Your degree of success with a reseller is highly dependent on whether the reseller views your product as “strategic” or just another product in their portfolio of products.
The reality is, most resellers like to carry a large portfolio of products, just in case someone should ask for a product with specific functionality.
As a portfolio product you are viewed as “nice to have.” Sales tend to be reactive and you find yourself providing leads, participating in the sales process and providing more technical support than you had expected.
If you are less than 1 percent of a reseller’s revenues, even if that might be a few hundred thousand dollars, you are expendable. If the reseller’s business model changes, the salesperson leaves or the economy slows down, there is a good chance they either drop your product or let it become a portfolio product.
Most resellers build their business on the strength of two or three strategic products which may generate 80-to-90 percent of their revenues. This means that all of the internal processes are focused on these products – sales, marketing, tech support, order processing.
If you are viewed as a strategic partner you should expect the reseller to have someone dedicated, or at least designated to sell your product – one person who gets to know your product well enough to sell it on their own. The preference is to have a full-time salesperson working on your product, but that is a big investment for many partners and you may start off with one-half of a resource.
The partner should submit a marketing plan, which is a key document in showing a partner’s commitment. It spells out the monthly marketing initiatives they will be launching in order to build a pipeline for your product.
Finally, you want to be a meaningful part of their business. If you can become 10-to-15 percent of their revenues, including the services and other pull-through revenue that your product generates, you will become part of their survival toolkit.