Your CEO asks you to attend a meeting in place of him. He gives you a briefing on the issues and the company’s position on each. You attend the meeting on the CEO’s behalf … and totally ignore the CEO’s instructions, taking a different view on all the issues that are discussed.
Is this really what you would do? No, probably not.
So when it comes to representing a vendor, when reselling their services, what should you do?
You got it. Follow their instructions. Represent them well (and you will likely avoid costly problems).
Where are the vendor’s instructions (and how do you follow them when it comes to contracts)?
The vendor sets out their instructions and position on various matters in their agreement with you. If you are dealing with a distributor rather than directly with the vendor, then look to the distributor’s agreement. They will likely pass on the vendor’s requirements. You need to be aware of this and then make sure your agreements with the customer is right for what the vendor requires.
Example: Microsoft CSP partners need to be aware of relevant Microsoft agreements (and include certain things in their own agreements)
Microsoft CSP partners have certain obligations when it comes to getting their customers to approve the ‘Microsoft Customer Agreement’. As an indirect CSP Partner, the Distributor you deal with will include various provisions in your agreement with them that need to be ‘passed on’ in your agreement with the Customer. If you are a direct CSP partner, then the ‘Microsoft Reseller Agreement’ applies.
This type of regime is common between vendors and resellers. So when it comes to representing a new vendor, be sure to represent them as they require you to. The ‘instructions’ will be in the contracts. These all vary form vendor to vendor so don’t get stuck by trying to guess what’s in there or assuming it’s the same as the last vendor you added to your portfolio. Some have fixed terms that apply even where your customer stops paying.
‘This sounds like a lot of contract review work, is there someone who can help us with it?’
That’s right, it is a lot of work. And we figured it does not make sense for every reseller of a particular vendor to do that work themselves (or for each to pay their lawyer to do it). So we’ve starting doing this for our customers. We have a suite of agreements ready now for Microsoft CSP partners and we’re ready to do more.
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