Reseller's report card: Training beats junkets

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This article appeared in the January/February 2015 issue of CRN magazine.

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Reseller's report card: Training beats junkets
Tristan Warner

Suppliers like to think that a jolly junket in some place warm or an extra few points on a deal will bring the resellers rolling in. But in Tristan Warner’s world, such incentives are out of place. “A lot of vendor programs speak about incentives; I find that has no bearing on me selling their products let alone a lot of their products.”

Warner is chief technology officer for eNerds, a managed services provider in North Sydney that counts Dell and Fortinet among its vendor suppliers.

“We’re not a box shifter, getting something and flogging it for five points margin. We focus on relationships and solution sales tailored to what our client needs.”

Although eNerds is still keen “to charge an appropriate amount” for its managed services and project management, Warner said vendor financial incentives “won’t change the volume of services I sell”.

Instead, Warner advises suppliers to focus on relevant training. “It’s probably the biggest requirement for me in a partner program.

“A lot of the vendors we partner with are pretty good with training [but] not a lot have caught on to the fact that training is highly valued, or perhaps we’re in a minority where we value training. We highly value complementary training or discounts, or when the vendor goes the extra mile and sends someone out.” 

Warner can’t remember too many times that vendors have offered to come on to eNerds premises and train staff apart from “a vague recollection of Symantec coming out to give one-on-one training”. But Kaseya, one of its cornerstone vendors, is presenting a half-day workshop on its new suite this month.

“The problem with the likes of Symantec and a lot of other products is their staff and product changes a lot because they’re so big. I could have guys out on training every day and would we be any better as a business? Probably not.”

Warner advises resellers to overcome their fear of speaking up at times when that’s what’s needed. “A lot of times I’ve escalated things, especially when vendor staff have bad attitudes.” That also means asking for marketing budget and collateral.

“Vendors have budget. Ask them to come and stand on your stand at a show, or provide co-branded brochures. You won’t get what you don’t ask for.”



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