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​Secret Reseller - Lessons learned from dealing with the big boys

​Secret Reseller - Lessons learned from dealing with the big boys

ARN’s partners inside the industry lift the lid on the real world of the channel.

I’ve been in the computer industry for over 20 years and during this time, I’ve experienced my fair share of vendors going behind my back and selling direct.

It happens all too often but you just have to move on in this game.

Several months ago however, after quoting a job for a customer, I requested bid pricing from a vendor and went through the usual process of providing end user details.

A week later and I receive an email from the vendor indicating the confirmation stock keeping unit (SKU) for the end user, with a request to obtain the final price from the distributor using a reference number, of which I began to do.

But in scrolling through the email thread of dialogue I noticed something amiss.

At first it all appeared normal, with the vendor support staff asking the customer if they dealt with a preferred reseller, of which my client said yes, and named my company.

Pretty standard procedure perhaps, until I scrolled down further to find the same vendor asking if my customer would consider working with another reseller.

Despite my customer insisting a preference for dealing with us, the vendor replied: “We have a better reseller who can give you better pricing and support, would you like for me to give you their details?”

Naturally, I’m furious.

But as I continue reading I can see the vendor badgering the customer even more to not buy kit from us, and instead go with a different reseller.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading and as you can appreciate, by this stage, I was not seeing red, I was on fire.

What’s worse is that this particular vendor had pulled this stunt several times before.

In response, I emailed my account manager with a message littered with bold red font, indicating my anger in the most sensible manner possible.

A pitiful phone call soon followed which I flatly rejected, leading to a call from the supervisor to insist this was merely a mistake, along with numerous statements of apology.

Naturally this triggered a chain reaction with several senior figures within the vendor then expressing concern as a result, but at this stage it was too late.

So what’s the moral of this all too familiar story? If you’re not a big player, you’re nothing.

I know it’s a regular rant but vendors are experts at putting on large conferences crammed with hoop-la - of which I've been to countless times - which all include the same song and dance.

It merely provides a platform for shallow phrases such “we support the channel”, to “without the channel, we are nothing”, or worse still, “support us and we can assure you we’ll grow together”.

It’s a complete falsehood because the message is aimed squarely at the tier-1 accounts, the accounts that offer millions of revenue a year.

But we are just a bunch of sheep, we follow blindly follow bad vendors which is why I’ve since converted all my business to custom white-box PC and servers.

They offer exactly what I want, when I want it and I don’t have to answer or announce my customers to anyone.

I’ve found that they offer the same level of service and support and because my customers trust me to provide the best solution, then that’s good enough for me.

To those resellers like me reading this - there is another path you can take without consequence. Go your own way.

If the vendor won’t back you when you are trying to do it their way, then what’s the point in jumping through all those hoops in the first place?

For partners wanting to submit their views anonymously, please get in touch via secretreseller@idg.com.au

This article originally appeared in the November issue of ARN magazine - to subscribe, please click here


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