A couple of jobs ago I used to fly to various non-glamourous North American destinations to set up a reseller network of companies to slang our software – a channel to our end-customers. In that endeavor, I visited about a city per week. These were what we called “2nd and 3rd tier markets” and what many of them lacked in charm, they more than made up for with staggering obesity and gorgeous physical surroundings. Who cares if most of the inhabitants and people I worked with never actually saw the hometown beaches of Jacksonville or the vistas of Pittsburgh, I made sure to see them for them.
I learned a lot about places I would not live (Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Columbus, Mesa, and Portland, Oregon for example) and a couple that were pretty cool (Toronto, Los Angeles, SF, Miami, Pittsburgh).
I selected, courted, and onboarded these partners (a truly elite squad) based on some simple market research. Simple is generally both the most elegant -AND- most brilliant path in any exercise, and it is also the only type of market research I know how to do.
My formula for determining partners:
Not staffed currently with our field sales in market + strength of our traffic/brand in market + prospective partner current install base – install base of our competitor / raw instinct + “gut”.
Here is a handy little matrix I created to help me. Please, despite what your corporate espionage department might ask of you, DO NOT DISTRIBUTE or use this without express written permission (and heavy licensing fees) from the author or FACE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES.
It wasn’t fool-proof, and sometimes I took what I could get. Which leads to my first reseller onboarding visit with an unfortunately-representative company located in sunny and segregated Jacksonville, Florida.
To be continued… HERE