Blog #4 of a 6 part series on The Future of the VAR, by Luke Norris – CEO and Founder of cloud provider, Peak (getcloud@ powered by peak .com) November 20, 2013

Distributors and channel-focused cloud partners will play a significant role in the future growth and profitability of the VAR. Large distributors, for their part, are pulling together tightly integrated service and hardware bundles so VARs can purchase complete cloud-enabled solutions with a single SKU. They’re also taking care of invoicing and other back-end services on the VARs’ behalf. Most importantly, distributors have worked through the revenue kinks to ensure each touch point in the channel is receiving appropriate credit and revenue within this new consumption model.

For its part, PeakColo restructured its cloud infrastructure-as-a-service sales team into three tiers in order to support the high volume of VARs now moving through the stages of this critical transition. Peak has no direct sales force; it only sells through the channel, so helping VARs develop the knowledge-base and unique cloud service offerings they need to go to market is among the company’s highest priorities.

PEAK’S THREE-TIERED TRANSITION SUPPORT:

  1. On-boarding This team brings new VARs on board, identifies the services and platforms necessary to launch their new cloud-enabled business initiatives, and works with their distribution partners to ensure IaaS white-labelers receive full compensation and recognition for their deals.
  2. Training and ongoing education Peak training courses delve deep into the cloud market, value propositions, lead generation, and important resources for qualifying and closing the sale. Training and certification is provided for all levels of the VAR organization, from sales, sales engineering, and operations.
  3. Co-selling Peak assigns dedicated sales and marketing resources to help resellers realize the full profit-making potential of cloud services. The co-selling team, comprised of business development managers and sales engineers, acts as an extension of the VAR sales team to help uncover cloud opportunities and close complex deals. Customized VAR-branded collateral and marketing campaigns, co-op funds and lead generation campaigns help partners make an immediate impact in the cloud market.

Because the cloud is such a consultative service, protecting customer relationships is crucial to profitability and long term viability. To own the customer, VARs must control the sales process. That includes selling the cloud under their own brand, managing their own contracts, and becoming the customer’s trusted cloud advisor. VARs should also provide Tier 1 support. Some cloud providers manage the Tier 1 support desk, taking the reseller out of the service equation. Peak resellers, on the other hand, take those support calls and strengthen customer relationships. What’s more, they can manage a crisis during an escalation rather than being completely dependent on third party resolution. Lastly, considering the fact that most profits will be gained through new cloud-enabled offerings, VARs should not allow themselves to be restricted to a handful of managed service providers, hypervisors, backup services and so on.