Apr 19, 2024 5 min read

The Unstoppable Drive of Mike Collins: Secrets to Building a Thriving Reseller Network

Vision, passion, drive and some good product... blend well and distribute caringly. Diving into the secrets to build a thriving reseller network.
The Unstoppable Drive of Mike Collins: Secrets to Building a Thriving Reseller Network
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What is the singular word SpotOn resellers use most when they talk about Mike Collins, the creator and leader of the SpotOn reseller channel?  Responsive!  Followed closely with helpful.  Everyone has Mike’s cell phone number and he typically responds in minutes, regardless of day and time.

I got to experience the 2024 SpotOn reseller conference for myself in Denver, CO this March and with over one hundred resellers in attendance one thing is clear, Mike is an energetic, intelligent and responsive sales leader that is well regarded by his channel overall.  And I say this not as an outsider, I’m an equity partner in a hospitality tech reseller, RBBT Tech in Dallas that sells SpotOn technologies. Our team sells several products but SpotOn has quickly become number one for us and there’s several good reasons why. 

I sat down with Mike for an interview and we discussed his background and what makes for a great and productive reseller channel.

Scroll to the end of this article to read the reseller playbook.

To understand Mike's philosophy is to know the man himself. At his core, he's a dyed-in-the-wool sales professional who has fought tooth for every ounce of success.

"I'm a sales guy, through and through, that's who I am," Mike states matter-of-factly. "That's what I've done."

Mike's sales journey began somewhat unexpectedly in the website design world with a company called Web.com. Though focused on a different industry, this first step proved formative.

"I actually never worked in restaurants," Mike admits. "I kind of just stumbled into that. But most of my background is more in the payment side of the business."

It was running outbound sales teams partnered with companies like Discover, First Data, and others that opened Mike's eyes to the power of indirect sales channels and reseller relationships. He vividly recalls the lightbulb moments when payment processing first piqued his curiosity.

"There's a lot [of payment processing] that they've actually helped us with," Mike recalls. "I remember at one point thinking this is such a small piece of our business, right? We're a website design company."

Keen to explore that curiosity, Mike made the gutsy call to exit Web.com after its successful IPO. He started his own ISO, working diligently to grow it into a 200-person, 7-office operation making up to 500 deals per month at its peak.

"It was a real organization," Mike reminisces. "I was able to exit that at one point, which was an awesome experience."

Mike then had opportunities at major players like Heartland and TYSIS, working closely with dealer and reseller channels. Each experience reinforced his fundamental belief that resellers were the key to unlocking massive growth - if only they got the investment and respect they deserved.

"I started there actually in the Bob Carr era," Mike says of his Heartland Payments days helping to build the Heartland dealer channel. "He was always just such a beloved guy and I got a chance to meet him and hang out with him."

When the chance to join the executive team at SpotOn arose, Mike didn't hesitate. He pitched an ambitious plan for turbocharging the company's reseller channel from day one.

"The business plan was all around the dealer channel," Mike explains. "I have strongly felt ever since my time at Heartland that the dealer channel in particular was really ripe and needed help."

Fueled by his trademark fervor, Mike got to work turning his vision into reality. His philosophy? Treat resellers like family by going all-in with unbeatable support.

"Myself, everyone on our team - we pepper the hell out of our partners with SpotOn," Mike says. "I want them dreaming about SpotOn."

Under Mike's guidance, SpotOn's reseller onboarding process is white-glove and extremely high-touch from the very start. The company invests massive time and resources into equipping new resellers for success.

As Mike puts it: "We don't just ship you a user manual and say good luck. We are going to spend a ton of time and effort teaching, training, supporting our partners."

That premium treatment continues indefinitely, with SpotOn's team joining resellers for demos, deal-closing meetings, installations, and more for their first several customers. The level of handholding is exceptional.

"We are going to fly out there and be on site with you," Mike insists. "The first couple deals they do are terrible. They have to go good."

Even after getting their initial hands-on training, SpotOn resellers continue receiving white-glove service. They're assigned a dedicated channel account manager plus access to weekly group training calls, Slack communities, and partner events.

"You have to arm the reseller channel with knowledge," Mike emphasizes. "Training is arguably in the top three things [for building a thriving channel]."

The payoff for this all-in philosophy is enormous. SpotOn's reseller channel sees industry-leading satisfaction, engagement, and success rates. Long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships are the norm, not the exception.

"Some of our resellers come spend time with my family and stay in my house!" Mike exclaims. "When I say they're like family, I truly mean it."

For companies looking to replicate SpotOn's remarkable reseller momentum, Mike has one piece of foundational advice: Caring about your partners' success can never be an afterthought.

"If you are just attempting to use the reseller channel to jump yourself ahead and then you can't just use people," Mike cautions. "You have to be invested in their success, not just your own."

From doubling down on meaty compensation models to prioritizing real relationship-building to providing truly world-class support, that spirit of caring and prioritization has to permeate every aspect of the operation.

"The relationship is everything," Mike declares. "You've got to care...and you have to give, not just take."

The Mike Collins Unstoppable Reseller Network Playbook

At five years in the making, SpotOn’s reseller channel boasts over 150 resellers, 50% annual revenue growth rate and 60 FTE SpotOn employees dedicated to channel success.  Here are the key components essential for creating a successful reseller network:

Focus on Relationship Building

  - Foster genuine relationships with partners.

  - Ensure personal commitment and accessibility.

  - Build trust, mutual respect, and friendship.

Comprehensive Training

  - Provide extensive training to partners on both sales strategies and technical aspects.

  - Continuously support and educate partners to keep them well-equipped.

Responsive Support

  - Offer unwavering support to address partners' needs promptly.

  - Maintain open lines of communication, including direct access to key personnel.

Adaptive Compensation Model

  - Develop a fair and lucrative compensation model that benefits both the company and its partners.

  - Offer flexibility in compensation to cater to different partner needs and market dynamics.

Maintain Constant Engagement

  - Keep the product and company top of mind for partners through regular updates and communications.

  - Engage partners daily with a mix of sales tips, company news, and personal interactions.

Foster a Sense of Community

  - Create opportunities for partners to interact, share experiences, and learn from each other.

  - Develop programs and events that bring partners together, building a stronger community.

Invest in Partners’ Success

  - Show a genuine interest and commitment to partners' growth and success.

  - Collaborate closely with partners on sales deals, ensuring a successful outcome for both parties.

Offer High-Quality Products

  - Ensure the product offered is competitive, reliable, and meets market needs.

  - Continuously improve and update the product based on feedback and industry trends.

Creative Solution Offering

  - Be flexible and creative in solving partners' challenges, including financial and operational obstacles.

  - Tailor solutions to meet the unique needs of each partner, ensuring their long-term success.

Emphasize the Importance of Caring

  - Above all, prioritize caring for the partners, showing that the company values them beyond just business transactions.

  - Cultivate an environment where partners feel valued, supported, and part of the company's extended family.

This holistic approach, emphasizing relationships, support, flexibility, and mutual success, is what sets SpotOn's reseller network apart in the competitive landscape.

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