Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog 2: Channel Loyalty and the Software Defined Datacenter

I often tell my adult kids that I owe my career to Moore’s law, and they roll their eyes.  But it’s true, with every advance in silicon, the number of solutions that became economically viable increase, and my value as a marketeer continues.  However, it is a two-edged sword: every advance has made high margin, proprietary hardware, so cherished by resellers, easier to replace with commodity systems. 

And so we arrive at the software defined datacenter.  All of the infrastructure elements are now based on low-margin commodity hardware.  Where do the margins come from that bind a channel partner to a hardware vendor?

Many of my clients sell such hardware, whether it is to resellers or service providers.  My clients want to engage their partners to sell these products, or commit to deploying very large volumes.  We often must remind them that from the channel point of view, the hardware is simply a low-margin pivot point on which to sell high margin services.   So driving channel services must be a key element of the hardware vendor value proposition.  Services drag becomes a core part of the channel partner “What’s in it for me?” conversation.   It is very different conversation than with direct sales.

This is where a channel-collaborative sales model, along with a tool such as, can really make a difference.  Through working closely with channel partners in a shared selling model, vendors can guage and track how services factor into deals.  If, as part of this process, vendors can help partners suggest additional services, based on product capabilities, it enriches the sale and the teaming relationship.  

By documenting incremental partner services, tools such as show that specific products drive channel margins.  It adds a level of differentiation in a commodity marketplace.  Things like sales collaboration, deal process analytics, and “whole deal” revenue tracking make the value more obvious.   And that grows vendor mind and wallet share, which is the whole point.

These ideas are part of every coaching or content development project we take on.   I think it is why folks come back to us, and channel partners are happy to see us.

Director, Solution Marketing
Porter Consulting

+1 408 394 7122


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