ScanSource, Intelisys Channel Partners Count the Cost of Cross-Selling

Partners agree that selling multiple lines of tech can create happier, sticker customers. But getting there is a journey.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

October 20, 2023

10 Slides

SCANSOURCE CHANNEL CONNECT- As the message of cross-selling grows more pronounced across the indirect technology sales channel, partners must take a methodical approach to adopting new products and services.

Channel Futures in the last four weeks has attended four different distributor conferences, and topic of cross-selling has cast a constant shadow. The hybrid distributor ScanSource over the years has encouraged hardware resellers to explore cloud agency-based and carrier services, and encouraged the reverse for agents. ScanSource executives at the recent Channel Connect conference said they understand that some partners may prefer to stay in their swim lane. They nevertheless affirmed the thesis that customers are interested in buying their various technologies from a single source.

“The end user is the holy grail. Ultimately those are the people with the final checkbook,” said Tony Sorrentino, president of ScanSource’s North American specialty segment. “[Partners] have to decide how how much of that checkbook they want to pursue. What are they comfortable with? They want to make sure they’re doing a good job, so they don’t want to overextend themselves. But certainly a big part of what we do is enable those folks to have those intelligent conversations and have the technical support they need behind any solution they need to build.”

Channel partners of all kinds – be they VARs, SIs, MSPs or TAs – see the importance of adding new lines of technology to expand customer wallet share and stickiness. Technology advisors in a recent survey called cross-selling and upselling their most important go-to-market enhancement. Some partners have cited cross-selling opportunities as the reason they chose to merge with each other.

However, significant challenges lie beneath those aspirations, according to recent data. Tech services distributor Avant found that 84% of its partners’ end customers only purchased one line of technology from them. Bridgepointe Technologies said its strategists on average are selling 1.25 products for every account.

Bluewave Technology chief operating officer Wayne Dietrich put the number somewhere around 1.3 for his firm. But he said he hopes that number will ultimately rise to three or four with Bluewave’s most engaged customers.

“If you do that, now you have an incredibly sticky, long term relationship,” said Dietrich, who said company now counts 7,000 customers in its base.

But Dietrich and other partner leaders noted that a cross-selling strategy must not be formed lightly. Partners described a mix of best practices they’ve done around hiring, M&A and distributor relationships in order to equip their sales teams to confidently approach customers with a wider portfolio.

“There’s a lifelong pursuit on how to figure out the adjacent sale for your customer and how to figure out the upsell/cross-sell,” Intelisys vice president of partner experience and enablement Kristy Thomas said. “You literally could build an MBA around it. Because everybody says you need to do it, but figuring out how to do it properly is the secret sauce.”

ScanSource/Intelisys channel partners and executives shared their insights for identifying and executing sales of new technology sales.

Read their commentary in the 10 slides above.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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