Originally published on ChannelPro Network, by Keith Lubner
As you build out and progress with your cloud practice, keep the concepts of efficiency and productivity top of mind. In particular, as your business continues to leverage the cloud, you need to align technologies that will help your company stay competitive, and that means those technologies need to be cloud based as well. The reason is simple: Cloud-based technologies are lower cost, provide quicker ROI, and increase productivity.
The following are a few key areas that both resellers and ISVs should be looking at to increase efficiency and productivity.
First, the cloud will allow companies to more easily create and market products via the cloud. Companies will undoubtedly want to market via an indirect channel as economies of scale come into play. In short, you can reach more people at lower cost, while generating higher returns. However, in order to create an environment in which you gain higher returns, you must maintain highly efficient systems, both internally and externally.
For instance, any vendor with a partner ecosystem needs to better communicate and facilitate healthy collaboration with its partners, such as better lead registration, license management, and opportunity management, to name a few. Think partner relationship management (PRM). Establishing a truly bidirectional relationship, whether you are a reseller, vendor, or both, will ratchet up your productivity. Utilizing cloud-based technology will also ratchet up your efficiency as you will be able to deploy faster, communicate quicker, and produce more. Therefore, as a reseller or a “vendor to be,” dive headfirst into cloud systems that allow the above to occur.
Second, there needs to be a better way to enable and onboard resellers. The faster resellers are enabled, the quicker they can engage customers, which means the quicker everyone can recognize revenue. Vendors often say they are “disappointed” in the speed, or lack thereof, of their partners getting fully “ramped” on their technologies. In truth, though, this responsibility of enablement rests on both the vendor and the reseller’s shoulders.
Traditionally, onboarding is perceived as the vendor’s job. The vendor needs to provide the tools, training courses, and certification opportunities to the reseller. However, the reseller needs to be proactive and take advantage of all the tools. Herein lies the industry dilemma. Both groups (vendors and resellers) need to shift from being reactive to proactive. Vendors think that if they “build it, resellers will come and take advantage.” Resellers think that the vendor cannot expect them to get up and running quickly unless the vendor works more with them. Of course, this isn’t true for all vendors/resellers—just a majority of them!
How can this be fixed? Look to the cloud! Vendors need to be constant in their enablement and resellers need to have the enablement at their fingertips. With cloud-based technology, costs are low and enablement is high. Pretty cool stuff.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road
The third leg of efficiency and productivity is where the rubber meets the road: demand generation. The entire reason for the vendor/reseller relationship is revenue, which is derived from demand-generation activities. This has always been an area of conflict because both parties expect more from each other. Vendors want resellers to do more demand-generation activities and resellers feel likewise about the vendors. Because of cost-cutting measures over the past several years, resellers have been forced to trim all areas of their businesses, including marketing. Even with a small staff, it is very difficult to adequately handle list generation, SEO, public relations, advertising, and campaigns. With the cloud, it becomes easier, especially utilizing a cloud-based platform. In essence, these systems/services aggregate all of the aforementioned marketing initiatives into one spot –making it very simple for a reseller to conduct demand generation activities on their own.
Keep these in mind as you build your cloud practice.