How to find a competitor's resellers and distributors

One of the common questions in competitor analysis, particularly in the software industry but also in manufacturing and other sectors, is who are the competitor's distributors and resellers.

There are several ways of finding this out just using secondary sources, including:

  1. The competitor may list their distributors and resellers on their website. For example, Infor list their partners helpfully on their website. 
  2. Look through the competitor's followers and followees on Twitter. For example, looking through OpenBravo's followers quickly turns up TrekGlobal as a follower, and their website reveals that they are a distributor.
  3. Search on Google for phrases such as "[competitor] partner". Include variations (e.g. system integrator, authorized distributor, etc). Using that method, here are some of Syspro's partners. The results will come from a range of source types - news stories, reports, partner websites, etc.
  4. Do an image search for the 'authorized reseller' logo. First, find the logo (the kind that says Gold Partner or Authorized Distributor etc). Then feed that image or its URL into image search to retrieve other instances of the logo - many of the results will be reseller websites. For example, here are various OpenBravo resellers found using that method. These can be confirmed by following through to the actual partner websites.
  5. Use LinkedIn to find people talking about their expertise in implementing the competitor's software. A basic search reveals that Second Foundation is an Epicor implementer.

There may be other, less profitable sources - for example, looking through job websites may show some system integrators seeking skills in the competitor's products; a Slideshare presentation from the competitor may list some partners; or a company's financial filings may list a partner if they are particularly important.

In the ideal scenario, all the partners will be listed on the competitor's website. Even so, since thoroughness is a key trait of a good competitive intelligence analyst, it is advisable to check the other sources. There may be much duplication, but that is a natural part of methodically exhausting every research channel.