Duh. Losing. Why VARS won’t Be Emailing An Invite To Clients

This morning for the umpteenth time I was invited to attend a session to tell me how to get the most out of Sage’s Summit 2011.

I’ve been to several of these conferences. I think training on how to get the most from a conference at this point is probably going to marginally improve my experience – thank you very much.

I did notice a way that other VARS could promote the conference to my mutual customers. There’s a discount code which when entered into the Sage Summit registration site offers a $200 discount to customers. The only other thing the customer has to do is enter in the name of their Sage partner.

This is where things get a little, shall we say, murky.

Most VARS aren’t waiting around for the conference to get their marketing program into full speed.

No claim here that there’s anything wrong with VARS sponsoring, exhibiting or inviting anyone to visit them at any conference.

What I’m saying is that Sage shouldn’t be surprised if the typical VAR isn’t calling every one of their mutual customers to hurry and register for the conference.

Here’s why.

A customer noted two days ago that large VARS are promoting discounts to this conference by sending out emails or posting notices on their site  (Full Disclosure: We are affiliated with DSD Business Systems and posted about their offer here – though as far as we know DSD didn’t email to non-clients) requesting that users sign up and list the VAR as their reseller.

The issue of random emailings kicked off when one of my group members over at 90 Minds casually commented about receiving a discount code via email (copy below) which strangely asked him to name another VAR on the registration as his reseller.

The problem is that the other VAR wasn’t his reseller. He already had one that he had a good relationship with (And, yes, totally different issue if a customer doesn’t have a VAR relationship in place).

Just so happens the VAR doing the mailing also has a full day session scheduled.  Good for them. Not saying there’s anything wrong with it — again just that most Sage VARS are going to be wary about enthusiastically recommending that their clients attend.

If someone responding to the email named this other VAR as his reseller — was he going to walk around the whole conference with a badge identifying him as a client of someone else?  Is that going to cause other attendees to wonder why so many customers were wearing name badges with the partner who sent out the emails? Good question (don’t know the answer here — and maybe it’s not even noted on the badges at all).


Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying there’s anything unethical or wrong at all about this marketing.

On the contrary – I think the marketing is very smart on the part of VARS who email their clients and make the offers known to their existing clients.

It’s also worth noting that the registration code is available to any Sage Partner to use in promoting Sage Summit 2011.

My question is how many smaller Sage partners are going to  promote this event to their customers — unless they have thousands of them and are hosting an event themselves at Summit so their customers aren’t being wooed into another VAR’s social hour.

Note: Sage would take issue with the term “their customers” preferring to instead call them “our mutual customers” – which is a post for another day.

So, yeah, I’m skipping the get together that offers to tell me how to invite my customers — they’ll probably be getting the email invitation or stumble across the myriad of invites on the web without me having to take an hour out of my day to learn about it.

Image via flickr

2 Replies to “Duh. Losing. Why VARS won’t Be Emailing An Invite To Clients”

  1. I think this is the danger of the overlap in the conference. While I want my customers to attend and learn, I cringe at the thought of the ROR wars that could follow this.

    We will have a booth to promote our new training product (ssiclasspass.com – web design in progress)and actively market it. We will NOT promote ROR changes to any customer during the conference or even pre/post conference. I would like to promote the conference on my website, but would encourage the customer to “enter the name of their Sage Partner”. If any customer signs up for our training pass during the conference, upon our return we will immediately email or call their existing Sage Partner and offer to let them join our program so they can receive a partial commission for the customer that already joined and promote to their other customers. If they decline, no worries, still no ROR attempt. Doesn’t help anyone in the long run.

    1. If one of my clients tells me they’re going — I’m happy to show them around and accompany them to any courses that they like. As to actively promoting the attendance I’m sitting on the sidelines. I’ve had clients attend Sage Authorized Training Centers locally where the instructors (without my knowledge or any notifications) went two hours out of their way to go on-site with a client.

      When I called Sage’s training department they acted first as if I had just pulled up outside their office in a spaceship and walked inside in full outer space gear — they couldn’t imagine why on earth I was calling. This was the head of Sage training centers at the time. They never once acted in any way other than as if nothing at all was wrong with an ATC sending someone out to do some free on-site consulting.

      This same VAR who ran the training center had also offered custom programming and another stunt they pulled was to abruptly exit the custom programming market —- unless the end user signed a ROR.

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