“Perpetual Recurring Revenue” and 17 More Insights from BlueStar’s Channel Conferences in Toronto

I grew up a baseball fan (I can still name the starting lineups for the 1976 Cincinnati Reds and 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates), and back then the only thing better than a baseball game was a doubleheader. I felt like a kid again May 9 when distributor BlueStar, in partnership with Software Executive Magazine, hosted two channel events in one day at the Eglinton West Gallery outside Toronto. The morning featured the ISV Connect Summit to help software developers launch and grow their reseller channel, while the afternoon and evening attracted nearly 200 VARs, ISVs, and vendors for BlueStar’s Innovative Solutions Tour.

There was lots of great content shared, but my favorite phrase was no doubt “perpetual recurring revenue.” It’s what every VAR needs and what every vendor should offer. I know that’s easier said than done, especially for hardware manufacturers, but significantly improving the business health of a reseller is the ultimate value-add. Here are more highlights from the two events:

  • “The ISVs who are really successful in the channel provide great support to their partners. It’s that day two support beyond the initial sale that makes the difference.” Dean Reverman, BlueStar
  • “When you’re building out a channel, you want to protect the revenue your partners are making.” Butch Langlois, Vend
  • “We’re three times more likely to close a deal if they (the customer) engage with our channel partner compared to if it’s only managed direct.” Dan Bowman, Carbonite
  • “We pick partners — we put effort into it. You have to work together to have an effective partner program.” Shannon Moyes, Volante Systems
  • “The easier your product is to sell, the more you’re going to sell. Don’t give your partners a million points of data. Make sure you let them know changes before you tell your customers.” Aner Shachar, 7shifts
  • “MDF (marketing development funds) is a sign that the vendor believes in you and is willing to invest in you.” Shachar
  • “Your partner relationship can’t just be what they’re going to do for you. If you’re going to build a channel, you have to manage them and support them day to day.” Langlois
  • “No effort, no reward. Engage with your partners regularly and understand what you can do to effectively to increase their profits and you’ll increase yours.” Bowman
  • VAR Paul Leduc of Globe POS on adding a new vendor: “I ask other partners who I know through the RSPA if they’re working with them. I ask my suppliers. I spend 4-5 months researching and talking with other resellers before I move forward with a new vendor.”
  • “If the ISV on their website doesn’t indicate they work with partners, I’m moving on to the next web page.” Leduc
  • “Trade shows are the most effective way to market to me. I’m mentally ready to look at new solutions and new features. I wear so many hats when I’m at the office. I go to RetailNOW every year and my (vendor and distributor) partners’ conferences most years.” Leduc
  • What can vendors do better for their VARs? “It’s always communication. That allows us to let our customers know what’s new and what’s available. Don’t send me an email with 75 topics in it. More targeted communication is very important to us.” Leduc
  • “If you help your resellers run their business, they’ll stay with you for the long term.” Abby Sorensen, Software Executive Magazine
  • “Status quo is not an option for anyone in this room. Do you think Amazon is going to quit innovating? I don’t think so. You need to be curious enough to understand what’s ahead. Please be curious enough to go back to your customers and ask, ‘What are you doing about ____?’” Michel Sirois, BlueStar Canada
  • “There’s a significant cost to not working on your business.” Sirois
  • “Retail in the U.S. and Canada is very strong but everyone isn’t winning equally. The retail apocalypse is a myth — there’s a transition in retail. There was as a net gain of new stores in the U.S. but the composition changed.”  Michael LeBlanc, Canadian retail expert
  • “Right now, AI is about as smart as a mouse. On a scale of 0 to 10, we’re about at a half (0.5).” LeBlanc


Channel Business Advisor Jim Roddy works with high-initiative, growth-oriented VARs, ISVs, and MSPs to help them uncover their blind spots with customers, employees, and business best practices. Jim has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.