CEOs ask us, “How can I add more resellers AND increase the units sold per reseller at the same time?” We get that question a lot. We’ve solved it dozens of times over the past 12 years using a very simple approach we call “Seed and Feed”. It means we “seed” new resellers and “feed” existing ones with new sales opportunities using a simple and proven approach.
Expanding Market Share
CEOs know that leveraging resellers is the key to increased market share. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can’t scale without a substantial number of good reseller partners to support their sales and marketing efforts. That’s why the early go-to-market playbook includes developing a strong reseller network with good coverage.
With the initial reseller network in place, the focus then shifts to driving sales while continuing to increase coverage. The problem is that while resellers are critical for fulfilling and servicing demand, they don’t always generate it. It’s not necessarily the reseller’s fault. It has more to do with how buyer behavior has changed. We now live in a self-service world where buyers can find most of the information they need by searching or going directly to the Manufacturer’s website, bypassing resellers.
The Key to Scaling Reseller Partners is CUSTOMERS, lots of CUSTOMERS
Since most future buyers do their research using the OEM’s website, it provides the perfect opportunity to engage a steady stream of new prospects before they’ve made a decision. Getting early access to a future buyer means your sales team and resellers will have the inside track to convey value and shape the buyer’s requirements before your competition. This results in a higher chance to win the business with less discounting, something your resellers will appreciate.
Let’s say a potential customer wants to buy a new piece of IT equipment:
- They do some basic research and have narrowed it down to 4-5 vendors.
- They land on your website and see a Self-Service Pricing option (EchoQuote tool)
- They’re curious about pricing and request it using EchoQuote
- EchoQuote sends the request to the Sales rep for his area
- The Rep responds and begins shaping the requirements
- The Rep then engages a new (seed) or existing (feed) dealer to hand off the opportunity
Figure 1 – OEMs capture prospects, shape requirements and then Seed or Feed dealers
The beauty of this process is that it surfaces 4 main categories of interested prospects:
- new customers
- existing customers that want more gear
- new (potential) resellers
- existing resellers with new deals.
This simple process has been proven to generate tens of millions of dollars in sales pipeline per month. One such company, SimpliVity (specializes in high-end commercial equipment in the $50K-$500K range), generated $28M per month on average and grew their dealer base from 50 to 300+ in 2 years.
In today’s self-service environment, IT vendors are turning to a more direct approach to channel building. As buyers resist and ignore reseller marketing efforts, smart Manufacturers are driving their own lead generation/capture process. Focusing on creating demand, strong website offer(s) and a formal hand-off process for new/existing resellers can help any manufacturer build a successful and profitable partner channel while significantly increasing its market share.