Intelligent Tech Channels Issue 57 - Page 51

SHANE GRENNAN , REGIONAL CHANNEL DIRECTOR , ENTERPRISE AND ALLIANCES , FORTINET

Q & A

EDITOR ’ S
HOW CAN SOLUTION PROVIDERS DEVELOP MASTERY IN CHANNEL SALES ?

The fundamentals of developing and advancing a channel sales pipeline have not changed , you need to be in front of customers , understanding their issues and objectives and how the solutions you sell help them remove those issues and reach their objectives . With the current challenges of low volume of face-to-face meetings , getting in front of existing customers is significantly easier than getting in front of net new customers and the cost of sales to these customers is less . For this reason , we see our resellers focusing more on expand right now and less on land . In addition , they are focusing more on vendors with a portfolio that allows them to expand and less on single solution vendors where they must continually land with new customers .

That said , vendors , distributors and partners should be working closely together to build a sales pipeline . Vendors have the
A channel partner is a person or organisation that provides services or sells products on behalf of a software , hardware , networking or cloud services vendor . Partners include , resellers , value-added resellers ( VARs ), systems integrators ( SIs ), consultants , managed service providers ( MSPs ), solution providers and independent software vendors ( ISVs ). Industry pundits share tips on how resellers can develop mastery skills of IT channel sales .

SHANE GRENNAN , REGIONAL CHANNEL DIRECTOR , ENTERPRISE AND ALLIANCES , FORTINET

best understanding of the core value of their solutions to customers and can help partners by funding marketing activities . Vendors typically have dedicated teams focused on partner development and growth . Partners should look at their technology stack and “ lean it ” to those vendors that show they want to focus with them . Early engagement is key , don ’ t just look to engage with the vendor towards the end of the sales cycle , partner at the very start and even before the sales cycle starts , in marketing and prospecting activities .
Distributors on the other hand are a proxy for their larger vendors and can often help partners where they have resource constraints for demos and POC ’ s , help with evaluation solutions and , provide training and workshops to increase technology knowledge . The more creative distributors will have creative commercial and financing options to help the partner offer the solutions in the way a customer would like them .
Given the competitive nature of the channel business , it ’ s crucial that channel partners must distinguish themselves and their organisations if they are to master and grow channel sales in the current business climate .
For example , the cybersecurity market has never been in so much flux as it is now . Threats are rising exponentially in volume as well as the number of attack vectors . In response the industry is seeing a lot of change , for example all customers now need SOC services whether inhouse or
outsourced , irrespective of company size . This , drives change for customers and we are seeing them moving from EPP to EDR to XDR and leveraging SIEM . Alongside the pressure to reduce cost is mounting , driving a migration to secure SD-WAN .
We see partners who have the people , skills , and experience to do this succeeding more than most in the market .
There is no doubt that the last 18 months have presented challenges and changes for all verticals . There are always companies succeeding and suffering in all verticals so partners can identify those to focus on , however this isn ’ t going to be ‘ blue ocean ’ and partners need to have a strategy to compete effectively .
Culture ‘ eats strategy ’ for breakfast , and culture will greatly impact partners ability to flourish . Going forward , the partners that will flourish will be able to help customers through the confusion , figuring out their security strategy and direction now and into the future .
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