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Becoming A Believer in VAR Peer Groups

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I had the opportunity to attend the Q4 HTG Peer Groups quarterly meeting in Orlando, Fla. earlier this month. It was a very eye opening experience.  Not only because it was the first time Dell attended this event, but because even during my brief time at the event, I witnessed a different type of show-goer than I had seen in my past years in technology marketing.

Scores of VARs and MSPs participate in HTG Peer Groups. Each group has roughly a dozen members from non-competing regions. The VARs and MSPs meet regularly to compare financial performance, develop business plans and explore life-work balance issues.

Normally when I attend a show, most customers and partners check out the latest speeds and feeds of our newest products (and grab any cool swag we have on hand). What was unusual at HTG was that the attendees not only engaged in long conversations about Dell’s views of the market and our philosophy on the channel, but the attendees even waited in line to do so.

Don’t get me wrong: Our Dell EqualLogic demo was pretty cool. But VARs wanted to know what we are doing as a company to expand on the relationships we have with channel partners. Meaningful relationships and setting each other up for success was top-of-mind for these VARs (Dell took note, as should other IT vendors).

The entire atmosphere at HTG was very eye-opening and had me thinking about what success means to my partners. At the gathering, resellers were eager to learn from each other. The attendees shared their strategies for various business processes, marketing, and customer stories, etc. There didn’t appear to be any hidden agendas, spying on each other’s IP or thoughts of slashing any tires.

Everyone thinks they know best. But what HTG and other peer groups do well is put into practice the idea that more heads are better than one.  There is plenty of IT business to go around, so why not learn from one another and help the next guy out if he needs it?  If you are a believer in what goes around, comes around, then joining a peer group like HTG might be right up your alley.

Sarah Mercer is a marketing operations consultant at Dell Inc. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy's annual sponsorship program. Read all of Dell's guest blogs here.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

Ted Hulsy (not verified)
on Nov 21, 2011
I could not agree more. As a long time sponsor of HTG, eFolder definitely now spends more time listening to partners in the various engagements, than on "selling them" on our solutions. The conventional vendor wisdom with communities is: "recruit, recruit, and recruit." At some point your view matures and you realize that vendors have so much to more learn through structured listening to partners. HTG provides vendors many opportunities to engage and listen.
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