17. June 2016
Loyal partners lead with your products and solutions, and
can successfully win over the competition. Today’s partner landscape is ever
changing as more and more companies recognize the opportunity an indirect
channel offers. The new reality is that today’s channel partners are free
agents representing more solutions than ever before. With the competition for
your partner’s mindshare increasing how can you stay top of mind? You can
probably identify your top partners, but what is going on with the rest? These
4 tips will help you better understand your partner and their loyalty to your
Know your partners
first step in understanding your partners is knowing who actually makes up your
program. Who are your partners and what do they look like? When was the last
time you looked at all that partner profile data you have been gathering? What
does your partner profile data tell you about your program? If you don’t have
the necessary profile data, get it! Key information could include: primary
business model, products/solutions sold, other programs they are a part of, and
anything else that would be crucial to your unique program. This detail will
help you understand who your partners are and what they care about. The data
will also indicate how much they care about your offering and if you are
aligned to the things that are important to them.
Put yourself in your partners’ shoes
Think like a partner. How easy are you
to do business with? Do your partners have to jump through fiery hoops to work
with you? Is your program stuck in the 90’s or have you adjusted to the
changing market? Your partners do business with companies that are easy to do
business with and have solid solutions that fit their business goals. Knowing
your partners will help you align your program to the things that they care
about and help them accomplish their business goals. If you don’t know what
your partners care about, ask them!
Look at the data
is likely that you have some technology in place to manage your partner
program. If you don’t, get it! Engaged partners are loyal partners. The data
collected from your technology platform or partner relationship management
(PRM) system will provide you critical data around partner engagement. How are
your partners engaging with you? Are they leveraging the things you are
providing? If your content, training or program elements are not being
utilized, change them. Do you know who you are recruiting and are you retaining
new partners as well as existing partners? Analyzing these details should be a
quarterly activity with action items to increase your stickiness.
Incentivize more than money
Now more than ever, solution decisions are being made at the
partner-rep level. While incentivizing partner sales reps can be tricky, it is
key to align your incentive programs with the results you want to obtain.
Things to consider are: rep training, lead/opp registration and closure, joint
marketing efforts, and rep engagement. Consider gamifying these pieces and any
others that may be crucial for your program success. Successful gamification
will make it rewarding and transparent for the rep and manageable for you.
With the channel
landscape morphing, it is time to take a look at where your program is and make
the changes to set the table for success in 2016 and beyond. If you do the same
things, you will yield the same results. If you want loyal partners, make sure
your program is inline with their business goals.
This post by Raegan Wilson, Chief Channel Officer, Channel Squared Consulting, was recently published in our new eBook,The Top 10 Things Making Channel Chiefs into Insomniacs, and
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