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Partner Programs from the Channel point of view

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Partner Programs from the Channel point of view

Question to VARs & VADs: what's the first feeling you have when learning about a vendor's Partner Program?...

Vendors probably dream that their potential Channel Partners read their Partner Program and think about potential business opportunities they could exploit working together. This might be true for huge guys with well-established brands and high market demand for their products. However, when talking about SMBs penetrating the new markets (either start-ups or those trying to enter a new niche market); this dream is quite far from reality.

What happens in real-life is that, first of all, potential Channel Partners rarely read the channel programs up-front - let alone think about potential mutual business development opportunities. Both VARs and VADs actually think from a completely different perspective, and their perspective is customer and product-driven.

I'm pretty sure I can pinpoint the top-5 questions these guys ask themselves when considering adding a new product to their portfolio:
- How is this going to complement with my existing product / service offering?
- Does this product address the customer needs my company is focused on?
- Will I be able to sell value-added services along with this product? Do I have the necessary expertise? If I don't - how difficult it is to learn?
- What is the tech support procedure? How much overhead is it going to generate?
- Is there a market for this product?

Most of the Partner Programs out there do not actually address these questions and rather focus on the sales margin, partner levels and co-op marketing opportunities. Thus getting back to the initial question addressed to VARs and VADs, the straightforward answer would probably be: "Oh, it's just another market bla-bla, aimed at getting me on-board, but hardly answering any of the questions I need answers to".

The problem is, Partner Program is pretty much a standard thing already - and vendors don't have much of choice choosing the format. It's almost like a disclaimer statement - people are perfectly aware of the fact no one reads them, but it just has to be there.

Coming up next: Bitrix answers to the top-5 questions stated above.