Posts Taged channel-partner

Cardinal Points Blog - More to the Point

More to the Point: How Can I Be Relevant to My Clients in the Future?

Coping with today’s marketplace disruption can be overwhelming and stressful to many channel partner business owners and their leadership teams. At the same time, it is equally if not more frustrating to their technology vendors, both manufacturers, and distributors, as they want their channels to sell new solutions. Dazed, confused and disoriented both parties have begun to realize that embracing these new solutions requires significant investment and changes to a channel partners’ business model to stay relevant.

Channel disorientation and lack of forward progress may best be summed up by the opening lyrics to John Lennon’s song “How.” Although it is a song above love, it starts with three basic emotional questions “How can I go forward when I don’t know which way I’m facing? How can I go forward when I don’t know which way to turn? How can I go forward into something I’m not sure of?” Albeit a topic for another day, a healthy channel operates when there is shared mutual passion.  You may want to watch Ozzy Osburn’s tribute to John Lennon as he sings “How” as his look certainly epitomizes a sense of disorientation.

While well intentioned, today’s technology vendors often lack a basic understanding of their partner’s competencies and fail to empathize with their partner’s plight. Relying on technical certifications, customer satisfaction scores and purchase volumes to categorize and classify their partners, too few technology vendors possess a heat map of their channel’s competencies. It’s rare for a technology vendor to dedicate qualified resources to assist their partners in answering the above questions.

For Channel Partners it is time to get your bearings.  Start with a critical look in the mirror and your core competencies. Competencies extend beyond a given knowledge and understanding of a product or solution. Below are six questions taken from the Cardinal Points L6®Methodology that  you will want to answer before moving too far:

  1. What are your Company’s core competencies?
  2. How would you and your colleagues define your Company’s core competencies?
  3. How does your Company evaluate its core competencies?
  4. How often do you evaluate your Company’s core competencies?
  5. What process is in place for you to improve or add to your core competencies?
  6. How do you leverage your core competencies?

 

Having conducted countless partner transformation workshops globally, most partners have not properly defined their core competencies nor have they communicated them with their technology vendors, employees and or clients. Partners must take greater ownership of this issue and can download a complimentary copy of the L6®Methodology. This is step one in a partner’s quest for long-term relevance. Once defined partners should consider turning this into an essential marketing and communication tool.

Download L6®Methodology

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More to the Point: Turbocharge Your 2017 Business Plan

It’s a new year and a fresh new ledger. The fourth quarter came and went with each transaction du jour.  How easy was it to defer 2017 planning? Now the joy of starting the process all over again! Such is the reality of many of running a VAR or channel partner business. Sins such as this are easy to mask over in good times and detrimental in periods of disruption. Having worked with countless channel partner business owners, I have observed that business planning presents a unique set of challenges. Often a business plan is formatted to appease others rather than for the health and welling being of the company and its owners. Comprehensive plans don’t happen overnight nor are they created in a vacuum. There is a learning curve to the process and discipline.

Whether your 2017 goals are to:

  • Return to profitability
  • Maximize your returns
  • Improve gross margins
  • Grow sales
  • Build a monthly recurring revenue stream
  • Develop profitable services lines of business

Consider evaluating your business as an outside investor. Is this a business worthy of my investment? If so what’s their plan? As a prudent investor, you appreciate the adage “the devil is in the details.”

If you’re new to the business planning process, frustrated by past results, or simply want to try something different. Below are a few suggestions:

  • Build a board of advisors
  • Join or create a trusted peer group
  • Lean on your professional advisors (Legal, Tax, Bank,)
  • Attend a training course
  • Hire a coach or specialty advisor

As you look to build your plan, there are certain things you will want to avoid. Consider downloading Cardinal Point’s 10 Mistakes Value Added Resellers Make in Business Planning.  This document has been created to provide some food for thought when approaching your planning process.

Cardinal Points is currently offering 1 hour of free consulting to interested firms.  If you are interested in some guidance in your 2017 planning process or in having your plan vetted by one of our experienced channel consultants; please contact us to schedule a phone consultation.

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