Last week the topic of selling a product through resellers came up in two separate conversations with entrepreneurs. Historically, I haven’t had much success selling through third-parties but I know of plenty of other startups that have done it well. From what we’ve tried and what I’ve seen others do well, here are a few thoughts on startups selling through resellers:
- Ensure Credit Towards Quota – One of the most important things in a reseller relationship is that the sales reps of the reseller get credit towards quota. Without quota credit there’s little, if any, incentive to sell the other product. Alignment is key and it starts with credit towards quota.
- Monthly Champion Calls – The champions of the relationship in both organizations need to talk monthly about what’s going well and not going well. Too often, the reseller partnership is signed and everyone goes back to what they were doing before and nothing happens. Regular, recurring communication is key. Go head, put it on the calendar now.
- Regular Training – Products, especially technology ones, are complex and nuanced. For the sales and marketing teams of the reseller to feel comfortable selling a new product they need to be trained initially as well as on a recurring basis when new functionality comes out. Ask a sales person if confidence is an important part of selling something and they’ll all say yes. If a product isn’t well understood, the sales rep isn’t going to be as confident, and that hurts the chances of success.
Selling through resellers is tough as most of the sales and marketing is outside your control. Increase the chance of success by aligning interests through programs like quota credit as well as recurring communication and training.
What else? What are some more thoughts on selling products through resellers?