Guest Column | November 18, 2014

Channel Sales Vendor/Partner Relationships: What Vendors Want (Part 6)

By Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC

Dede Haas, CA-AM, Channel Sales Strategist, DLH Services, LLC

It’s not love at first sight. It is all about the relationship between the vendor and the partner if a channel sales partnership is to be successful.  A better understanding of what a vendor expects from a partner helps the solution provider make well informed and prudent business decisions that have a positive and profitable impact on their organization.

Read Part 1,  “We wait by the phone but they never call,” Part 2,  “Do we really have to talk about business?” Part 3, “Marketing: Why do we have to get dressed up?”Part 4 “We really like speed dating. Close and go, we always say,”and Part 5 “We know what we are doing. Why do you ask?”

PART VI: “Like they say, opposites attract…Or not!”

Do opposites really attract in a vendor-partner relationship? Probably not. When a vendor is recruiting partners, they are looking for companies whose business processes and practices are similar and a good fit with their own. It is not only a business fit that is important but a company fit as well. In other words, will the partner company culture accommodate a close channel sales relationship? Does the partner’s culture allow for open and honest discussions with the vendor’s channel team? Will the employees of both companies work well together? Can both organizations easily coexist or will they clash? These are the questions the vendor will ask and if you want to partner and make money with them, you will need to comfortably exist with their culture and values.

It is very important for the vendor to recruit the partners that suit their needs. Their goal is to develop mutually beneficial relationships with partners that will meet their particular business requirements and objectives. A good fit culturally helps create long-term, workable, and profitable vendor-partner relationships.

What does all this mean? It means the vendor is going to take a long hard look at your company culture and how you run your business. The question they will ask is: Can we work and make money together successfully? And to get the answer, they will put you through a screening process. Some of the traits they will be looking for during the evaluation period are:

  • trustworthiness
  • similar company culture and values
  • alignment of business goals and objectives
  • the ambition to make money
  • the capability to establish open and honest business relationships with other vendors and customers
  • your partnership mentality (working well within a channel partnership, willingness to be an active partner)
  • executive management’s support of the partnership
  • employees easily working together and supporting each other (something not usually present in a toxic company culture)
  • Willingness to make your sales and technical teams available for trainings, meetings, calls, etc.
  • an environment that encourages company participation in the vendor-partner relationship
  • the partner’s desire to work closely with the vendor and to do what it takes to make the partnership mutually successful
  • plays well with others

If you don’t want your company and business practices to be put under a microscope by the vendor, then you are probably not a good fit for this partnership. But if you are interested in partnering with a vendor and don’t mind opening the book on your company for their assessment, the first thing you should do is research. Take the time to get to know and understand the vendor, their products and services, their partners, and their customers. Discover how they run their business and treat their employees and partners. Talk to people and companies who have had relationships with them. In this day and age, it should not be too hard to get the information you need to decide whether they are a good fit for you!

TIP:  Perusing a vendor’s mission statement and value proposition on its website is a good start in determining its culture and values.

An award-winning high-tech sales professional and founder of DLH Services, Dede Haas creates 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, Dede 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.