Business Models Matter

On a call yesterday, a channel exec said that there are just Partners and how they consume services, not MSP or VAR or Agent. This is precisely the type of thinking that has caused so many problems for vendors.

There needs to be alignment between the partner and the vendor. Do they sell to the same target customer? Oh, I forgot, the target is EVERYONE. (Which really means the vendor is just screaming at the wind and is talking to no one in particular.)

PBX vendors know that the partner type matters. The inter-connect has not embraced cloud. Many are still riding out hardware solutions into the sunset. So, yes, business models matter.

The idea that sales people can sell anything to anyone is a myth. Sales people are a type. Farmer, hunter, whale hunter, transactional. All of this matters. The Farmer will not do well in an SDR mode. The Hunter does not farm since he is motivated to hunt and close business.

Some types cannot and will not do follow up, so it better be a transaction.

Some types can’t sell to an org; they can only sell to a business owner. They will be most comfortable selling into SMB under 75 employees. Is that your target? Is that where you want to be?

More than 80% of MSPs have less than $2M in revenue and 10 employees. How many of those employees are in a sales role? Probably 1. How will they add your product to their portfolio? They mainly want to white label services. Does that fit your GTM strategy?

VARs have a keen eye on their status with their vendor – Cisco, Microsoft, HP, Dell, Juniper. Why? Discounts and support are attached to their partner level. They are going to put selling their main vendor first – all else will be sold only if the customer asks for it specifically. Is that how you want to go to market? Is that where you want to spend your effort and MDF?

ISVs are partners too, but they do systems integration work and other software development or migration work. They won’t be slinging circuits or UCaaS.

The Partner model and type do matter.


You wouldn’t (well, some of you would) hire a farmer for a hunter role or a whale hunter to sell POTS replacement. It won’t work out. Why? Motivation. Sales is the hardest job in any org. Internal motivation is key to success. It is the key to keep grinding it out. If the sales person is transactional, they are motivated by getting ink daily or weekly. Without that happening, they lose motivation, confidence, burn out.

A whale hunter likes the long game. Likes the pressure of a 15 minute meeting to pitching Boeing planes to JetBlue once every 3 years. Not everyone will do well in that role.

Partner types matter because they sell to different sectors of the marketplace. they go to market differently. They sell (or maybe they do not even sell) differently. They may or may not have the ability to align your product with their portfolio.

So in fact partner business models and types do in fact matter to success.

Despite the numbers of the 9000 to 21,000 partners that are thrown around, the actual number of active selling partners is a lot less. And the real number of selling partners who will actively sell your product is even less than that. Align accordingly. Have a good day. BTW, I wrote a whole book on this.

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