- On January 11, 2021
Many channel providers now offer dedicated B2B facilitation and improvements from tech that can directly complement their channel partner programs. While these emerging solutions can help bring a fledgling or poorly implemented channels a much needed boost its not always good news. A badly designed or executed channel sales enablement strategy can often be dire for programs, or even entire companies, that don’t have the tolerance to absorb such setbacks.
With the growth of digital channel marketing, sales and partner management solutions, helping ramp up the efficacy and viability of channel programs in general, comes the challenge of implementation and maintenance. As Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions grow in popularity and complexity, with less internal overhead, and more outsourced management; having a strong partner objective, message and relationships are ever more important difference makers.
Below are just a few areas to focus on in your own program to help channel partners grow and develop a better channel sales ecosystem.
Ease partners path to success
One of the biggest barriers to the efficacy of partner programs is vendor faith in smaller partners. These partners can often key to accessing unexploited markets, have better customer relationships and are more consistently proactive members of channel programs, but their size and lack of resources can mean setup and running of the sales and marketing infrastructure required is a deal breaker. By providing scalable and easily implemented management solutions as the vendor you can lower startup hurdles, meaning a faster route for them to recover their outlay, and optimally giving you greater control and oversight to nurture their growth.
Marketing collateral support
Try and cover every possible base in terms of marketing and supporting collateral that can be leveraged by your partners easily. The whole point of your partnerships is to use the wisdom and communication opportunities they offer to move further toward your goals. Having material available that can be co-branded and delivered in the best way to suit you both via every channel (both digital and physical) can be a difference maker. As a global provider catering to many localities and languages this is often the thing we see partner programs most struggling with that we help alleviate.
Sales pipeline motivation
Channel Partnerships by their nature should be a very effective route to boost sales for both vendor and partner. Keeping partners engaged in selling your products is vital and as such offering sales incentives can often be highly useful in promoting the right products at the right times via the best partners. Coordinate your incentives to coincide with specific occasions like service updates, product launches or marketing campaigns. When the connection between something to sell, and incentives to encourage it, returns can be far higher than normal business even accounting for costs incurred.
Create informative training
Ensuring every partner is on message and directed in the right way through the channel strategy is vital to ensure a coherent and as evenly distributed a channel program as is necessary to minimise risk and guarantee success. Providing continuous training and up to the moment information to your partners is the best way to keep the entire channel environment working at its best. Fortunately the increase in need for this kind of service has meant a healthy market of dedicated platforms, that can be quickly and expertly tailored to the vendor’s needs, has grown. Using a virtual training software and incentives to keep partners tech certified, as well as up to date with marketing and sales strategy, will mean every partner has an equal opportunity to shine.
Keep customers happy
Customer Retention has long been used as a measure of corporate success and the channel should be no different. Partners value can lie within their relationships not only with their market but also with each individual customer. Taking the time and expense to help partners maintain their customer relationships via satisfaction data collection and protocol adaptation as well as occasional direct intervention with high value clients will not only give better situational control but hopefully supportively nurture partners and create quantitative insights for future planning.
Provide something for nothing
Trust is something that should be shared between all parties right across the channel pipeline, from vendor to partner to customer. Often the best way to engender this kind of trust is to provide access to a product or service with little to no cost to the interested party. Providing unfettered trial, or direct demonstration, of your suite of partner solutions before an interested prospect is recruited is much like them providing the same of your products to their customers. The best sales tool can frequently just be the product itself and a risk-free encounter promotes a good relationship and tendency to sign-on.
The Social (Partner) Network
For larger partner programs often the best way to distribute information, promote a healthy program and assess challenges or successes is in person. By creating spaces, either virtual or physical, and situations in which partners can meet and discuss the ideas and products they find compelling or troublesome, strategies and messages that work in their market the homogenisation of sound solutions will spread increasing effectiveness across the board. Combined with vendor presence and information provision events can be hyper-effective tools.
The above activities are vital to keeping channel sales enablement high in your program. Where implemented strongly and consistently the channel produces a diverse network of sellers that are ready, willing and able to help develop your brand, effectively push your messaging, and adapt your solutions to perform for their niche.
The better the support provided to your partners, the greater their opportunity to help reach your mutual goals. For support from a channel agency with over 20 years experience take a look at some of the powerful channel sales enablement strategies Gorilla employ in every project.