Are You Getting the Support You Deserve from Your Partners?
Whether you’re a sole entrepreneur or part of a larger corporation, success is much easier with a strong network of partners who can complement your skills and abilities. In addition to their own investment of time, risk and effort, small-business owners typically rely on a select few suppliers and consultants to get them over the top. These companies or individuals often bring unique capabilities or supply the specialized resources needed to make the business successful.
That symbiotic relationship is even more important in the IT channel, where the expertise of a few individuals can be multiplied exponentially with the right business team and the complementary partners in place. That support network often includes peer solution providers, vendors, distributors and industry-related business consultants, each offering a vital piece of the product/service portfolio or filling an essential organizational need.
That interdependent relationship can be quite complicated, but often leads to additional opportunities for solution providers. That’s what happened to Untangled Solutions’ co-founders Chris Johnson and Joshua Smith. They launched their company several years ago, providing a variety of IT services to small businesses in the Los Angeles area. In 2009, after identifying a strong solution and support need in the healthcare market, they decided a change in organizational strategy was warranted. Over the past three years, they transitioned Untangled Solutions into a world-class technology provider and consultation company for small and medium healthcare institutions. The team also partners with other MSP providers who need medical practice-specific solutions to support their customers.
Leverage Your Way to Success
Untangled Solutions made a number of commitments and investments to get their healthcare IT practice off the ground, establishing a number of beneficial new relationships in the process. In addition to leveraging the resources of CompTIA and MSPU to gain the market knowledge and consultation skills it needed to be successful, the team also received valuable support from a few key vendors. Its EMR partner guided the group through the intricacies of training on its solutions and, after Untangled Solutions demonstrated its prowess with a real healthcare implementation, feed the company great prospects. “These aren’t just warm leads, but true call requests for a specific doctor who needs a practice survey,” says Johnson.
While specialty market vendors often are more capable of providing prospect opportunities, general channel suppliers also offer a number of support programs for their partners. Resources vary between vendors and, while some may not apply as well as you’d like for your business, many are customizable to specific vertical markets and customers.
The most common vendor programs help their partners address key business operations to grow their business, including:
For Untangled Solutions, “The biggest things a vendor can do are to help partners and their customers address explicit and sometimes confusing industry compliance needs. Walking solution providers through the implementation of a solution to meet the specific legislative or organizational requirements is extremely helpful,” adds Johnson. Thanks to that support and a tremendous effort by their employees, the founders expect a 30 percent to 50 percent growth in their business this year. Their ability to address HIPAA and affordable care issues are critical to that success, so vendors that offer their partners compliance-related support and marketing collateral are especially appreciated.
By hosting collaborative webinars and providing information on compliance and best practices, vendors become more than suppliers. They are partners in your success. Do you have that type of engagement with your vendors?
Ted Roller is VP of channel development Intronis, the cloud backup specialist. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual platinum sponsorship program. Read the archived Intronis guest blogs here.