Who are you really selling against?

By Barrie Desmond. Business Development Direction of VADition.

Can vendor sales people and VAR sales people ever be happy bed fellows?

Probably one of the biggest issues to the UK channel, and all too often overlooked, is the pursuit of trying to align the objectives of the revenue-targeted vendor, with those of the profit-driven reseller.

Caught in the middle of this unspoken feud is poor old Ban Ki-moon; otherwise known as the distributor.

The inconvenient truth is that, in many cases, a huge amount of distrust can grow and fester within this uncertain and uneasy alliance.  It is quite understandable when a VAR doesn’t want vendors in their customer base, and the same is true for the named accounts of many vendor salespeople.  To get over this from a vendor perspective, the sacred ‘deal registration’ system has been created.  For the vendor, this provides the clearest view possible of pipeline for planning and resource allocation purposes.  In reality it could be seen as a cattle market where additional discounts and incentives are offered as horse trades for access to a customer account or prospect.

In a larger industry context, there are misgivings when other partners get involved in a given deal because of a legacy relationship (“he’s my father-in-law” etc.).  This will often lead to discounts being retrofitted by the VAR, thereby undermining the programme in the first place.  Vendors on the other hand believe the partner will either slow the sales process down or introduce other services or products that may be at odds with the vendor, even if a more solutions-orientated approach is the right thing to do for the customer.

Something has to be done about this, because the squeezed middle (yes us as the distributor and full-time ‘Relate’ counsellor) is constantly trying to fix this problem.  Perhaps having a joint objective around margin is the way forward, but getting this buy-in – especially from the vendor – still seems a little out of reach.

Ultimately I think we shouldn’t lose sight that we are all on the same side, and no matter how it might feel sometimes, we don’t want such different things at the end of the day.


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