I was recently on a call with a potential customer. After a long conversation and product demonstration, his last question was “Why should I buy from you guys when I can buy direct from the manufacturer?” It struck me that there really is an important distinction between the customer experience working with a large manufacturer versus a partner reseller.
In my 22 years of experience working at CPI, I have discovered countless reasons why choosing a good partner to work with is advantageous – saving the client time, money and headache.
Here are the top 3 reasons to work with a partner plus two instances when working with a manufacturer might be right for you.
Characteristics of a Partner and Manufacturer
|Product knowledge and experience||☑||☑|
|Certified technical resources||☑||☑|
|Technical resources that act as an extension of your staff||☑|
|Business/consulting resources that act as an extension of your staff||☑|
|Smaller support team that is highly familiar with your environment||☑|
|High degree of continuity between, pre-sales, sales, implementation, development and support teams||☑|
|Large (potentially global) support team that supports large numbers of customers||☑|
|Large sales, implementation and support teams with distinct divisions between them||☑|
|Clear escalation paths to known individuals||☑|
|Escalations via procedures and policies in large departments
(rules of engagement)
|Ability to quickly discover, quote, schedule and implement new projects.||☑|
|Access to manufacturer development staff via professional services engagements||☑||☑|
|Large independent professional services department aligned to perform discrete statements of work.||☑|
What should you do?
Top three reasons to work with a partner:
1. You want to work with an entity built to be an extension of your staff. This is a key attribute of a true partnership (after all supporting customers is all partners do). Manufactures are typically too large to accomplish this through all the red tape between departments with differing goals (Sales, R&D, Professional Services, and Ongoing Support). If your company wants to work with an organization that is familiar with your business, understands your goals and knows how to make technology work for you in an ongoing manner, working side by side with a qualified partner is the correct choice.
2. You want an advocate with the manufacturer for your business. An experienced partner has spent years making relationships and learning how to navigate the various channels within a manufacturer. A partner can bring this to bear for you to avoid spending the effort to learn all of that yourself.
3. You want a business relationship that is in it for the long haul. A successful partner model is built on long-term relationships with customers. If you truly want a “partner” to work with instead of just another vendor, the choice is clear.
Two reasons to work with a manufacturer:
1. Your organization is willing to invest in a fully trained technical support staff that can handle all support and ongoing configuration needs and only engage the manufacturer when product defects are encountered.
2. The partner you are investigating lacks the depth of experience to completely support your business. Every partner has varying degrees of experience. Before making a decision make sure to do your due diligence in evaluating their experience. A qualified partner should be able to provide customer testimonials and references as well as descriptions of their staff’s experience.
I hope you have found this information helpful. If you’d like to know more about working with a partner, feel free to give CPI a shout. We would love to help your organization. We have been a partner for large software and hardware manufacturers since we were founded in 1983.
Thanks for reading!