What's a True Partner?

Solving problems. While getting paid for it.

As a tech distributor or broker, for lack of a better word, we are in an interesting position. We hear from our vendors how they want to be more involved in the end-user conversation, entrenched in strategy building, to have the ability to understand needs and pain points before a quote comes in. At TBI, we teach and enable our channel managers to assist our partners with solution-selling, serving as a consultant, a resource, knowledgeable of all our providers to source the right solutions and meet business demands and solve real business problems. 

Solving Technology Problems

The question we’re constantly working to answer is, how can we best enable our partners to be trusted advisors? Consultants that the end-user calls on time and time again for repeat business and to answer many if not all of their technology questions?  If we are only reactively processing quotes, it is easy to become a commodity. Where is the value in that? People can get pipe anywhere.

Some key tenets that aid in our channel manager training that will hopefully inspire business discussions, not just quotes.

  • Identify pain points and learn what keeps each department, involved with technology, up at night.
  • Understand influences in the buying process and the key influencers for each decision.
  • Know timelines/deadlines and parameters.
  • Identify and work to replicate successes.
  • Promote vertical expertise and case studies.
  • Ask to be involved in the planning and RFP process.
  • Bring value to the table even if it’s outside your core business. Provide developer recommendations or make introductions to resources outside your scope of work.

The winners in this space provide guidance, direction, offerings and introductions. In 5 years we will sell applications, virtualized services and lots of IT replacement services. The network will always follow us, but when we identify and audit existing technologies to replace, and find workflows to improve upon, we are all in a better position to help users buy now and in the future. Get a seat at the table in the beginning. Aspire to add more value than just offering the network.


About the Author
As Vice President of Enterprise and Vendor Relations at TBI, Ken Mercer oversees all sales and operations within the organization. Ken is also active in leveraging his extensive network services expertise to consult with TBI channel agents on large enterprise opportunities and serves on the advisory boards for many of TBI’s service providers. You can contact Ken at kmercer@tbicom.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.