Top ten questions all new channel partners will ask
Extra wording goes here!
all new channel
partners will ask
Have you anticipated the
questions a new distributor will
ask you when you meet for the
1. Tell me about your company,
history & vision for the future?
The best channel partners want a partnership, rather than
simply a buy/resell relationship. Your company history,
progress and vision for the future will provide confidence
that you are somebody they can invest their time and
energy into working with for the longer term. If channel
development is a key priority for you, consider investing in
an impressive video or revamped presentation that will
leave a lasting impression.
2. How much demand exists for the
While you expect the local partner to access local sales
opportunities, your obligation is to understand or at least
provide an educated calculation of the overall market
size and potential of your products. Not knowing this
may undermine your credibility so invest in market
research if necessary.
3. Who is the competition & why
are you better?
If you cannot answer this question then how can you
expect a local sales partner to be successful? After all,
you are the expert on your product and professional
distributors and resellers will always want to know that
your products and services have advantages in the
marketplace. If you haven’t already done so, invest in
market research in your target export markets
(remember different competition may exist from one
market to another) before you start recruiting sales
4.What are the most important
segments I should target?
Most companies have several target segments and
applications and when you look at international markets
each of these segments and applications can be of
greater or lesser importance. For example, Germany has
a large automotive market, France has a large
aerospace market, Norway has a large oil processing
market, etc. Europe is not one homogenous market
therefore so do your research and gain an understanding
of the key applications locally before your meet with the
5.Tell me about your success in
other markets with other distributors?
This is a key question for any new distributor. In other
words, has your distribution model worked elsewhere ? If
it has, great, it will provide confidence to new partners to
come on board. If it hasn’t worked than you need to be
equally prepared and explain, honestly, why it didn’t and
how it will be more successful in their market. Don’t lie or
hide the facts; you are always better off being upfront
and building trust with your new partners.
6. What is your long term channel
Professional channel partners want a partnership and
understand that it can take a few years for real sales
potential to be achieved. They will want to know what
your overall channel strategy is, how many partners you
intend to recruit, and how you intend to manage more
than one partner in the same market should that arise.
These are very practical questions for any new
distributor and vague or unanswered questions will only
undermine their confidence in signing up with you.
7. What level of resources do you
expect from me?
Every manufacturer would like to believe that export sales partners
provide an almost full time sales presence for them in the market. The
reality is very different however. Most distributors and indirect sales
organisations have multiple product lines and share their time among
all of them. It is more realistic therefore that a local partner allocates
X% of one sales person’s time or Y number of days per month to your
products. Other resource questions include (a) local marketing and
promotion, (b) stocking/inventory and (c) customer service. Often the
percentage margin/mark-up earned by the distributor can be linked to
the level of local resources they need to invest so defining the (ideal)
role and level of resources you expect from the new partner before you
engage with them is always a good idea.
8. What support will I receive?
The converse of the previous question: Partners will always
ask about marketing, training, local visits, technical
support, etc. If pricing is a key negotiation issue be
prepared to emphasise the high level of support you will
provide to the partner in the marketplace.
9. What sales should I realistically
expect in the next 12-24 months?
The million Euro question! Obviously you want mega sales
in a really short timeframe but is this realistic? Equally,
you do not want the partner to 100% dictate the sales
objectives for your products in the local market – if they
do you will not know if they are low or high and you in
turn may make unrealistic sales forecasts. The bottom
line is that this is a question where you need to have an
educated answer and contribute to a mutually agreed
sales target with your new partner.
10. Do you have a contract that I
Every professional sales partner will ask for a contract to
review before adopting your product line. When properly
prepared, contracts are of benefit to both the
manufacturer and reseller and outline key issues such as
territory definition, business terms, termination clauses,
In summary, if you want to win the best
distributors and sales partners for your
products then treat them as important as your
Put yourself in their shoes and anticipate their
concerns and requirements for the
development of a long term partnership with