Does Deal Registration Work/ Make Sense for Me (Protect Margin for Partners)?

Deal registration programs were introduced over 30 years ago to accomplish two main goals: provide deal visibility to vendors and provide deal and investment protection to partners. In exchange for partners providing early visibility to deals, vendors provide additional discounts over other partners who might be competing for the business. Although simple on the surface, deal registrations come with a number of landmines. Here are two main issues I’ve seen a lot lately that can thwart your program and what you can do to get it back on track:

  1. Special pricing undermines deal registration objectives

    Special pricing can be the internal gremlin that undermines your deal registration program, even in an organization that claims to be 100 percent channel. These two programs are often developed in a vacuum by different parts of the organization with similar but different goals. This often results in special pricing discounts that are higher than the deal registration discounts being offered to partners who don’t own the registration, thus nullifying the value of the deal registration. In this ultra-competitive market, the use of special pricing is on the rise, exacerbating this issue.

    Special pricing and deal registration programs can work together to both strengthen your program and drive sales, but sales, marketing, finance and channels need to be on the same page around some core values. The exclusivity granted as part of the deal registration needs to be respected and the programs need to be simple and consistent. Special pricing discounts should be additive to deal registration discounts. This protects the investment the partner has already made in the deal. It also allows you to document the process and provide consistency to the partners, creating trust and respect with your partner community.

  2. The deal registration program supports the vendor more than the partner

    Remember the two goals of a deal registration program: vendor visibility and partner protection. There is a healthy tension to those two goals. If the vendor starts getting too greedy about the visibility, the result can be an overly complicated program that is no longer worthwhile to the partner.

    It’s OK to ask for data as long as it meets your objectives and makes sense for the partner. For instance, if your goal is to get registrations earlier in the process, asking for SKU level data when a deal registration is entered may be counter to your goal. Partners may wait until later in the sales process when they know what products the customer is going to buy and there isn’t any added value to the partner to provide that data. However, if you asked them to register a deal early to obtain ownership of the deal, then allowed them to provide SKU information as they are ready to close, they can guarantee their pricing and don’t have to send it to distribution for pricing separately. You are asking for what you need, the partner gets what they need and you’ve simplified the ordering process.

    Remember, managing a deal registration program is expensive. If you can’t get the organization behind you to support the main objectives and core tenets of a deal registration program, deal registration may not be right for your organization.

This post by Gina Batali-Brooks, President, Is Inspired, was recently published in our new eBook, The Top 10 Things Making Channel Chiefs into Insomniacs, and What to do About It. In creating this guide for Channel Chiefs, we tapped our network of top channel strategists to provide thoughtful, meaty, practical advice on Chiefs' key questions about the market today. Click here to down full eBook for recommendations that will help you transform your channel operations, accelerate your indirect sales — and sleep peacefully.

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