Partnership and Vertical Expertise are Key to Success in the Cloud Channel

Last week, I talked about two key features Value Added Resellers (VARs) must avoid when looking for a cloud services provider and partner – a fake cloud and a software hairball. For today’s discussion, Let’s talk about what resellers must embrace if they are looking to succeed in the cloud channel.

Vertical specialty

As the market develops, it’s becoming obvious that ‘one-size’ does not fit all. There’s real demand for resellers to take up specialist positions in niche vertical markets, offering customers a more targeted cloud solution. To do this effectively, resellers need a single, integrated and customizable platform upon which they can build a flexible and industry-specific offering.

eWinery Solutions, for example, enjoys particular success in the wine industry, with customers such as Clifford Bay Estate. After selecting a cloud platform, it is currently developing industry-specific software that will give wineries the tools they need to truly compete at both local and international levels. Platform simplicity was a key consideration when it selected a cloud partner.

Work closely with your partner

One thing to look at carefully is how partners fit within a chosen vendor’s channel solution. Being comfortable within the sales model is vitally important: whether as part of a larger reseller base or a small, strategically selected channel. A vendor with a large reseller base may look like a winning bet, but taking on thousands of partners provides only a short-term selling solution, and is one that leaves many resellers feeling undervalued and cannibalizing the vendor’s sales. Look for a more efficient channel program – one that works with partners, not pitting them against each other.

A good program will allow partners to log information about sales leads, ensuring other partners don’t waste time trying to sell the same services to the same customers. This means fewer partners can work smarter, not harder, to expand the customer base across geographical and vertical markets. Ultimately, any system that can offer actionable insight into lead generation will require less time and resources wasted on dead-end leads, leading to greater sales conversion rates and increased profitability.

In a nutshell, take the time to properly assess the market before settling on a solution provider. When it comes to selling cloud applications, the general principles remain the same: customers value efficiency and simplicity. While it may be tempting to sign straight into partnerships with the big software vendors, take a more measured approach.

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-Mark Troselj, VP and Managing Director of Asia Pacific and Japan at NetSuite

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