claus.”

Dear Santa:

I have been a good MSP all year, and have grown my business by 40% in 2015 with a few selling days left in the year. I have been nice to my vendors, customers, and staff, and I would really like the following things for Christmas this year (hint to vendors, this is where you get to be Santa):

  1. I would love to have more visibility into my vendor’s roadmap so I can plan my marketing campaigns, sales promotions, and seed discussions for 2016. I don’t need to know where the crown jewels are hidden, but if you are sharing the information with your sales team, please consider me part of that group.
  2. I would really like to take advantage of marketing campaigns that you launch, and actually help you launch them. Please build your marketing efforts with the channel in mind, and give us the ability to amplify your message.
  3. Please Santa, I really, really want a dedicated support team that allows me to skip by Tier One support. I have already done what can be done on this end, so please let me talk to a Tier Three tech right out of the gate.
  4. Santa, margin is nice. Margin that escalates with volume on a set schedule motivates me. Please remember though, I am not the end user. You can’t call me towards the end of the month when your numbers are down and ask me to put inventory on the shelves – that doesn’t work and it really pisses me off ruins my day.
  5. Finally, when you are going to change something, please give me plenty of time to make adjustments with my deliverables and customers. The product you discontinue may represent a rounding error to you, but it is significantly painful to my business. Please don’t leave me holding the ball with no time to react.
  6. Oh, and golf balls are valuable tchotchkes; cheap pens, not so much.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and that your stockings are full of whatever you need to help you be happy and prosperous in 2016.

-Ted

 

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