Four Foundations of Successful Channel Programs
Channel management tips your mother never told you.
Below are excerpts from a podcast hosted by Magentrix, a powerful, yet simple CRM/PRM platform. For more info see www.magentrix.com
If you are reading this, you are likely a partner exec or manager already, so no need to plow through all the business reasons to leverage partners to grow your business. The other impact of a strong partner program is the “network effect”. The more people know about your company and product, the more they talk favorably about these, and the bigger the benefit to selling both.
On to the four channel program best practices, here is the nickel summary.
Have a plan - Obvious yes, but think in various ranges. Have a 30-60-90 day plan. However, also have a 24 to 36 month plan tied to the long term corporate strategy. Share these not only with management but also with the folks in the trenches. Determine where you want to be from a strategic corporate perspective a few years out and then work back from there.
Get a commitment - Meet early with senior management. Bring your boss along. Demonstrate strategic and financial benefits to your partner executives. Get commitment down the partner organization as well. Nothing works as well as getting a strong champion to convince other partner team members.
Have a brand - Representing a product to a partner is a sales and marketing campaign. Part of marketing is branding. Leverage your company and product brands, but also brand your partner programs as well. Branding can be as simple as logo beer glasses or cereal bowls or targeted LinkedIn ads for key partners. You will likely want a consistent global brand, but not necessarily.
Learn your tools - Succeeding with partners these days means optimizing use of partner relationships management tools and social media. To use and recommend the right tool for the job, you must stay educated about which tools are best for which situations. This requires investing time and homework in staying abreast of sales and marketing tools. Staying educated will sometimes mean sitting through arduous sales calls and demos. Use your personal networks to ask for input from your in-the-know colleagues. Be curious and enjoy the process.
I hope these four foundations were helpful. I would be happy to entertain your list as well.