The relationship between a vendor and its reseller is a lot like a marriage. Understanding each others business, what’s important and how to get the best results out of both worlds is something that requires constant review and communication. Reseller councils aren’t something new, but are becoming far more common than what they were five years ago.
Vendors and resellers are recognising the value in being able to point out what is and isn’t working from both sides of the picket fence. At the second Adobe reseller council, held in July (first one was in November last year), it was likened to an interactive forum for resellers with discussion topics and breakout sessions. It had 11 of its top partners show up and talk about what they want out of their relationship.
“We wanted to make sure it was less about us presenting to them, but more about making it an interactive forum for feedback so we can implement the changes that we needed to do if anything major came out of it,” A/NZ channel sales manager, Craig McGregor, said.
“We only see the Adobe view of the world, but the partners obviously work with other major vendors. There were some great ideas from other vendors that came out that we would now take as an opportunity to tweak a few things.”
Managing director of software reseller Simply International, Kirk Jones, said the council provides an outlet to share common types of issues.
“We all run different businesses of different sizes and it makes it interesting to share and learn from other people’s experiences,” Jones said.
Insight regional sales director, Chris Skelton, said taking action on the issues being discussed was also just as important.
“A lot of the vendors do these events, but it's good to see them being active,” Skelton said. “We got a progress report on some of the things that have happened since the first partner council held six months ago.”
The council sessions also provide insight into other people working across the same market and seeing the different things that are happening in the space, Skelton said.
During the partner council, Adobe held two breakout sessions, one concentrating on sales enablement and the other on deal registration.
Adobe’s McGregor said partners had the opportunity to choose the sessions they specifically wanted to focus on.
“It was their choice to focus on those areas and there were some really positive things that came out of it,” McGregor said. “I often find that our best sources of channel program and channel model changes are our key partners, because they're the ones that have the best experience around it.”
Skelton said from the sales enablement session, they were able to pick out what was the top of mind.
“We really want to get one or two things they can fix now so that when we get back together again in six months time, hopefully it will be set up,” he said. Simply’s Jones highlighted the best thing about the council sessions is being provided with an outlet to ask questions, respond and look into some of the current issues.
Not only do the partner council sessions offer an outlet for vendors to adjust their programs and better their relationships with partners, but the partners themselves can also adjust the way they do business with the vendor.
As Data#3 national vendor manager, George Rodgers, pointed out Adobe laying out its business and market strategy helped to recognise how it fits into their own business.
"It’s really interesting for us to know that, so we know where to invest effectively,” Rodgers said. “The alignment between Adobe and our business is very important.”
“By doing that we have this real environment where we have direct engagement to influence a better outcome for us as a community.”