What makes a VoIP reseller programme worthwhile?
If a deal is going to work, it’s got to work for everyone. This is true in any industry and it certainly applies to hosted voice services; if the reseller programme a supplier puts forward works for them and does not give the partners adequate rewards, it is not going to work. And it almost goes without saying (but let’s say it just to make sure we all understand) that there is no point in any programme if the product does not appeal to customers and does not deliver the goods at the end of the day.
For any VoIP reseller, the supplier’s partner programme is vitally important. Suppliers develop these programmes so that they can scale the support they offer to their partners more easily and efficiently. For resellers, the advantage should be that the programme makes it easier to access the resources that they will need to take the company’s service to market effectively.
Typically, a programme will consist of four main elements: on-boarding and enablement resources and processes; sales incentives and tools, including marketing support; technical assistance and support; and finally, on-going business and skills development. The reseller programme thus supports the entire sales and customer development lifecycle. Usually, to enroll on the programme and receive all its benefits, resellers need to commit to doing a certain amount of training, achieving a sales target, or both.
Exactly how much support and engagement they can expect to get will vary depending on the scope and complexity of the programme and the nature and the complexity of the products or services on offer. The number of partners on the scheme will also have an impact of course.
As with any programme, success depends on getting the balance right between the incentives and rewards offered on one hand, and the commitment resellers are required to make on the other. If the former does not provide an adequately return on the latter, it won’t be worth a reseller getting involved. If it offers too much incentive and rewards without much in the way of commitment, it may attract too many or the wrong kind of resellers getting involved and services being over-sold. That will have a negative impact for both the supplier and the reseller.
With VoIP, the programme does not really need to be too complicated. While resellers do need to know their way around the business VoIP services they offer, the technologies and services in themselves are not very complicated. It is not necessary for the reseller to have a deep technical knowledge that would enable them to explain in fine detail how voice over IP technology and SIP trunking works. Sales training will be more important than technical training for VoIP services.
The sales incentives and marketing elements are quite important – but they need not be complicated either. With VoIP, what matters is getting new customers on-board, using the service and gradually growing their spending. The incentives need to reward resellers for both but clearly, as this is a service that customers will pay for monthly, the rewards per sale and per user will seem relatively small. The programme needs to reward long-term commitment and achievement. This makes it quite difficult for suppliers to ask for a really strong commitment to targets or investment in training by partners, as it will take time for the return on any investment to come.
Marketing support is also important for a VoIP reseller programme. Spreading the word about the service and how good it is amongst your customers will be very important. Help with lead-generation is perhaps the most important element here. Other things that a good programme might offer include support for pop-up exhibitions in the form or materials and personnel, template emailers, and guidance on how to use social media effectively.
Technical assistance needs to be there when it is needed and if that sounds like stating the obvious, frankly the only times a reseller is likely to need support is during customer implementations and when something goes wrong – and as it will be the supplier that manages all the connections and servers upon which the service depends, every reseller will dependent on their technical capability and reliability.
With VoIP services, ongoing business development is likely to be something that will either be built into the programme as it develops, or discussed and planned with individual partners who are the most successful and want to set higher goals.
In the end, a VoIP reseller programme that is worthwhile will be one that is simple in terms of on-boarding process, attractive and realistic in terms of the rewards it delivers, and include elements that will help partners to find and develop new business opportunities. If it does all of this, it may well be worth a reseller getting involved.