The Sandler Partner community is growing, welcoming established channel veterans looking for a home that puts their needs first, new-to-the-industry salespeople who need more resources, assistance, and overall support, and many who fall somewhere in between. In this recent panel, members of the Sandler Partners leadership team discussed industry best practices including ways to help Partners build and maintain a strong position working with Providers and advocate/negotiate for customers while optimizing revenue.
This panel represented a cross-section of the nation, East to West with Mark Phaneuf, Senior Vice President, Channel – East; Ryan Yakos, Senior Vice President, Channel – Midwest; Paul Seeley, Senior Vice President, Channel; and Caleb Tucker, Senior Vice President, Channel – West & Deep South joining Justin Marano, Chief Revenue Officer, Channel; and Gerry Davis, Senior Vice President, Sales Engineering.
“Get to know your sales team,” starts Caleb, “they’ll reach out – take that call, respond to that email (or text). They will be your greatest advocate. They’re there to support you. They want to win together. Take advantage of the (Sales) Engineers. We have a lot of local events that you guys will be invited to, be a part of those, they’re great chances to get to know us, the Providers, and the solutions we have.”
Quick Tip: Sit on the client’s side, at the end of the day, you’re part of their team.
“Get to know the suppliers,” continues Ryan, “I talk often about how suppliers need resources in the local market and will work with you closely. Suppliers and your Channel Manager will help you build your business very rapidly. They’ll also help you find low-hanging fruit – products like aggregation, wireless, easy entry (points) into business conversations with IT Directors (and) CFOs; it’s all about building the momentum.”
Quick tip: There’s a right time to bring in the direct team, go to your Channel support team first
“For newer Partners, first and foremost, have fun with it,” adds Gerry, “plug into the ecosystem, go to local events and activities. I read a stat that you’re 4 times as likely to generate the revenue you’re looking at by going to some education events, not only what Sandler can provide, but the actual suppliers. Plug into the ecosystem of Sandler Partners as a whole, you as a group have a tremendous brain trust between each other, learn from those others, they have a great wealth of knowledge! Also, plug into the resources, you don’t need to understand everything, if you’re unsure bring an engineer with you. They’re going to wear your badge. They’ll be your engineer for the day. They can help you go from one opportunity to two or three!”
Quick tip: Always offer multiple options, otherwise someone is going to take that deal from you
“Most people’s natural first step is to get to know every Provider in the Portfolio (over 200),” states Paul, “I’m of the opposite (mindset). As a new Partner go through your contact list and tackle your top ten closest contacts. Maybe look at the technology everyone isn’t selling. People are going to the first natural opportunities – Network, SD-WAN – but I think aligning yourself with your local resources, your local sales team, especially your local engineer, have a conversation (them) and bounce ideas around and attack your top 10 personal relationships first.
The Solutions and Providers Partners Want – that’s the #1 Criteria for expanding the Portfolio
“Partners want to dive into the (Sandler) Portal and learn all this technology,” continues Mark, “without a good opportunity, without a network, you don’t need a solution. Spend your time marketing, networking, just having those general business conversations with clients that help you generate opportunities, and we’ll help you from there.”
Quick Tip: Let the Provider know the added value you’re bringing to the engagement
“Be yourself,” concludes Justin. “at the end of the day like-minded people tend to gravitate towards one another. Focus on your backyard, you’re going to have synergies, who likes the same pizzeria, whose kids go or went to the same school. Try to find synergies outside of the business realm, because that’s where we’ve seen partnerships get taken to the next level. We’re always here to answer any questions, leverage us as a sounding board.”
That’s just a small sample of what was discussed. Over the rest of the presentation, the panel conversed about the Portfolio (including the vetting process), and how to best use it (with the help of your support team). They also provided some strong thoughts on how to build your relationships, set expectations, and explore opportunities with Providers in a fruitful way. For more detail, fully explored tips, and other useful business-building insights watch the complete conversation, via the session recording.