Last spring during the ISC West conference in Las Vegas, a small group of manufacturers and channel partners hosted a presentation called “Why Can’t We Be Friends?“. The title, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, was designed to spark some debate about the relationships between the security industry bodies that design and produce security tools and those who sell and install them.
A thought-provoking comment came from panellist Tim Palmquist, VP Americas for Milestone Systems, who offered:
Loyalty is a consequence of partnership. We also talk about how we can stand up for one another. We have to work together as partners to get through all of the day-to-day. Good channel programs can help establish the rules of engagement and provide valuable support.
In September, an SP&T News interview with Matt Fishback, Global Business Development Manager for Milestone Systems, provided some additional detail on how the company is revising its own dealer program including improved alignment with training and certification.
What we’ve really done in 2017 that will have the biggest impact moving forward is we’re taking a strong focus on determining how we interact with our partners. Looking at how can we improve the say we work with our partners has been a special focus for me. We’re learning a lot and planning to make some significant improvements in the upcoming years.
Seeking feedback from dealers and engaging them in conversation makes them a more integral part of the overall process. This is paying dividends for security providers across the board. Online training and certification tools have become a vital component of dealer programs, for example.
Matt Fishback says Milestone has seen ‘drastic uptake’ in its eLearning courses lately, even though it will continue to offer instructor-led education for those who prefer it.
It’s much easier for our partners to use eLearning tracks to gain knowledge to help them save time and at the customer sites. We’ve invested a lot in the last two years – continuing to bring more classes to our eLearning Portal. It really gives them a flexible tool for all areas of their organization, to become more adept and efficient.
Milestone’s latest dealer program was essentially in pilot mode last year with an initial rollout in the U.S. It will debut globally in 2018. Leading up to this, Milestone created advisory boards made up of channel and solution partners, end users, staff members and software developers, who serve as a feedback mechanism. An annual survey to the partner community goes out globally, as well, to gain information about products, support and how they feel about their relationship with Milestone.
Fishback states that the data gathered provides extremely valuable information.
We have a lot to learn. We are continually trying to find out what’s important to our partners, what we can provide today and what we can do better in future. The aim is: Let’s Listen! Then we can make changes that will help them be more successful. When they succeed, we do too.
Read the full article ‘Building A Better Dealer Program‘ in SP&T News magazine from September 2017 by Neil Sutton, Editor. Other industry members chime in.
See also ‘Healing the Rift: Integrators vs Manufacturers‘.