The partnership between original equipment manufacturers, OEMs, and channel partners is beneficial for both parties. It allows partners to offer their clients pre-certified solutions without incurring any additional cost of logistics and hardware inventory management. OEMs, on the other hand, benefit from the collaboration in terms of reduced advertising and marketing costs.
The symbiotic relationship has suffered much in the recent past. Rapid technology developments, commoditization of hardware, and the increasing popularity of cloud technology are the primary causes. They have made service delivery more complicated than it was five years ago.
Service provision in the current business world has shifted from a one-size-fits-all to customer-centered solution. Partner channels are required to develop solutions that meet the specific needs of their clients. Even more, they are expected to achieve on short notice.
OEMs can enhance the success of their channel partners in several ways:
1. Focus on one solution
As technology grows, large OEMs become more diversified in their solutions. They are offering any solution that can sell, probably because they can. However, this works against the channel partners.
Once a vendor is working in more than one solution, they can no longer guarantee innovations. Smaller vendors are more innovative than large ones because they have the storage, the network, and time to focus on a single solution. If an OEM has to diversify its services, they should have smaller segments dedicated to each solution.
Customers are won or lost on the wasting sands of the hourglass. If a channel company cannot deliver their solution within a reasonable period, the customer will opt for a more responsive competitor. OEMs can be helpful by being more responsive to their channel’s needs and inquiries.
If an OEM, for example, takes a week to respond to a quotation inquiry, the partner stands to lose. The problem is common in large OEMs that serve several channel partnerships. The OEM can improve its responsiveness by employing personnel dedicated to its different partnerships.
3. Comprehensive, Consistent Training
Consistent training on the products supplied by the vendors keeps the partners at par with the latest technology in the market. It works in contrast with the channel company if the customer knows more about the OEM’s latest technology than the channel partner does.
The training program also allows the partners to understand the objectives of the vendor and have a say on how they can work together to increase profits and efficiency. In short, it is a win-win situation for both parties.
4. Market Development Funds
MDFs are an integral part of a channel partner strategy. It shows the OEMs invest in the success of the partner’s success. Unfortunately, most vendors do not optimize their MDF programs once they are in place. The objectives are always not clear, and eligibility requirements are blurred. As a result, partners are always locked out on the development of the partnership.
The MDF program can be optimized by having a system that makes data sharing and synchronization easy. It reduces manual work and minimizes financial expenses that are involved in having to view the data from different systems.
5. Targeted Communication
It is a common practice among OEMs to dish out the same webinar to all its partners. The method barely takes into consideration the fact that some partners are new and may have different needs than those of long-term partners.
To help a channel partner succeed, they should be offered relevant and even personalized communication. The vendor’s information should be suited to meet the needs, challenges, and strengths of each partner. While this may be costly, its long-term results to the OEM make the investment worthwhile. It also goes a long way in helping partners succeed.
6. Access to Marketing Resources
The success of the OEM-channel partner agreement is pivoted on the channel’s ability to market the product. OEMs can make this a lot easier by providing their partners with relevant marketing resources, which should frequently be updated as the products and the market change.
7. Bonding Events
Channel partners need to learn from each other. The only entity that can bring them together is the OEM. Therefore, it should frequently organize events that bring the partners together such a road shows, exhibitions and training seminars.
Competition is healthy for business, but a prize makes the effort worthwhile. OEMs can enhance the success of their channel partners by rewarding their achievements. The reward systems can be based on specific activities such as closing deals or on achieving specific sales goals.
The success of a channel partner boils down to the convenience and support it receives from the OEM. The OEM should make the selling of their product easy and simple. Channel partners can achieve more by collaborating with vendors that make it easy to deliver solutions and offers ready support. The OEM should also appreciate the milestones achieved by the channel partner.