5 attributes to look for in a channel provider (besides product)

Long-term success in the channel depends on more than a product alone. When choosing a provider to work with, partners should prioritise finding the right balance of price, solutions and support. With that package in place, channel partners have a great chance of producing big results. However, without this, the channel partner and provider relationship can be unproductive, stifled by the lack of expertise and support.

As customers’ needs become increasingly complex, the desire for channel partners to provide a more complete service becomes a growing necessity. When looking to expand or to diversify and partner up with a new provider, here are some key factors – besides product – to be considered.

Choice

Flexibility allows partners to shape their business to best fit customer needs. A quality provider supplies options for how a partnership can work – whether a commission-based dealer relationship, a white labelled billing service, or a full wholesale service with independent billing. The range of options means channel partners can use the various programs to transition their business to meet end demand, all while keeping a consistent corporate exterior.

 

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Training

Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to selling. Partner programme training is essential to ensure resellers get the right resources, tools and business support they need to create and maintain sales.

The right provider should offer sales (including pre-sales) support to help partners win customers, as well as technical support to maintain ongoing customer service quality. Added to that, training should not only help bridge the skills gap, but should motivate existing employees. By empowering staff with new skills through an easy to follow training programme, resellers should benefit from better skilled staff and a more productive workforce.

Tools and resources

Channel partners should look for providers that can give them the right system tools. Being able to provide services, such as bills, invoices and customer support at any time of the day through an online portal can maximise customer service levels and help resellers stand out in a competitive market.

For resellers, an online portal can also reduce overheads through increased visibility, and allow for easier management of customer accounts.

Competitive Pricing

Balancing price and service quality is vital for any channel partner wishing to work in the telecoms space. Look for providers with a range of products and services, but who also offer channel-friendly pricing and tiered levels of partnership. While the key to success is to create more sales, the right relationship will offer strategic pricing options –and commercial terms should always encourage growth.

Communication

A relationship is a two-way street, and any good partnership requires clear communication. While product, training, support and pricing are important, it’s also worth noting the right channel provider will openly engage with resellers regularly to understand their success and pain points. Channel partners have the advantage of having closer relationships with end customers, meaning such feedback is beneficial for both partners and providers.

Finding the right channel provider can make or break a reseller business. Partners need to look beyond product and consider service, pricing and communication quality to make reselling efficient and profitable. With this in mind, resellers can focus on what they do best – providing exceptional customer service and offering clients the best products and services on the market.

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31 March 2017 | Justin Coombes

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.