Every channel wants a lot of feet on the street. I just saw a master agent in New England with 160 providers in its catalog. It isn't unusual for a master agent (pick any of the big ones) to have 100 providers on its roster. Let's examine that.
As a provider, you are one of 100. Master Agents look more like Ingram or Tech Data than they ever did. Now it is like catalog shopping.
And much like Tech Data "co-marketing dollars" are the only way to get exposure to the agent/VAR base. Just like Google Adwords - a bidding for the most frequent keywords. Every master has a show now, so providers have to pay for each of those shows, plus the VAR shows, plus Channel Partners, and on and on. Those dollars to shows actually take money out of the channel budget for other things - like Spiffs.
Here's the thing: How do you get mindshare of the actual agent from a catalog?
As a provider, you don't even have enough data about the kinds of partners that you are trying to reach and spending money to reach.
Your message is just noise amid 100 other singers in the choir to the agent.
All that money being spent is NOT making it to the agent either. You can say your budget is exhausted or the C-Suite will be shocked at that commission line of the P&L, but the sales are done by the agents and VARs. They aren't seeing a big chunk of that budget.
This model above is getting crushed. Quotas, dollars, revenues, etc. will eventually result in a pivot here.
It's really about sell through.
That doesn't mean adding more products into quick quote because that commoditizes everything.
It means you have to have context on quotes. Who is buying? Why are they buying? What outcome do they want? You don't get that from an automated quote. That works fine for network access products but it falls apart when you hit Hosted VoIP, UC, and cloud services.
Sell Through means Mind Share. It means you got the attention of the channel partner. If you are really good, you have positioned your services into his/her portfolio, in order for the channel partner to know when you are a good fit for his/her customers.
Next time we will talk about sales compensation and its effect on sell through. This is channel sales enablement.