When you think you'd better work directly with the manufacturer...

Posted by Martin Tracey on Feb 7, 2018
Martin Tracey
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Myths about manufacturers' solution expertise

For as long as products and solutions have been sold, the customers have believed that working directly with the manufacturer or direct provider will guarantee the access to better expertise, faster resolution and more accountability. Although this may hold true in some instances, in most channels of distribution it does not. In the software and other tech industries, the requirement to operate within a larger solution or system takes away from the the sales and support experience that direct provider is offering to the customers. When it comes to providing the best solution experience from beginning to end, the biggest and best manufacturers and direct providers on the planet rely on a channel of expert partners.


Of course, you are asking how can that be? How can we get a better experience from someone other than the people that make what we are using? When it comes to technology, there are many factors that, when combined, create another requirement for the perfect buying, deployment and support environment. To illustrate that, we gathered and demystified several common myths about direct relationships with the manufacturer or direct provider vs. their expert partners.

Myth 1: Direct provider’s partners lack product expertise.

The best providers make sure that all the information and training to become an expert on their products or solutions is available to their channel partners. This includes access to all levels of the product design, development and rollout.

Myth 2: Direct provider’s partners lack experience with the solution.

At the manufacturer or direct provider level, employees have access to the products mostly in test and lab environments. So, although they know the solution functions and features top to bottom, they lack experience with the products in real-time production, different environments and unique circumstances.

On the other hand, the partners know all aspects of the product specifications and features. They also have experience with the products in many different environments, deployment sizes, complex integrations, and with different user requirements. This is a level of experience that the direct production staff rarely acquires or has even been exposed to. It also means that the partners are usually the first line for issue recognition and resolution, which gives them fristhand knowledge that the provider often doesn't have.

Myth 3: Direct provider has more diverse expertise.

Many technology solutions are integrated within larger systems that include various business applications and other software products. When dealing direct with the manufacturer or direct provider, they are confined to troubleshooting an issue within their particular product. This creates challenges when trying to resolve issues that affect many parts of a large integrated system. In some cases, the providers product is being affected by an issue that is coming from another area of a multi-manufacturer integrated system. A direct provider is not well positioned or prepared to manage this scenario.

Being involved in the solution deployment and ongoing support, partners must have the expertise to troubleshoot and resolve issues that can come from any aspect of the system or solution. They must have expertise in all the solutions and connections that allow proper integration. They also have the expertise and motivation to work with other product vendors to solve an issue and not try to push blame to another area.

Myth 4: Direct provider can objectively judge if their solution is not a good fit for a customer.

At the manufacturer or direct provider level, they can see their own product as better, different, or even the best in comparison to their competition. this can present a very bias viewpoint and objectivity ca be lost. After all, if they don't sell teh product they offer, they will not survive. When trying to prmote or sell their solution and it isn't necessarily the best fit for a customer, it is not in their own best inetrest to be objective and suggest alternative manufacturer options. This can lead to a poor customer experience.

At the partner level, objectivity and a constant eye on innovation and leadership is a requirement for long term success. A good partner will have access and expertise to be able to help the customer find the best solution across multiple vendors. Sometimes that will even mean a solution they may not have access to, but the value of the long-term relationship and the ability to sell many solutions in that organization helps keep objectivity in place and assures the customer gets the best products and solutions.

All of the items above represent only half of the list of reasons why customers should be looking for a reliable partner instead of trying to deal directly with the manufacturer or direct provider. In short, manufacturers' primary focus is on technology development and innovation. To gain success in that area, they delegate sales, deployment and support services to the channel of trusted partners. 

Tags: UCaaS, Customer Experience