Reseller's Report Card: Vendors must engage early and often

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This article appeared in the October 2014 issue of CRN magazine.

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Reseller's Report Card: Vendors must engage early and often
Deni Saupin, Matrix CNI

As a solutions provider versed in networking technologies ranging across converged infrastructure, campus LANs, wireless, mobility and security, Matrix CNI has to keep up with a fair amount of certification to earn its seat in a deal.

The Macquarie Park, NSW-based specialist network integrator maintains certifications across its vendors including converged infrastructure heavyweights Cisco and HP as well as wireless provider Aruba, ShoreTel unified communications, Juniper networking and security vendors Palo Alto Networks and F5.

Keeping current with so many vendor programs while managing staff movements keeps Matrix CNI managing director Deni Saupin on his toes. All he asks is vendors be reasonable in their demands on solutions providers.

“The best-practice approach is the vendor programs that reward and remunerate partners who make substantial investments in skilling up sales and technical staff,” Saupin says. “You would hope that vendors provide free training from time to time, free or discounted certification exams and fair rebates for the substantial investment we have made.”

While vendors should cut some slack for resellers making honest attempts to stay current with technology, vendors should also be wary of those with no interest in skilling up, he says.

“It is not good practice to have a program that allows certified and uncertified resellers to compete for the same business at an even keel,” he says. 

Suppliers need to listen more to their channel partners, he says. Those engaging often and deeply with resellers will earn his respect – and his customers’ business. This includes collaborating on end-user opportunities, timely product updates and “proactively improving their rebate programs and deal-registration processes in consultation with the channel”.

Saupin has noted bias creeping into some programs and he’s not impressed. “Resellers claiming to have assisted clients when they haven’t should not be provided preferential status. It doesn’t help resellers who have invested with the vendor and it doesn’t help the customer, our main focus.”

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