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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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April 23, 2024 | Colin Puckett

Stay Ahead of Competitors Amid Economic Uncertainty by Prioritizing Value-Add Resources and Relationships

MSPs can best set themselves up for success by giving greater clarity around the products and use cases that matter to mutual customers.

Amid today’s economic downturn — which is expected to continue into at least the first half of this year — channel vendors must remain hyper focused on investments that build strong channel programs.

These investments need to be different from the quick-fix solutions channel leaders used in the past. Instead, organizations need to focus on areas of increased value to MSPs, including establishing meaningful relationships driven by data and insights. This will set MSPs up for success by giving them greater clarity around the products and use cases that matter to mutual customers.

Avoiding ​​Barriers to Scale

Colin Puckett of Appfire

Colin Puckett

Negotiating individual deals, discussing custom terms, and signing nonstandard contracts are all examples of barriers to scale that channel leaders should take steps to remove from their standard processes.

These special cases can chew up resources and lead MSPs to “weaponize” discounts to win competitive business. Ultimately, poorly constructed discounting behavior devalues the product, platform, and the ecosystem.

Yet MSPs that don’t waste time negotiating additional discounts with independent software vendors (ISVs) can become stewards of the value of the ecosystem that win business of their own volition. This is where a strong relationship comes into play. Vendors committed to fostering lasting partnerships with MSPs and investing in areas of increased value create relationships that extend to multiyear deals.

Simply, building operational tenets that fundamentally avoid barriers to scale is one way to drive efficiency in your channel efforts.

Discounts Devalue the Product

MSPs often are tasked with finding the most cost-effective solutions while staying ahead of the curve when it comes to emerging technologies. So, services providers need to have a deeper understanding of how solutions operate in the context of their client’s ecosystem as well as the value they provide.

This is a far superior way to consider which ISVs to partner with, rather than engaging solely with those that offer the lowest price.

For example, winning ISVs will invest in enablement materials for MSPs to understand the product allowing them to effectively communicate the value of those products to the customers while offering a better sales, implementation, and customer lifecycle experience.

On the other hand, if MSPs solely rely on discounted products over value add, they’re tasked with educating themselves on the product. Though cost is a factor in a purchasing decision, it shouldn’t be the only one.

ISVs that properly invest in MSPs and their knowledge of products ensure that products are priced based on value.

Investing in the Channel

There are two primary strategic investment areas organizations can pursue to build a reputable and dependable channel program while bringing greater value to MSPs and customers:

  • Partner Portal. Building a robust self-service tool provides partners with growth programs, sales enablement materials, training, certification programs, and easy-to-access demos.
  • Market Development Funds (MDFs) Strategy. Going to market together can be an asset in customer acquisition and overall growth opportunities. It multiplies both branding and value, and can enable co-selling to multiple audiences. At the same time, your business benefits from greater efficiency by not treating every opportunity as a one-off, special case.

It’s important to understand that the channel business is a long game, requiring patience and adherence to strategic frameworks over extended periods. Investing in areas you know are of interest and value to partners and customers while actively removing barriers to scale and avoiding practices that devalue products makes for a more durable channel program — even in a down economy.

Colin Puckett is senior vice president of Global Channel & Field Operations at Appfire.

Image: iStock

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