Computer Associates has unleashed a grand channel plan, in the midst of a complete reorganization, that will effectively give the companys direct sales force preferred access to more than 12,000 corporate accounts. Im here to tell you the good, the bad and ugly parts of this strategy; and believe you me, there is plenty of all three to go around.
Naming preferred accounts is a double-edged sword in my book. I would be the first person to agree that whenever there is an entrenched direct sales force in place, rules of engagement must be established and they need to be clear, with no gray areas, or it will result in confusion. And confusion results in lost business, for the vendor and for the channel.
Who takes the lead on specific accounts, who is the direct point of customer contact and exactly what role a vendor sales representative plays, along with the services offered by a channel partner, are critical to ensure the success of a project and the ultimate satisfaction of any given customer. If a VAR feels he is competing for business inside an account with a vendor that he/she is representing, that VAR will eventually push another suppliers wares.
VARs are about solutions, yes, but they are also about making money and not supporting a company that is sabotaging their business.
Now dont get me wrong. That is not what I am saying CA is doing. Au contraire, mon frère. What I am saying is there is a lot of history between the channel and direct sales initiatives of all kinds.