Guest Column | October 9, 2013

Channel Sales Vendor/Partner Relationships: Part 2

How Opposites Attract And Stay Together — Or Not

Dede Haas, CA-AM, channel sales strategist, DLH Services, LLC

If a channel sales partnership is to be successful, it’s all about the relationship between the vendor and the partner. There can be all kinds of fancy channel programs and spiffs but if the channel partner does not feel like they are treated as a legitimate business partner, the partnership will not work.

Part II: Getting To Know One Another

Q: Is it truly a partnership, or does the relationship seem like it is all about the vendor?

As you recall from Part I of this series, a New York City VAR partnered with a vendor without qualifying them first. Eventually, the VAR had some concerns because the relationship seemed more surface and less substance. They had not taken the time to get to know the vendor and their reason to recruit them as a channel partner. 

As the year passed, there were bi-weekly update calls with the vendor’s channel manager and a few dinners with various vendor sales and product managers, but no plan on how these two companies were going to successfully sell together. The vendor’s channel manager wanted a list of all the partner’s customers, but never offered access into their own customer base or help in generating leads. It was the VAR who was expected to mine their customers for sales. It seemed overly one sided. So much of the VAR’s invested time had been wasted because not one sale had been made. They felt they were just another logo for the vendor’s website.

Would the partnership have happened if the partner had taken the time to get to know the vendor? Probably not. Are they doomed to such a one-sided relationship? Not necessarily. It may not be too late to sit down and truly get to know one another. Steer the affiliation to a more equitable and profitable arrangement through questions such as:

  • What is each party’s motivation for this partnership?
  • Are there benefits that can come from this relationship? How have both organizations benefited so far?
  • What are their respective business models, products, services, and company cultures and are they a good fit? Why and why not?
  • Are the expectations of both companies compatible? Are they competitive or unworkable?
  • After getting to know one another, is there a belief that they can work and make money together?

Revisiting the reasons for a partnership and deciding if it is worth continuing is not only smart but also good business.

Any good stories to tell?  I would love to hear from you.

Editor’s note: This the second of five articles in a series. Haas is planning to base the fifth article on your experiences. Please comment below or contact her directly.


An award-winning high-tech sales professional and founder of DLH Services, Dede Haas creates innovative and successful channel sales solutions for the vendor and the partner. She has developed and managed channel partner programs for enterprise and cloud based products and services for small and medium businesses and for industry leaders, such as Intel Corp.  For the partner, she has managed the vendor relationship, created business opportunities, and developed and conducted product training.  She has her Certification of Achievement-Alliance Management (CA-AM) from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals. Have a question, comment, or story you would like to share with Dede?  If so, please contact her at  or +1 703-448-1710.