Thales Blog

So, You’ve Been Acquired: Best Practices For Integrating Reseller Programs

June 29, 2016

Mike Coffield Mike Coffield | Vice President, Americas Channel Strategy More About This Author >

thales-e-security-vormetricVormetric’s channel program has come a long way. In 2014, we announced that all Vormetric products would be part of a single Data Security Platform sold through the channel. Our channel program now lives and breathes by an all channel model.

Following our acquisition by Thales (TeS), we have the opportunity to expand our reseller program even further. Our end goal is a model that adheres to our mutual values and is global in strategy and reach.

Since we’re not (to put it mildly) the only company in the world managing an acquisition, I figured some of you would find valuable general advice on best practices for integrating reseller programs. While I certainly don’t have all the answers, I have been around the block a few times (20 years of channel, folks!).

Click to Tweet: Best Practices for Integrating #Reseller Programs in an Acquisition #distributor

So, here it goes:

Weigh each program’s strengths and weaknesses:

Make a careful assessment of what each program brings to the table. The point of this assessment is to be honest so you can accurately remediate or retain certain strategies. While this may involve some hard truths, it’s the first and potentially most vital step in your post-acquisition integration.

Determine how integration will impact your partners

Separately, your reseller programs benefit your partners. They have to, right? If they didn’t…you wouldn’t have them in place. Post-integration, you should still be able to answer “yes” to that question.

Of course, there’s a chance your integrated program will need to evolve to accommodate different types of resellers. And that’s OK – as long as both companies are open to making concessions.

Assess your partner’s capabilities

Are the partners selling your company’s solution also capable of selling your acquirer’s solution? Don’t answer yes where you should be answering no; companies have never benefited from trying to put a square peg in a round hole.

Come to a consensus on training

If you’ve determined all or some of your partners are capable of reselling new products, you must then figure out your training strategy. Setting your partners up for success involves more than just handing over the new products and sending them on their way. Rather, it entails coming to a consensus on marketing (do you combine solutions during the reselling process, or keep them separate?), messaging and financial goals.

Think global, act local

Most U.S.-based enterprises tend to have fairly built out channel programs. That doesn’t mean that what works in the States will work in say, EMEA. Or APAC. Or LATAM. Don’t try and staff your international programs the same way you would in America; instead, solicit the perspectives of those that have been in the trenches and understand the reseller culture (or lack thereof).

Be patient, thoughtful and measured

Additionally, you don’t want to come out of the gate too quickly. There’s a good chance partners will be chomping at the bits to diversify their product portfolio. While everyone loves the concept of “hitting the ground running”, in this case it may lead to stunted growth and confusion. The reseller world is full of large vendors who snapped up smaller vendors, got too ambitious too quickly, and made a mess out of their (once thriving) reseller programs.

Back in February, I wrote the following: “Done right, a channel partner program brings maximum returns from sales resources for the vendor, as well as financial and organizational success to partners. Successful, well rounded channel relationships allow both organizations to excel at what they do best.” Post-acquisition, my perspective hasn’t changed. My team and I, in tandem with the TeS team, are confident in our ability to “do right” – and make our integrated channel program the strongest yet.