Top 8 Questions to ask a Vendor Before Partnering

Along with making the best hiring and brick-and-mortar location decisions, partnering with a vendor can be one of the most important differentiators you can leverage to grow revenue. For those selling copy and print technology, we encourage you to take time and think it through carefully to ensure all the boxes for your business needs are checked before entering into a partnership with a vendor.

To help you along in the vetting process consider these eight essential questions:

  1. Why should I partner with you instead of the competition?
    Even though the answer is unique to each channel partner’s situation, goals, and client set, how a vendor addresses this topic will be helpful to shaping your decision. In addition, take advantage of resources online to research program value and to determine if they have been recognized as an award winning partner program and what their program entails.
  1. What sales and marketing support will I receive?
    From MDF and co-op funds, to partner portals, marketing assets, and content syndication to amplify your reach, you need to know how partnering with the vendor will accelerate sales. For planning, you also need to know that sales and marketing support is available to new partnerships, what the criteria is to participate, and exactly what type of resources you can tap into.
  1. What are the expected sales targets?
    If you’re expected to reach certain goals to stay in the program or move to a higher tier, it goes without saying you need to fully understand what the targets are and develop a strategy to get there. Analyzing this information and being realistic about your ability to grow within the partnership is key to a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.
  1. What type of training do you offer?
    Most vendors offer training, but what type? Ask about specifics to help hedge your bets for success; find out if the training is online or in-person, and what type it is (i.e. marketing, sales, technical, product, etc.). Assess your team and decide who will be available to participate. Next, make sure you fully understand the fees attached to the training opportunities before making the vendor selection.
  1. How well do the core competencies align with your business?
    Ask for core competency information in a written format so you can take the time necessary to fully understand program offerings and assess how well they align with your business and customer needs. In addition, research to find out how innovative the vendor is and what their technology solutions are capable of accomplishing. Then, compare findings with the needs of your customers and prospects to determine if it’s a good fit.
  1. How much revenue do partners generate based on typical profit margins?
    It’s important to compare apples to apples. Make sure the information delivered matches your situation. For example, if you don’t plan on selling managed print services, typical revenues from current partners who sell that solution won’t help you compare. What’s more, evaluate demographics of your target market and the projected size of your territory to ensure the partnership is a win-win for both you and the vendor.
  1. How satisfied are your partners?
    If the vendor has channel partners who are in a similar situation to yours, it’s helpful to speak with them. Prepare your interview questions and use the opportunity to find out what they experience as pros and cons, how successful they are, and which resources they find most valuable to amplify their sales and marketing strategies. In addition, ask them which factors they used to determine whether the partnership would be a good fit for them and how they feel about the decisions they made or if there is anything they would change.
  1. Do you provide professional support services for my customers?
    It’s critical to find a vendor that provides the professional and technical support your customers need. Without that level of coverage, you can sell all day long but when something comes up and the support services aren’t there, your value to the end-user will suffer. Does the prospective vendor provide a robust support offering? If so, can it be used as a differentiator in the market to set you apart from the competition?

Partnering decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly or made is haste. Don’t rush in. Taking time to find the best partnership opportunity, and fully understanding how it will serve your growth and revenue goals are key to long-lasting lucrative business relationships. For information on partnering with Xerox, visit our Xerox Partner Portal.

Learn more about Xerox Partner Print Services
Learn more about adding managed print services to your portfolio and find out about becoming accredited to sell Xerox Partner Print Services on the Xerox Global Partner Portal.

Join the Xerox Global Partner ProgramBecome a Xerox Channel Partner
Contact your Xerox account manager, or review the Xerox Global Partner Program and apply to become a Xerox channel partner today, to find out how we will help grow your business.

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