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The “e-Harmony” of the IT channel?

We often hear channel managers refer to TechnoPlanet as the “e-harmony” of the channel as it is basically our job to match vendors with partners to build relationships and partnerships. In reality it’s probably more like building polygamists relationships as vendors seek multiple partners. Most days it feels like we are the “Tinder” for the channel as we are connecting many partners to vendors, in real-time.

The analogy seems appropriate in some ways as we can think of the “e-harmony” matching as a deeper and better-fit relationships based on a wide range of predetermined characteristics. If we were to apply the “Tinder” approach, then we are matching vendors and partners on a limited set of criteria – quantity instead of quality. As anyone knows, it could be love at first sight, but in reality it takes time to get to know each other and cultivate a stronger relationship. That said, both approaches could lead to a deeper connection and hopefully a fruitful partnership.

We do have a similar approach as matchmakers towards partner recruitment for vendors. In our case, we first look at the location, then we connect more attributes like partner skill, size, end-user target audience, product portfolio, opportunity etc. Sometimes there is an obvious fit, but difficult if the partner is already in a solid relationship with another vendor. If they are happy, then there is little chance to switch unless there is a specific complementary added value that the new vendor brings to the table.

Partners are always looking to build out a product portfolio that best fits with their customers’ needs and their ability to deliver. Vendor swapping is not so easy, unless there is significant trouble in the current relationship. As a channel partner matchmaker, there are many things to consider when bringing the two parties together and sometimes it can get complicated. The good news is that both sides can test-drive the relationship before fully committing to the partnership.

The first part is identifying the potential best fit based upon what the vendor and the channel partner are looking for. Then there is the introduction and dating phase where both sides figure out if there is any long term potential for the partnership. Sometimes, the first date ends poorly. Sometimes there are no call-backs after leaving many messages. It can be the matchmaker’s fault, but it can also be either the vendor or the partner’s fault. Sometimes we have to coach vendors to take it slow so as not scare away the partner.

If you cannot solve the problem on you own, we also provide “counseling” services with 300 Elite Mastermind :o)

My matchmaker advice to both vendors and partners is to have a first date with an open mind. Have a conversation, webinar or email exchange to explore if the partnership has a chance. If there is no chance, then just say it and if you can, give some constructive comments as to why. If there is a chance, then clearly say what needs to be done in order for the relationship to build. No one likes the silent treatment or not knowing why the connection failed. It can be painful, but a fast no is always better than a slow no. That said, when you are told no, then no is no. Business is still a people-to-people relationship game so if you stay true to yourself and level in your discussions then I think both sides wins, even if no business is generated.

It takes both parties to make any partnership work. It is always satisfying to see when vendors and partners are matched perfectly and get “married”. Not sure how making babies play into this analogy but I am sure it could, if I go down that rabbit hole. It may actually be useful for both vendors and channel partners to think of their relationship as a marriage of sorts. It requires give and take as well as good communications to work through problems. It demands trust and support. Money can definitely put a wedge into the relationship so it is important to ensure both sides are profitable. I am sure if you keep thinking about it, you will see a lot more similarities between a channel partnership and a marriage. The end-game is to build and maintain a strong partnership where both sides are happy. One-sided relationships never end well.

Open to some e-Harmony or Tinder partner matchmaking services? Let’s talk!