- On January 18, 2021
With the advent of a new year and the winding down and starting up of new initiatives January is often a very dynamic time to be a partner channel agency. Partner programs like many business practices often are realised, reviewed and renewed within the first 30 days of the new calendar. Consequently, it’s also the time vendors have the most questions about how best to grow their channel activities into a new era of prosperity. With that in mind lets delve deep into a few ideas to help enhance your partner channel development and reach your goals.
How can you develop a channel partner?
It’s the age-old question and understanding is key to moving forward in a partner program unfettered, so just how do you develop a channel partner? What is crucial to understand at first is that developing a channel partnership is not a process in itself but a symptom of great strategy and implementation across your channel system. There are ways to nurture partnerships and grow relationships with partners but development comes from the root, the very foundation of the entire partner ecosystem that you as a vendor foster.
As a vendor how should I develop my channel?
That question has a far more direct but also complex answer. We all appreciate that channel development at its most fundamental level is dedication and drive to increase revenue creation from sales via the use of disparate distribution channels and strategies. The vital features of this cycle of development from a vendors’ viewpoint can be summarised in a few key points:
- Coherent & Comprehensive Channel Strategy
- Honed Partner Selection & Assessment
- Fast & Effective Partner Recruitment
- Observance of a flexible Channel Process
- Devoted & Consistent Channel Enablement
Having all of these aspects in place and considered highly at every stage of the vendor channel development process fosters a healthy and productive channel for vendor, partner and customer alike undoubtedly heightening the chances of program success.
What steps can I take to develop and manage my channel?
Research and Strategize
Knowledge as ever is king to achieving your goals, heading into your partnerships the more information you have the better. The key things to focus on are: identifying your ideal customers and markets are. You will have already analysed this for your own company and there will be some overlap but remember different markets and different partners will have different ideals from your own. Its always best to carry out as much market research about your customers as possible, visit trade shows to meet them in person and analyse local competition. Think about how your customers do business, the channels they’re already using and what would need to change to make them spend more. Next move on to the channels themselves. Devise the value of each channel taking the potential customer base and making realistic projections of reach and spend were you to enter the market in that manner.
Next concoct your strategy taking into account all you’ve learned. Create reachable sales aspirations, both sales goals and pipeline growth targets and establish metrics that let you know whether you’re on track to meet those goals. Confirm which markets you will be targeting create your typical customer profiles and begin to think about the partners you’ll need to get you to them.
Select, Recruit and Nurture
Partners are the lifeblood of your channel program and so they should be treated with the utmost respect from day 1. Since they will be the ones selling your products and services on your behalf there needs to be true alignment between your business and theirs in all respects. Take time to research each potential partner discover their strength and weaknesses and plan around how to make the most of their potential. Approach every new meeting with reverence and passion.
The idea that knowledge is power doesn’t just come into play for your research, it’s also invaluable for onboarding your partners. Ensure your partners are furnished with all the information and training they need to effectively start promoting your services. The better they understand your product, and company ethos, the more in-line their execution will be.
Making life as easy as possible for your partners to enhance your channel development is the best way to compete in an already overstuffed field of viable partner programs. Make sure your partners are effectively enabled by providing the materials they need to convey your value proposition and product offering to potential new customers. Employing a cloud-based resource to contain all these marketing resources, high quality collateral and strategy documentation means your partners have unlimited access, anytime, anywhere.
Stay the Course for Channel Success
The biggest challenge facing most businesses around their channel development is frankly just struggling to keep it up. Partner programs and especially continual recruitment, onboarding and enablement are a huge tax on resources and keeping partners happy and productive can seem like a never ending task. However, they are worth the effort, with on average, partners contributing 23 percent of overall company revenue. With an average partnership revenue growth rate of 17.5 percent, an Impact Forrester study found. Taking this into account it seems prudent to value partners highly and put a lot into making relationships work. Take a symbiotic approach to everything from business and marketing strategy to website production and product innovation. The closer you can be with your partners and more mutually aligned your goals the more your potential will grow.
Does your partner channel development still lack that cutting edge stopping you from performing to the best of your abilities, is the prospect of creating and managing your own partner program too daunting or seem cost inefficient? Get in touch and see what Gorilla can do to help you with everything from competitor research and marketing strategy, to proprietary PRM software and 1-to-1 concierge partner management.