Channel partnerships are mutually beneficial commitments between two vendors aimed at growing business opportunities and empowering both sets of customers. Being successful with these goals depends on many things-from the combined range of products and solutions offered, to how vendors differentiate themselves and build industry credibility.
In a market as differentiated as Asia Pacific, having the right partner is instrumental to success in the region. You want a partner that will approach your business with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment that you have. With any partnership, a long-term covenant between two parties, it is important that partners share the same business philosophies in the long run. Here are four criteria to look out for when choosing a partner:
1. Recognise that any partnership is meant to be profitable.
All partnerships should be based on mutual benefit, no matter the size of the individual partners. Smaller partners can grow their business alongside bigger vendors, leveraging on the bigger vendors' global business network, industry connections and expertise. Large vendors, usually multinational companies, can learn from their local partners' expertise on the ground.
2. Find a partner that has a strong portfolio.
A good business partner should have solutions and services that support and compliment your own. The more expertise your partner brings to the business, the easier it will be to find the perfect solution for your customers.
Organisations today have a lot of choice in terms of solution providers. They are often unsure of or plagued by 'mis-information' on what solution would be best for their varied needs. These organisations end up purchasing a mish-mash of solutions that don't work together or create a 'lock-in', preventing them from looking at other solutions that may be more cost-efficient.
You need to find a partner that understands the market end-to-end, from the client, to the network, to the storage, to the data centre and to the cloud. At the same time, these solutions should be flexible enough to work individually with other legacy hardware. Partners should help in connecting existing and future customers and uniting both sets of programmes and solutions.
3. Look for a partner that makes an effort.
The only way you are going to be a better partner is if you are given the opportunity to learn. A vendor should ensure periodic trainings for its channel partners especially when it introduces new products. The trainings should be simple to understand, comprehensive and have an avenue for feedback and enquiries.
4. Honesty: The secret to every successful relationship.
Although cliché, only enter into partnerships with people you can trust. Look for vendors that value honesty and practise good personal and business ethics. They should be open and comfortable in sharing their companies' plans and strategies. Throughout the course of the partnership, you should be kept informed of the company's direction though multiple communication channels, such as newsletters, social media, roundtables and conferences.
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