The debate that tackles about vendors selling direct is an interesting one. Are you in favor that channel vendors sell direct? Or are you on the other side of the fence? Truth is, both sides provide such compelling arguments that it’s hard to make that choice. Moderator and award-winning channel sales strategist, Dede Haas, presented two sides of the coin.
Should Channel Vendors Sell Direct or Not
In this article, Dede Haas interviewed two key players of the ASCII Group. He focused on the significance of distributor relationships in the industry.
On the other hand, the two interviewees are Zina Hassel and Dave Gillam, both members of The ASCII Group. Hassel is the CEO and founder of ZLH Enterprises, a B2B woman-owned enterprise. Gillam Data Services, Inc. President, Dave Gillam leads his company in offering IT messaging security.
Here are the two salient questions raised regarding the topic and the answers from both executives:
Several vendors have their own direct sales team, which may result in channel conflict. What measures do you have if you discovered that your vendor partner calls on your customers?
According to Hassel, the company has the prerogative to have their own sales channel, whether direct or indirect. The real issue here is if that direct sales team did something unethical. One instance is entering the company’s database to access registered leads.
Know how the vendor’s direct sales team learns about your clients and their rules of engagement. Determine if they are in a work-together or sell-with scenario. Your decision may depend on a number of bases. Look into the moral fabric and personality of the vendor. You may choose to still do business with them in the future or just stop.
Gillam, on the other hand, reiterated that his company only deals with channel-only vendors. He added that their contract with vendors has a specific clause on this matter with clients. The emphasis is on not applying direct marketing to them.
He emphasized that they still make it work with the vendor, giving them their condition. However, the best solution is to look for another if the vendor is not amenable to their request. Gillam pointed out their good client relationship, which helps them with the issue. Clients contact their IT department whenever they receive any sales pitch from a vendor.
Should MSPs partner with not 100% channel vendors? What is your advice to those who are recruited by vendors with direct sales teams?
Hassel reiterated the importance of not limiting an MSP’s product set, representing just one product or company. Keep an open mind, understand the SOPs, and decide whether to deal with the company or not.
As a result, Gillam’s advice is for partners to be careful and avoid direct sales although sometimes it’s unavoidable. Nevertheless, work on your vendor relationship but do not let them access your client list. Find and choose a channel-only vendor if possible.
So, what is the stance of your firm on this important issue? Do you think channel vendors sell direct or not? Is it possible for vendors to take and play both sides?