The channel program landscape has changed over the years as more and more vendors are building out channel programs and competing for the same partners. The days of building a partner program and having partners just show up are over.
A targeted focus on the 4 Ps of the channel will help you build a robust and successful partner program.
This P comprises your internal teams and is often overlooked and understaffed. Whether you are just starting or growing your existing program, having the right people internally, will make a big difference for your partner programs.
Channel teams can consist of people in Channel Operations, Partner/Channel Marketing, Channel Sales, Partner Managers, and Channel Executives. Regardless of the mix of roles, it is important to ensure the people within your organization know their role as it relates to the channel. Guaranteeing your channel program visibility and support from the top down will not only drive revenue but great success. It takes more than just having the right people on the front lines with partners to make sure your channel is going to perform at its most optimal level.
The right partners are a basic component of your channel program, but what does the right partner look like? Knowing who your top partners are is crucial to the success of your program. Identify your ideal partner profile and know what you need to build up your partners by helping them build their business to become more successful. When evaluating partners make sure they align well with your business. This may require taking a step back and asking yourself hard questions. Making sure your partners are doing the everything you need them to do and meeting expectations can make or break your partner relationships.
Creating the right partner platforms will streamline and automate processes and drive program efficiency. Before you invest make sure you are ready, channel technology alone will not make a successful program. Identify processes that can be made more efficient with automation and identify the people that will manage the processes and systems. Don’t try to do everything at once, plan and take queues from the programs around you. Follow through is the key component to the success of your program. Implementing the right systems will simplify processes and ensure jobs are done thoughtfully and correctly.
Perhaps the most important P, as programs are the main reasons partners do business with you. When we forget our partner's motives to do business with us and our channel, we begin to fall short and sometimes lose relationships. Partners offer our products and services because they want to make money, they want their business to be successful. To obtain success on both ends, your partner programs must be manageable and executable. Try not to over commit and offer things you are not ready to deliver on. Remember, partners are an inexpensive salesforce because they don't collect a salary, they only make money when the deal closes, so their time is precious. Partners must also know that you are side by side with them in helping them meet their business objectives, not just yours.
When you implement a sharp focus on the people, partners, platform, and programs of your Channels, it will support your building and maintenance of a firm channel foundation. This solid structure will sustain your partner program for years to come.
This content was originally presented by Raegan Wilson, Chief Channel Officer at Channel Squared Consulting, as part of a Lightning Round presentation on the “Top 9 Things Channel Chiefs Must Do in 2018 to Transcend the Performance of Their Channel.” To watch the entire presentation featuring a host of top channel strategists, CLICK HERE.