Continuation of last week’s blog feature entitled: “Partner Channel Management – 6 Rules To succeed (Part 1).
6 Rules of Partner Channel Management
Having discussed the first half of the six rules, let us move to the remaining three that your channel partnership can employ for optimum performance of channel sales.
4. Accept The New Channel Partnership Model
The basic structure of the channel partner program has remained the same for many organizations despite the changes in technological advancement these past few years. Partner agreements are outlined into three or four levels in accordance with partners’ earning certain skills certifications and earning a certain level of revenue for the vendor. Based on the attained results, vendors are also obliged to provide benefits or rewards. These have remained unchanged throughout the years.
Industry Standards Have Changed
- The cloud has changed client buying dynamics. This is indicated by the shifting of buying solutions from capital expenses to operating expenditures. A sizable budget was removed from custom solutions comprehensive models of proof of concepts and unique implementation models.
- The value model was redefined by new kinds of buyers. CMOs rather than CIOs focused more on technology and this was just the start of a big change. Buyers of technology increasingly came from outside of IT and they look for a different kind of business prowess from channel partners. Non-IT buyers then opened the doors to a different set of channel partners, who are not easily categorized under technology partners.
- Partner business models progressed. For some years, many partners have closely aligned themselves to their preferred vendor’s tactical goals in the form of resellers and/or service providers. However, this is not the case anymore. Many partners now provide core value to their clients independent of a single vendor. Also, vendor solutions ceased to be the primary concern of a sale.
For vendors, this requires improving your partner engagement.
Here are three ways to consider if you want to improve partner engagement.
- Your partner program must address the need for a foundational structure that will support your channel partnership.
- Strive to deliver partner enablement in your partner program.
- Remember that partner management serves as the booster for partner enablement.
Everything is vital; When coordinated, each magnifies the other’s outcomes
To achieve good coordination, here are seven principles that you can follow.
- Simple, gated delivery: As a partner, you must understand the vendor’s need to guard and limit access to their data, tools, and resources. However, they can also easily be frustrated when a vendor enforces barriers that limit the partner’s ability to sell, promote, or develop within the vendor’s platform. To encourage cooperation, create open access to information and resources through a gated threshold. Using a tool that enables your vendors to log in and access your product or service information and other resources you provide will go a long way towards gaining their support.
- Data-Driven Insights: Have a program design that gives access to the data that you and your vendors need. Consider having and providing access to your product or service, your client base, and the levels of engagement. This information can help you generate useful insights for your business.
- Flexible Benchmarks: Channel partners have become multi-faceted and are constantly improving. Thus, you cannot clearly categorize them easily. Due to this, your program must have the flexibility to address this need and allow you to take advantage of various kinds of channel partners. Create a model that will reward partners depending on the value they provide to clients.
- Joint Business Planning: Take your business planning to a higher level with your partners. Find a connection between your planning and partner development, incentives, and partner management endeavors. Likewise, your systems and processes must allow basic, programmatic business planning with your partners.
- IP Advancement Support: Quite possibly the most challenging part for a vendor to accept because this is often to create client value in the partner’s offering and not the vendor’s. A channel partnership can be attained if mutual success is made possible.
- Co-selling Approach: Vendor leaders may be assumed to have two parts in their channel sales model namely direct sales and partner sales. However, co-selling is actually the more dominant option. This entails a balanced compensation, clear rules of engagement, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities of partners and vendors.
- Lead Management Structure: The basic thinking is that both partners and vendors want to handle their sales costs, boost the sales pipeline as well as increase client lifetime worth. Remember that all these areas are equally important and must have their values created as they can all be prime business drivers for your partner’s marketing efforts.
5. Design Incentives To Initiative Behavior
When you decide about channel incentives, incorporate the partner behavior that you want to limit or boost. When you measure each investment success, check how this drove the desired behavior as well as the return on investment (ROI).
Partner behavior can be classified into these groups
- Are the partners focusing on the clients and solutions you want?
- Can you protect your best partners with benefits that encourage their loyal and their client’s as well?
- Are the channel partners meeting your requirements plus receiving sufficient rewards to be satisfied?
- Are the partners achieving the results you want?
The structural and operating elements of a partner investment framework must gear towards the desired partner behavior. Thus, there is a need to monitor the performance measures and incentive structures so they will boost such behavior. A company has to design its partner program to boost such behaviors consistently, regularly, and in measurable ways. On the other hand, it must also be flexible and responsive enough to cater to shifting market conditions. Creating such a problem is challenging since most partners want a stable and constant program. At the same time, changing the systems can require precious time.
How about adding these tools to your program?
- Partner Segmentation: Set proper criteria for your ideal channel partner. This enables you to easily identify and contact them. This also improves your communications.
- Creating Expertise: Record partner sales training is done on your product or service. This is called partner enablement as it boosts the ability to determine which partners have become competent and passionate about your product or service.
- Measurement: Monitor performance and specific goals. This allows you to maintain the alignment of leadership among partnership goals.
- Rewards: Set and provide specific rewards when channel partners achieve desired goals. This can actually boost partner retention.
6. Define A Channel Operations Model
Strategy cites the proper things to do while effective implementation makes effective companies stand out and be noticed. Many senior managers have developed an instinctive sense of how effective their channel operations are. However, these must be measured objectively, since intuition is quite meaningless.
5 Levels of Excellent Execution For Each Operational Process
- Unstructured Execution: There are usually some formal processes prepared.
- Ad-Hoc Execution: There can be a mixture of successes and losses. This approach is somewhat random and may depend on an individual’s strengths. There may only be a few standard processes under this. However, organizational intelligence may be poorly documented and can collapse as individuals leave.
- Structured Execution: This has a constant operational structure prepared. What’s more, regular meetings and proper communications are done. However, this may not be as effective since there is a set process but the staff may not always follow them. Knowledge often stays in a team. When a company reaches this level of performance, they can achieve better execution.
- Advanced Execution: The standard procedures are determined and followed in this level. Also, a regular business rhythm is expected. You can also see structured corporate planning but this is often disconnected from either individual or team commitment setting.
- Robust Execution: At this level, processes are followed and documented. You can see a pervasive learning culture including detailed feedback collected. The focus of execution progresses to not just executing it but also on having continuous improvement. You can expect a strong alignment of goals, investments as well as commitments. As a result, your organization achieves proper enhancement at this level.
Channel Partnership: The Bottom Line
The traditional strategy to channel partnership runs similarly to that of an operations program. Operational elements are still relevant but companies cannot afford to proceed further with this approach. The more dependent partners and alliances become, the more likely that you win clients by winning channel partners.
In line with this, having the right channel partners to work with plus these six rules to implement so you can have proper alignment of channel strategy and company objectives will result in mutual success. Remember that a well-structured channel partnership gives you a stable framework that can competently respond to the changing market conditions.
Using the right approach will afford you to have a successful channel partnership that is the key driver for your successful marketing strategy.
Join a channel that employs strategies that boost great channel partnerships among the channel partners. With the Forzadash community, you can expect mutual success with your chosen partners. To book a meeting, call here now.