This is part 2 of our 8-part blog series, 8 Steps to Help Channel Partners Build and Execute a Profitable Cloud Business.
A lot of partners make the mistake of picking the vendors first and then coming up with a solution to sell. Ingram Micro advises to do the exact opposite. Build your best go-to-market cloud solution and know exactly what you’re going to sell and to what markets, and then choose the best vendor partners to help you deliver the business outcomes your customers expect. Consider the following top three best practices when you’re ready to plug vendors into your cloud services solution:
Consider relationship and channel strategy
Instead of blindly choosing vendors based on what the customer has asked for, be sure you understand what those vendors are doing in the channel. What is their channel strategy and how will that affect your relationship to other vendors and your customers? In addition, consider how well you know the vendor and their reputation. Can you count on them to deliver what you need to derive optimum profitability from cloud sales?
Conduct financial and technical due diligence
Take the time to do the due diligence to ensure that the vendors you choose are financially viable. You want to work with partners who will continue to invest in the growth of their own business and have no restraints on access to funding. Also, are they technically able to do what they promise to do? In the end, you want to make sure that you, the vendors, and your customers all feel comfortable working together in a trusted relationship.
Know service delivery requirements and support resources
Make sure you know how you will operate with your vendors on a day-to-day basis before you sign on the bottom line. Determine who does what during the sales process and in post-sales support. For example, will this vendor expect you to take Level 1 support calls? If you want to do that, fine, but providing that level of support may not align operationally with your business. But don’t stop there. You should also consider taking the following actions to ensure that you select vendors who will enhance the value of your cloud offerings and can scale up or back as required:
- Understand available partner programs and resources
- Learn the competitive landscape and positioning
- Consider integrations and ecosystem partners
- Validate operational requirements and automation
- Review contract terms and service level agreements
- Understand cost basis and discounts
- Select partners based on their ability to change vendors
- Partner with an aggregator based on value and cost savings
Next we’ll look at developing pricing for your cloud services model and how automation plays a key role in keeping operational costs down. Read the next post. For more information about Ingram Micro Cloud’s channel partner program, visit www.ingrammicrocloud.com/become-a-partner/.