Starting the Journey to Work with Sales Channel Partners

August 18, 2021

Today, Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) and similar lead generation positions are in high demand. From a quick look at some of the recent job descriptions posted on LinkedIn, technology vendors here in Israel are increasingly hiring staff to generate and qualify new leads to support their direct sales activities. 

For a large technology vendor with a strong, global brand and an established local presence in targeted regions, lead generation initiatives as a starting point for creating new opportunities for a company’s direct sales pipeline can be successful.

However, for most technology vendors based in Israel, our opinion is that strategically engaging local sales channel partners to penetrate new markets and expand sales is a better go-to-market strategy then trying to sell directly to end users. This is especially true for Israeli technology vendors that are looking to take their initial or next steps towards international expansion.

By selling indirectly, a technology vendor can significantly expand its sales footprint and leverage the market positions of its sales channel partners in their local markets to access new sales opportunities that were otherwise beyond the company’s reach.

A Much Different Journey

Engaging a new sales channel partner is a much different journey than interacting with a potential end user customer. We find that most young Israeli managers, in particular those at earlier stage technology vendors, mistakenly assume that during initial conversations with a potential sales channel partner that they should focus on product features and give a detailed demonstration as if they are speaking to an end user customer.

However, sales channel partners are more interested at the start of an engagement with a potential technology vendor partner to discuss the market opportunities and business framework for working together.

With this in mind, below are some of the recommendations we always share with our technology vendor clients for the initial steps in interacting with the sales channel partners in our network.

Talk Business

During your initial conversations with our sales channel partners, you will likely be speaking with the Managing Director or Director of Business Development who is responsible for the company’s relationships with new vendor partners. These are business people and they will want to quickly understand how their company can generate revenue from working with your company.

They will be very much interested to hear about your company’s pricing models and transfer price policy as well as understand which professional services, like training, deployment and support, they can generate additional revenue from on top of the sales of your products to their customers. Your company’s policy towards proof-of-concept (PoC) trials will also be important to discuss. 

Promote Innovation, Competitive Advantages and Recent Achievements

To be honest, our sales channel partners will not have the time or patience for long presentations or demonstration during initial interactions. Instead, you should focus on highlighting your company’s innovations and competitive advantages. For instance, if your company recently moved its products to the Cloud or now offers AI-driven capabilities that your competitions do not have or has a new customer success story, these and similar advantages will be very important to highlight.

The benefits of these innovations and differentiators along with the above business information will enable our sales channel partner to better understand how to address the opportunities in its market for your company and start to think about which of its customers it can initially approach about your company’s products and technologies.

Save Long Presentations and Product Demos for Later in the Process

If your company passes these initial business hurdles and our sales channel partner understands that it can do good business selling your company’s solutions, the sales channel partner will then refer you to its technical team to conduct due diligence on your company’s products and technologies.

At this stage, it will be appropriate for you to give detailed demonstrations of your products, although this will be much later in the journey. Our point here is that your initial presentations to our sales channel partners should be short and to the point with no more than ten to fifteen slides.

Emphasize Support

Support is always an issue that our sales channel partners ask our technology vendor clients about during initial conversations. The issue of ongoing support for their companies as well as their customers is as important as the above business information.

Our sales channel partners will want to know how your company will provide training and strategic consultation to their teams, ongoing support for their sales efforts and, most importantly, support for their customers. From our experience, a full package of knowledge transfer, strategic consultation and ongoing customer support is the key to a successful business relationship with our sales channel partners. 

Deal Correctly with the Realities of Zoom

Our sales channel partners know that we Israelis have a more casual approach to doing business and are aware that many of us are currently working from home. Despite this, the initial meetings over Zoom should be taken seriously and you should prepare for these meetings if you were traveling to meet our sales channel partner in person. These initial Zoom sessions with our sales channel partners should not be approached as informal chats in the hallway.

Despite the Zoom fatigue that many of us are experiencing, remember that you will only get one chance to make a good first impression. Another point to remember is that since you cannot see the body language of all the participants in a Zoom meeting, it is important to share screen time with everyone and involve each participant in the conversation.

Get Ready to Travel

Once the current travel restrictions are eased, our sales channel partners will expect that you and others from your team will travel for meetings in their offices. There is only so much that can be accomplished over Zoom and nothing replaces in-person interactions for building successful relationships.

Traveling for onsite meetings will demonstrate your commitment for working with our sales channel partners, will allow for better interpersonal bonding and will lead to more effective outcomes for the next steps in the journey towards achieving new sales.

What Our Sales Channel Partners are Looking for Today

At Noteya, we have a wide network of sales channel partners that includes agents, value added resellers (VARs), system integrators (SIs) and managed service providers (MSPs) around the world. Over the past number of years, we have been focusing with good success on Southeast Asia and East Africa and, most recently, South Asia (not India), West Africa and southern Africa.

Many of our sales channel partners in these regions are activity looking for products and technologies that can be hosted in the Cloud and offered as value added services (VAS) as well as no/low code platforms that can be used to self-develop Cloud-based enterprise applications. 

If your company offers solutions in this direction or has new innovations that it wants to bring to market in the regions we work in, we highly encourage you to get in contact with us.

To learn about our network of sales channel partners and discuss how we can introduce your company’s products and technologies to the agents, VARs, SIs and MSPs we work with around the world, please contact us through the short form below. 

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