This was something a 3rd party solutions vendor rep said at a dealer event to me once that left me speechless.  The actual full quote was:

"I don't give a sh** about dealers I just want to sell and move on." 

Needless to say when that same person called about becoming a partner recently I had to shoot it down. 

This got me thinking. It's hard enough day-to-day for our sales teams battling to the lowest click rate for pennies which is why we look at alternative solutions to increase profitability. So when those solutions go south it completely erodes sales confidence. 

So what's your 3rd party dealer horror story? 

 

 

Original Post

John

Not sure if I can remember any third party horror stories, but I did have one with Ricoh many years ago when they introduced their first 80 ppm production MFP. At 80 pages a minute I thought it was a no brainer to place them in print shops.  I was so wrong.  Turns out that piece of crap could not printor copy good halftones. I sold one and it came back, I later found out from Ricoh peeps that they knew the device was horrid with halftones, however they did not tell the dealers or the sale peeps.

The most obvious one we had was we were working on a document management deal with our best client.  The document management company started calling the client directly every 2 days and the client asked me to get them to knock it off.  I called them and they said they didn't care what we wanted because we didn't know how to sell the products anyway, and that's why they needed to take over and call the client themselves.

Channel Sales is a difficult work process your sales cycle is dependent on other people to complete and you have to sell to the salesperson who is doing the selling. that takes time and trust, I get why these guys would not care about working with the dealer but they shouldn't bite the hand that feeds them for a quick deal, this takes a long time to cultivate. Software as Service companies is better at this than transactional companies. I was in channel sales for a long time it can be hard, especially when you are in the dark over the sales cycle.

Yeti- I agree with you, and I was in channel sales as well. I think a big part of the program is there's a lot of channel sales people that don't understand that it's a two way street.  When I was "feet on the street" you'd have a channel rep come in, make a presentation and then say "okay take me on meetings". To me that literally says the same thing that one of the reps said to me in my original post. Unless you're bringing real value and maybe a hardware lead from time-to-time then you're only as good as any other channel-schlub that comes in the front door.

 

Here's one from last week with a certain company that just got acquired by another company (hint: sounds like LoJack)

Me: Hello we have a customer that we ordered cost-recovery tablets for in the past and we need to order a new one for a new office. 

Guy in Budapest: What's the customer name and do you have a serial?

Me: Customer's name is Billy's World-O-Law and the serial is XXX-XXX-XXXXXXX

Guy in Budapest: I'm sorry we can not sell to you. You need to call Cranel. 

I call Cranel, they tell me no, I can't buy it from them I need to call the manufacturer whom we ordered the MFPS from

I then call the manufacturer and get told "no those aren't our item codes you need to call Nusiance for that"

I then call back the Budapest guy and he tells me "No we can not sell to you, you need to call the manufacturer"

At this point we're trying to get a copier delivered so I call LoJack directly and finally get hold of someone who can help and lo and behold I get all of the information and a quote. We get the order and send over the PO. 

Sales rep asks me what about set up? 

I call the local Northern California dealer who says "yeah we don't set up those tablets you need to call the manufacturer "

I then call Lojack again and they're happy to help with the set up! FINALLY!!!

But then he says:

"We can get this scheduled in about six weeks........"

 

 

We were at a convention in Vegas talking to one of the App developers and we were visiting with him about a customer wanting his app and we needed to know more about it. 5 minutes into the conversation he looked over our shoulder and said "Oh there is a bigger dealer I need to go talk to them" and left in the middle of the conversation. We are not a huge dealer, 10 employees but that was over the top. We don't support his app....

My solutions horror story is DocStar.  One of my major MFP customers has a DocStar system.  Year after year my customer has paid for DocStar's  "Softcare" product support which is supposed to entitle the customer to support and the latest software updates.  I'm guessing they've paid $18,000 through the years for the software support for which DocStar really didn't have to do much of anything.  With the latest update they are now forcing the customer to upgrade to a whole new platform and here's the catch........You have to pay DocStar to do a data conversion to get your data onto the new platform.  At minimum this upgrade will cost the customer another $14,000.  I can tell my customer is not happy.  Me as the sales rep am caught in the middle as the bearer of the bad news.  

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