Research shows that three-quarters of partners are concerned about conflict when selling products and services. Therefore, establishing trust is vital to creating a loyal and profitable vendor-partner relationship. For vendors this means reducing or eliminating channel conflict between a vendor’s direct sales team and its partners. Along with ensuring that the deal registration program plays by an established set of rules.
This is because without deal registration, vendor rules of engagement can fall by the wayside – along with partner trust. So how can deal registration help build partner trust and loyalty? It was a question posed to Scott Goree, VP Global Partners & Alliances at Skyhigh Security on a recent Channel Mechanics webinar, ‘Winning Partner Mindshare with the Right Deal Registration Program‘.
“If [a partner] brings you an opportunity, they’re going to need that time to know that they’re trusted, that another competitor is not going to come in and swoop in on their deal. That you’re going to protect them vigorously with deal protection,” he explained.
Moreover, the vendor needs to provide the partner not only with a period of exclusivity, but a pricing advantage. Whether that be in the form of a a discount advantage or a price protection. “That partner is going to have an advantage over a secondary partner coming in and competing for that opportunity,” said Goree.
Deal registration is also important for driving channel autonomy. “Many of us want partners to come in, hunt opportunities, do the pre-sales activity, close the deal, and be an extension of our workforce. But they won’t do any of that unless they feel protected in the opportunity,” he said.
Establishing Rules of Engagement
But a word of warning! As a vendor, you only need to break a deal registration commitment once to lose trust with a partner. Therefore, Goree’s says vendors must lay down their rules of engagement – and live by them.
“We’re always going to have the issue where the customer wants to switch partners, and as long as you’re open and honest and show it in your rules of engagement, you’re able to mitigate those things. The one thing that I say about channel conflict is this. You’re either a direct company, or you’re a channel company. There’s no grey area in this. You have to be very true to your channel partners and really show this is how you’re going to handle those conflicts upfront”.
So, what does that protection mean in practical terms? Goree noted that for those in the SaaS market, that means protecting not only the original deal registration but the incumbency on the renewal.
On that point, it is important to note that the channel continues to evolve at a rapid pace. In the past, a relatively simple route to market might have been via distribution to reseller to customer. This made it easier to provide protection to partners. Now, the channel comprises many different types of partners with many diverse business models. This might include Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Solution Integrators (SIs) or Influencer partners. All of whom may source an opportunity, but are not actually involved in the transaction. As such, it is essential that your deal registration program evolves alongside the channel.
Securing Partner Mindshare
Today, channel partners are surrounded by choice when it comes to vendor selection. Indeed, research by IT trade association CompTIA shows that 40 percent of partners expanded the number of vendor programs they joined in 2022.
“Increased reliance on services dollars for revenue and profit, the desire to align with vendors of newer technologies, and the general shift to the cloud and a subscription, as-a-service business model has jolted many partners out of the complacency of working with the same mix of vendors without diligent evaluation and assessment,” it noted.
Trust is critical to retaining those partners in this increasingly competitive, and complex, market. For successful vendors, Deal registration is an enabler of partner trust and loyalty. Thereby helping to demonstrate that the vendor is invested in the success of the partner’s business, as much as their own.
Is Deal Reg on your radar for 2023? If so, schedule a demo today to transform your channel tomorrow