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Managing Channel Sales – Whose customer is it anyway?

Customers are simple right? When you get a new customer, you set them up, do the work and then bill them. You know who they are, they know who you are, simple.

However, when an intermediary (e.g. a VAR) becomes involved, life starts to get more complex and the decisions stack up.

Is the reseller your customer or the reseller’s customer? Do you only sell to that, let’s call them an End Customer, via your reseller, or do you sometimes also sell direct?

What happens when your VAR doesn’t perform adequately and you want to exit them, do you also exit the end customers, take them over yourselves, or transfer those accounts to another reseller? Who signs the contract, who do you invoice? What do you do if the end customer logs a ticket but the reseller hasn’t paid your invoices? Would you even know?

Who do you provide customer portal access to, where you bill one entity but log tickets against another? If you view the VAR as your customer, how do you differentiate VARs from direct customers?

And that’s all before we consider leasing companies where you make a direct sale but invoice the lease company, how do you model that relationship without tearing your hair out? How do you model the value of the business you’ve given the leasing company without spreadsheets?

The real world of technology intermediaries is actually pretty complex covering many alternative behaviours. The picture shows four options, there are many others. Plus, of course this whole model applies on the buy-side as well where you are the reseller of a package that may be bundled with your own IP and itself sold through a channel sales model. Now a single sale could have four counterparties!!!

If any of this resonates with you, Harmony may have the answer. By allowing a separation between the business counterparty and the financial counterparty (for both sell and buy side behaviour), we are able to model even the most complex of deals and enable you to decide who to send the invoice to, who to raise the ticket against, who’s asset it is. Plus you can sell via a VAR and direct to the same counterparty, you don’t need fake accounts or duplicate accounts to achieve this.

So, the next time your channel reseller fails to perform, you can switch the financial counterparty out on their end customers and cut them out of your business without changing or losing historic data, or tickets. It also enables you to model profitability both at the reseller and end customer levels, how smart is that?

If you would like to know more about how HarmonyPSA can help you manage your channel data and intermediary counterparties, contact us and we will be pleased to explain.

Cath Powell