10 Tips For Evaluating a Vendor’s MSP Partner Program

10 Tips For Evaluating a Vendor's Partner Program

10 Tips For Evaluating a Vendor's Partner Program

Joining a vendor’s partner program is much like solving a multi-layered puzzle where every piece must fit perfectly to decode the bigger picture. Technology vendors tirelessly work to create successful channel programs to recruit managed service providers. But, such a journey is often scattered with barriers and challenges. Thankfully, every problem has a solution waiting to be found.

Here are ten things you should consider when evaluating a vendor’s channel partner program:

  1. Equitable Partner Engagement
    It’s like being part of a relay race where only a few get the chance to cross the finish line. Vendors often rely on a select few partners to generate the majority of channel sales, affecting your growth prospects and long-term success.
    – What to Look For: A program that values each partner and strives for equitable engagement. This balance can be achieved through the provision of the right resources like training, joint business planning, and comprehensive support, enabling stronger selling and support capabilities.

  2. Transparent Communication
    Clear and timely communication is the backbone of any fruitful partnership. Yet, it often happens that important vendors’ messages get lost, affecting the success and retention of partners.
    – What to Look For: A program that keeps partners informed and openly communicates. Regular updates on product enhancements, market trends, and program changes should be the norm. A good vendor should also be open to feedback to constantly refine their communication strategies.

  3. Continuous Training
    Many MSPs express dissatisfaction with the lack of marketing, sales, and technical training and skill-building avenues in the partner programs they engage with.
    – What to Look For: Consistent training and certification opportunities that include marketing and sales training along with the technical. A dedicated training portal offering self-learning resources can go a long way in keeping you ahead of evolving technology trends and business operations sophistication.

  4. Protection of Profit Margins
    Profit margin erosion is often cited as a major pain point in an MSP’s association with vendors.
    – What to Look For: An MSP-friendly program offering attractive recurring revenues and incentives and rebates, ensuring that your prosperity is directly linked to that of the vendor. Regular assessments and adjustments to these programs ensure that your profitability remains at the forefront.

  5. Unique Market Differentiation
    In a crowded market environment, carving out a distinct space is a challenge for many MSPs.
    – What to Look For: Availability of unique marketing materials and co-branding opportunities to help you stand out. Having custom branding and promotion of products, services, or proficiencies in key verticals can significantly boost your market presence.

  6. Simplification of Vendor Management
    Managing relationships with multiple vendors often requires juggling too many hats, straining resources, and diverting focus.
    – What to Look to For: A Vendor’s Partner Relationship Management (PRM) system providing a central hub for resources, streamlined communications, and automated processes is an essential tool to make collaboration with vendors easier and less burdensome.

  7. A Clear Value Proposition for the MSP and Their Clients
    The changing dynamics of the technology industry have necessitated vendors to work much harder to attract partners.
    – What to Look For: A vendor that communicates a clear value proposition to its partners and their clients and invests in a targeted strategy supporting their commitment to helping you succeed.

  8. Channel Conflict Mitigation
    Channel conflicts are a recurrent problem that disrupts smooth workflows and impacts profits.
    – What to Look For: Robust deal registration systems ensuring deal protection and clear rules of engagement can minimize potential issues and promote a harmonious working relationship.

  9. Reduction of Program Complexity
    Many partners find vendor programs complex and difficult to grasp and navigate.
    – What to Look For: A program that offers simplicity and transparency in structure. A Vendor’s continuous auditing of program rules and processes can eliminate unnecessary complexities, making it easier for the partners.

  10. Enhanced Marketing Support
    Many vendors fail to provide adequate marketing collateral and assistance, leaving partners struggling to promote their services.
    – What to Look For: Availability of ample marketing resources, funding, and support. Look for vendors that offer a robust Market Development Fund (MDF) program to support partners in marketing their products and services efficiently.

Joining a successful channel program that truly engages with MSPs can be a challenge, but armed with the right know-how, you can forge a profitable relationship with your preferred Vendors by understanding these challenges and making informed choices.

Erick Simpson
Founder & Chief Strategist
[email protected]
(800) 414-1441
2271 W. Malvern Ave., #169
Fullerton, CA 92833
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About Erick Simpson: MSP Expert | Influencer | Thought Leader
A pioneer and leader in the managed services industry, Erick Simpson built and sold one of the first MSPs in the industry and grew and coached thousands of IT Solution Providers through their MSP transformation with his MSP Mastered® Methodology for managed services business performance improvement. He has been voted the #1 source MSPs look to for advice on running their business in North America.
Erick is an MSP business & channel growth expert, influencer, thought leader, speaker, and author with 4 best-selling books and 50 white papers to his credit. His strategies and programs help MSPs overcome business challenges to realize consistent, profitable, managed services recurring revenue growth. His M&A expertise has helped dozens of MSPs sell their businesses at the highest valuation or expand through acquisition. He delivers strategic market analysis services and builds and improves channel programs for IT vendors and distributors, and helps recruit and enable their channel partners through his thought leadership podcasts, webinars, workshops, and event keynotes and breakouts.
Erick’s industry recognition includes Channel Futures’ 7 Thought Leaders Defining the MSP Market, Jay McBain’s 100 Most Visible Channel Leaders, 2 Time ChannelPro 20/20 Visionaries, 2 Time MSP Mentor 250 and SMB Nation’s SMB 150 award recipient.

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