Earlier this year I bought a hot tub from a great salesman. I walked in (dragged by my wife) to meet the sales guy (Mark) in the show room.  Now to set the scene this is a typical hot tub showroom with at least 20 different hot tubs on display, from maybe 5-6 manufacturers. Some of hot tubs are full and hot ready for a test dip, some are empty, all look shiny new and very inviting.

Mark took me to ONE hot tub. He told me at length that this was an awesome hot tub and based on my requirements for really strong jets (so strong they hurt) it would be perfect. Mark explained how this was the hot tub he had at home and how his family loved it, his neighbors loved and envied it, how it was great to wind down after going to the gym and really relaxed those muscles. Mark was excited about this hot tub, genuinely excited. 

I asked about all the other hot tubs in the showroom. Mark pointed out that they were OK hot tubs and he would sell me one of them if I was happy not to ‘get the best one’. There were issues with salt water ones, ones that broke down too often, ones that required too much maintenance, ones that would be bad for a Fargo Winter and use too much electricity.

Mark was the expert. He told me which hot tub to buy, and why. I bought it.

At eOne we get to work with 250 reselling partners. Over summer and fall 2015 we attended many events that our partners host for their customers. At these events our partners gather anywhere from 20 to 300 of their customers together to talk about Dynamics GP, Dynamics CRM, Microsoft products and how to get the most out of the tools these companies own.  They are generally great events.

Something I have noticed this year is that many partners are failing to do what Mark the hot tub guy did. This year we have seen way too many partners who have not picked their favorite hot tub – and think that talking about all the various options of multiple tools is a good idea! These partners are forgetting that they are the expert and the trusted adviser. These partners stand up and talk about Power BI and BI 360 without ever really differentiating them. They talk about SmartList, SmartList Designer and SmartList Builder and leave the audience totally confused.  Some partners talk about NAV and GP without being able to pick a winner. These partners invite three different document management ISV’s to the one event.

Had I walked into the Hot Tub showroom and Mark had rambled on about all these different manufacturers and how they were all good, all Ok, would all do the job and yet was not passionate about any particular one – do you know what I would have done? I would have gone to another store to check out more Hot Tubs. In fact there is every chance that I would not have bought a Hot Tub at all. I would have collected 15 brochures and delayed the decision making process until something else attracted my attention and money.

What I needed was someone to tell me which hot tub to buy. Mark did that and did it very clearly.  I still did some research, I still read some reviews online and these backed up what I had heard from Mark.  Mark’s passionate belief in how awesome this hot tub was – closed the sale. Mark telling me about his other customers that loved this hot tub closed the sale. Mark being the expert and telling me what I needed closed the sale.

All of our reselling partners are experts in mid-market software. Your customers expect you to be the guru and to tell them loud and clear what their best options are to solve their business software needs.  Pick your solution, learn it, love and preach it.  Pick your horse and stick with it.  Evaluate the available solutions every year and select the offering that you are backing for your clients.  When you talk to your customers be excited, be passionate and tell them what solutions they need.

The very best partner events I have attended are hosted by partners who exude passion. Partners that stand up and tell customers what they need to solve their problems. These partners walk away from a partner event with happy customers, more software sales and loads of professional service revenue.

The poor partner events I attend are those partners that invite 20 ISV’s to come along – some competing. They present facts about solutions but are devoid of passion. They let the customer make up their mind. These partners end the event with confused customers, limited software sales and not much in services!  

What do you think? Should partners pick one horse or hot tub? Share your feedback in the comment section below!