Some Things Work Better in a Bundle
Some Things Work Better in a Bundle

As the CEO of Zift Solutions, one of my main jobs is to listen to our customers so that I know what kind of challenges they face with channel marketing in the real world. It’s nice to think that channel partners and suppliers can naturally work together to increase revenue, but the truth is that conflicts do come up from time to time.

One of the common issues that has come up in recent conversations is when a supplier is asked to provide marketing support for one of their channel partners’ bundled solutions. In other words, the channel partner is trying to sell a bundle that contains components from several different suppliers.

The supplier, naturally, would prefer to simply put their marketing time and energy into promoting the product they sell. Promoting the bundle feels like they are promoting other suppliers. The promotion doesn’t seem as valuable to them, because it can seem like they are using resources to help out other companies.

Meanwhile, the channel partner feels that the supplier should be willing to work with them. In some cases, they can’t sell the supplier’s product as a stand-alone item as easily as they could if it were part of a solution bundle.

So, how can such conflicts be resolved? The truth is that there is going to have to be some compromise on both sides. The supplier needs to understand that they should do what they can to help with the marketing of the bundled product. Yes, they will be helping other companies generate revenue, but each sale will also represent revenue for themselves.

Plus, by helping their channel partner, they are increasing their value in the partnership – and the more value a supplier can deliver to their channel partner, the longer their relationship will last and the more revenue both sides will generate.

On the other hand, the channel partner themselves should not take advantage of their supplier. They should understand that there are limits to how much time and money a supplier can invest in their marketing. And, they should try to get as many of their suppliers as possible to chip in. Supplier X is going to be more willing to market a product that contains components from Supplier Y if they know that Supplier Y will also be contributing dollars to a bundle that promotes Supplier X’s product.

By working together in this way, suppliers and their channel partners can bring current and valuable solutions to market that their mutual customer base demands.