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Relayware Chief Product Officer Speaks at ChannelCon16 Part 2

CompTIA ChannelCon panel discussion on the value of the vendors' brand.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Relayware Chief Product Officer Speaks at ChannelCon16

Part 2: The Value of Vendors' Brands in Today's Channel Partner Programs

Posted on August 4, 2016

Yesterday, we covered the first part of the discussion at CompTIA’s ChannelCon around What Keeps Vendors Up at Night” regarding their channel partner program.

Here’s a short, little video of Veronica up on stage: http://www.relayware.com/ChannelCon-Video

Today’s blog post will focus on the panelists discussion of the value of vendors’ brand.

As previously mentioned, much of the conversation was about non-traditional partners, and as the conversation turned the value of brand, the moderator suggested that perhaps many solution providers make their money on consulting, and lead with their own brand. Does this mean that the vendor’s brands are no longer relevant? /p>

“It depends on the product,” Relayware Chief Product Officer Veronica Brunwin said. “We work with vendors that white label their products. In some areas the brand still leads. Vendors have to be clear on the sell models. I was working with a California-based company focusing on IOT. They are working with device design consultants, and putting together a channel program for these consultants. Rebates don’t work for these guys. It’s all about education and collaboration. This program for these consultants will run in parallel to their traditional channel partner program.”

“It also depends on the customer set. The brand still matters to high-end customers where the brand matters. The solution providers call on tertiary markets. That solution provider is the outsourced IT department for those customers, and the vendor brand doesn’t matter. It’s the solution provider that matters to the end customer. So, it depends on your customer set and who you are selling to,” added Frank Vitagliano, Dell SVP North American Channels.

President of CrushBank Evan Leonard, furthered explained that from a networking perspective, people don’t call up and ask “Do you have NetApp, Intel, Broadcom or whomever sever?” So, again it also depends on the product type.

When the question turned directly to the value of the vendors’ brand, the panelists were mixed. Cisco cares a lot about the end-customer and measuring their awareness and sentiment. For Frank, he said that brand matters, but it matters the most to the solution provider.

“Fifty to 75% of a solution providers’ business is repeat customers. They are the trusted advisory, the trusted supplier. If that’s the model; they are the brand; it’s their customer. And I don’t think that will change. And as the technology gets more complicated, these small businesses will continue rely on a trusted advisor. Every solution provider has 2 to 3 vendors in each category, so brand matters to these guys.”

He also pointed out, “The way you build brand is with quality products, long, consistent level of performance. That sill matters. That will always matter. Vendor brand matters to the end customer as well.”

Relayware’s Marketing Pack enables vendors to market TO channel partners. Sometimes marketers and executives have blinders on and only think about marketing to the end-customer, or what is known as “through partner marketing,” and while that is important, one cannot bypass marketing TO partners, so that you stay top of mind as the partners are recommending solutions to customers. And all of the panelists agreed with this priority.

Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up this panel summary with one last post from this very rich conversation.