For MSPs, choosing a technology vendor can be an arduous task. Vendor relationships trickle down to customer relationships, which can directly impact revenue stream. They can quite literally determine a business’s success. Deciding with whom to partner isn’t a decision successful IT service professionals take lightly, and if you’re just starting out you might be asking, “But where do I begin?” To help you get started vetting vendors, make sure and ask the following questions.
1. What Are My Customer Needs?
First and foremost, you need to consider the needs of clients. For example, why partner with a top of the line security vendor if your customers don’t have highly sensitive security needs? Or, let’s say your target audience has networking needs. You can attend industry events, join user forums, and attend networking-focused events to learn about vendors your peers are using. Even better? Chat with the vendors themselves.
From there you can compare solutions based on a number of factors. Some MSPs prefer solutions that are “out-of-the-box” and require less tinkering on their end. Others prefer a vendor with award-winning, always-on technical support so they can deliver a better experience to their end users no matter when disaster strikes. Then there are MSPs who want all of that, and more. What it comes down to is, which option will benefit your clients the most?
2. What Are The Expectations of the Partnership?
Setting expectations for the MSP/vendor relationship at the onset will save you a lot of miscommunication down the road. Make sure the company to which you choose to partner clearly outlines their responsibilities to your business. What does their partner program offer you? Is their training or sales support available at all partner levels? How will their product roadmap help you maintain business growth? Getting answers to these questions in the beginning will lead to a more streamlined relationship.
As the MSP, it’s also important to outline what your responsibilities in the relationship will be. For example, if you have an in-house marketing team, you might not want to utilize the vendor’s marketing tools/strategies. Instead, you may need more assistance with technical support. As a result, your vendor will have a better idea of how to tailor the partner experience to fit those needs.
3. How Does Their Partner Program Benefit Me?
Partner programs vary, but you’ll find that the best partner programs incentivize you to grow your business over time. They do so by offering rewards to MSPs who reach new benchmarks. For example, if your vendor offers technical certifications and you in turn become certified, this should result in discounts, additional leads, or co-marketing perks. After all, if you’re taking the time to learn (and sell!) your vendor’s technology offering, they’ll want their best partners to become advocates for them in field when acquiring new business. This is called the requirement or reward-based structure.
You’ll likely interact with your chosen technology vendor everyday, so spend the time it takes to ensure the relationship will be a positive one that pushes you to new levels of success. A partner program that drives your growth, will also benefit your vendor’s growth, so a vendor with a “win-win” mentality is your best bet for long-term success.
For more tips on choosing the right technology vendor for your business, check out the eBook, ‘Vendor Relationships Made MSPeasy’.