Tips for Strengthening Your Relationship with Manufacturers


Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Value added resellers (VARs) are an important part of the selling equation for the channel. Through their direct, day-to-day contact with end-users, VAR representatives are the eyes and ears of the manufacturers who create the products. They are vital for the success of the manufacturers and distributors to offer an integrated solution.

Successful VARs understand that their role is critical for channel growth and use these strategies in order to achieve better profitability.

 

Get to Know Your Manufacturer’s Representatives

Most manufacturers have territory account managers; get to know the ones who are assigned to your region! They are eager to work with you too. They also have a good understanding of their market and know some of the opportunities that are out there for you.

Your distributor’s account managers are a good starting point since they can put you in touch with the right people. Like matchmakers, account managers should facilitate communications between you and their reps and create opportunities for you to connect with them. In some cases, distributors will even have a person in charge of a specific product line, often referred to as a business development manager (BDM). This person is another valuable resource who can provide interesting insights and who should be on your list of people to contact.

Attending your industry’s events is also important. Great meetings of different scales are organized throughout the year. They can be local events with a single vendor or with several vendors that are represented by the distributor. Large gatherings, which span several days and include many industry players, are also great chances to develop relationships. These meetings are where you can learn more about different solutions and business opportunities. It’s also the perfect occasion to socialize with key people from different companies in your professional ecosystem and to develop new business.

 

Work Collaboratively to Develop a Solution

Now that you know the manufacturer’s representative, why not benefit from their knowledge? Representatives are aware of many factors that may impact your business as a VAR. They have a deep understanding of their hardware’s capabilities and can provide you with great advice. Developing good synergy with representatives is essential to get a better sense of where the market is heading (i.e. upcoming technology and operating environments that end-user customers will need and request). The best solutions on the market are the fruits of collaborative work. The distributor is also very important in this process since it carries different product lines, can facilitate the logistics of bundling entire solutions and even ship it directly to the end-user.

As a bonus, based on your project and relationship with your distributor and manufacturer, you can even test a demo unit for a couple of weeks, or obtain a free seed unit for an unlimited time to thoroughly test the solution and show it to your customers.

 

Forecasting

It is a good practice to communicate accurate information to your distributor and manufacturing partners on what opportunities are in the pipeline. Efficient supply chain is critical to making sure that solutions are delivered on-time to the end-user.

As director of sales from a prominent manufacturer recently stated, “forecasting demand so that the channel is properly stocked with the right product at the time the demand hits is very valuable. It builds trust, and mitigates risk.”

 

Utilize Deal Registrations

Deal registration is another tool the reseller can use to engage the manufacturer and distributor on their behalf. This is a great way to protect your hard work. This process allows the reseller to inform the vendor about an opportunity and in return is given priority.

The reseller is then able to show the end-user that they are in control of the relationship with the manufacturer and the supply chain. Deal registrations help reduce the risk of channel conflicts. The manufacturer is more capable of managing the competition between its partners.

 

Join Partner Programs When Available

A reseller with strong product knowledge and the ability to identify solutions to complex business problems demonstrates added value and can effectively strengthen their relationship with the distributor/manufacturer.

Partner programs usually offer product training (online or in-class). Some of them have different levels of certification. These trainings take time and dedication from VARs, but they are really valuable.

Once enrolled, you will have to attain or maintain sales goal targets to keep your privileges. On the other hand, your technical skills will get better, but your bottom line will improve too! In fact, vendors will appreciate your commitment and could reward you with better discount levels!

Co-contributor: Julien Chagnon

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