If you are with a reseller, you’ve probably heard the dire warnings about the impact of “the cloud” on resellers. Among the warnings are:

  • Look out. Everything is moving to the cloud.
  • If your business is just selling products, your business is going away.
  • If you don’t have a cloud strategy, your business is going away.

Resellers are getting plenty of advice on how to transform their businesses to a recurring-revenue model. Here’s a recent sampling:

Last summer, I had breakfast with a friend; someone I have known for more than 20 years.  When we first met in the 90s, she was with one of the big systems companies, and I was manager of IT Procurement at State Street Bank. Now she is with one of that same systems company’s direct VARs.  For our breakfast, she arranged to have two people from a cloud-gateway company join us.  The company, apparently, had been pitching her current company on the benefits of reselling their gateway to the storage cloud, and she wanted my opinion regarding their technology.

As it turns out, nothing about the company’s technology really mattered. The technology could have been the greatest thing ever to hit the technology road, but she wasn’t going to sell it. What mattered was how she got paid. She had a sales number, and that number wasn’t based upon closing recurring-revenue opportunities. Selling a gateway plus a service was going to get her maybe 1/4 of what she would have gotten staying on her current path of telling customers that “the cloud is unproven and too risky.”

Cycle forward another nine months, and I just met with a local reseller. I was exploring opportunities for one of my clients that offers a software solution to a vexing problem of delivering affordable, highly-available applications in an environment that lacks on-site IT resources. After listening politely, this reseller told me, “Yours would be the last solution I would sell.” Again, it had nothing to do with the quality of the product, but rather, how he got paid. Turns out that he got better revenue and quota retirement for selling a service, than he did for selling a product. Management at this particular reseller was very focused on covering operating costs with recurring revenue streams.

This takes me, now, to a friend, who quotes this Bahamian saying:

Never mind the noise in the market.
Pay attention to the price of the fish.

The channel equivalent of this is:

Never mind the noise in the market.
Pay attention to how the sales reps get paid.