In our travels we are often talking to VARs about what they’re focused on and how they want to engage their end customers. What we often hear is the following:
We want to sell more solutions. We want our sales team positioning solutions and our capability to architect, build and manage them.
We want our sales people engaging the business users and executive more often. We are to transactional with our customers and we want to operate at a more strategic and senior level.
It is difficult for a Vendor to help with this because often their technology is only a component of the complete solution. Take a private cloud solution for example; it will obviously involve server infrastructure, virtualization, security, data protection, networking and management. However, if you are a Vendor that sells switching, firewalls, virtualization software, cloud infrastructure or power, you are a component of this complete solution. So how do you help the VAR sell a solution in this scenario?
Quite often you can’t help because your team is not an expert in the end to end solution build! What you should invest in and focus on is helping them recognize the use case where you fit in. You enable them with the sales conversations that assist them to encourage the prospect to think of your technology when building a complete solution.
To do this you need to enable them to have these conversations in the qualification stage of the buyer’s journey. What questions do you need to ask of a prospect about their complete solution build that will lead to your solution being sold in that complete solution?
Enabling effective DISCOVERY CONVERSATIONS is the key. A discovery conversation is all about:
Understanding business strategy, priorities and challenges (Company Objectives and Strategy)
Understanding the Information Technology team’s objectives, priorities and challenges (ITS Objectives and Strategy)
Vendor strategies in the solution stack (For Alignment Purposes)
Listening for triggers as to where and how you might attach your solutions to the overall solution strategy.
WHAT ARE YOUR DISCOVERY TALK TRACKS AND HOW DO YOUR PARTNER SELLERS USE THEM? ARE THEY ABLE TO LISTEN, PROBE AND IDENTIFY THE USE CASES WHERE YOUR PRODUCTS CAN AND SHOULD INTEGRATE INTO A COMPLETE SOLUTION?
Vendors tend to only help their Partners talk about their specific products. If you have invested in Alliances, it is important to provide your Channel Partners with relevant use cases that support a complete solution. More importantly, the conversation your Channel Partners are having with their end customers need to occur within the context of the prospect’s business and IT objectives.