Partners can extend market coverage of your products, services and solutions into different geographies, customer segments and industry verticals. Partners add further value by having ready built sales and support teams, as well as being seen as trusted advisors by enterprise and government customers. In addition, they are able to develop full solutions as a result of their knowledge and expertise of the customer’s industry and the technologies that need to be brought together to solve customer problems.
A well-constructed partner program translates the needs of the different partner types you need to cover the market, into a framework through which you can execute your partner sales and support strategy. The partner program acts as a value proposition to your existing and target partners in terms of what you need of them and what they can expect of you. It also provides the guiding principles of how you intend to conduct business with your partners.
For assistance in setting up a Partner Program Blueprint, please contact Channel Mechanics
The starting point for development of your partner and distributor go-to-market strategy is your technology roadmap – what customer problems does it solve, which customer segments, verticals and geographies does it target and over what timeline? Then, how do you cover those customers, with your own direct teams and/or with partners? Finally, what value can you bring to these target customers versus your partners? What do you need from your partners in terms of coverage, capabilities and competency?
Once you’ve made this assessment you can begin to map out your go-to-market strategy at both the partner and, potentially, distributor level. By setting out the type, number and scale of partners you need, you can begin to consider how you identify, recruit, on-board and develop these partners to represent you in the market.
For assistance in setting up a Channel Go-to-Market strategy, please contact Channel Mechanics
By systematically introducing checkpoints and checklists into your product or service introduction process, you can ensure partners are able to get the most market coverage of your offers. Too often offers are released with only the customer in mind and not the actual partner. By introducing simple checks and procedures into your offer development process you can ensure partners are able to market, sell, support and operationally manage opportunities and orders as if they were an extension of your own teams.
For assistance in setting up Channel Partner Ready Offers, please contact Channel Mechanics
The difference between simply having a channel and being a preferred vendor is often down to how easy it is to do business with you, as a vendor. This goes beyond the relationship and sales engagement but talks to how easy it is to be on-boarded, get access to marketing & sales resources and tools, pricing and solution configuration, all the way through to order placement.
The development of a partner focused operating model with the appropriate systems, tools and processes is a key differentiator for vendors after their brand and sales offers. It requires investment and a highly cross-functional team but the outcome in terms of scaling and growth of business through partners can be highly rewarding.
For advice on Channel Operational Enablement Best Practice, please contact Channel Mechanics
In order to increase your brand and offer awareness, partners typically want to make use of your brand and marketing resources. This can take the form of product, service and solution content, whitepapers, demand generation campaigns, lead referrals, trade shows and events, joint marketing planning and market / marketing development funds (MDF).
By constructing a comprehensive partner marketing strategy, partners can position your brand and offers locally and work hand-in-hand with your own marketing teams to increase customer consideration of your offers.
For advice on Channel Marketing Enablement Best Practice, please contact Channel Mechanics
Partners and your own sales teams need clarity on when and how to engage on different customer accounts / opportunities and competitive scenarios (either with you as vendor or with other partners). A clear guide on engagement can ensure predictability of sales engagement, when additional support on an opportunity can be expected and when you simply expect partners to compete with each other to win business.
In addition, partners need a similar sales toolkit to your own sales teams in terms of supporting the sales motion – this can be in the form of demo products, opportunity management, quoting, configuration, customer trial programs, price promotions and so forth. Giving partners the right sales tools to support their conversation with potential customers will undoubtedly lead to increased deal conversion.
For advice on Channel Sales Enablement Best Practice, please contact Channel Mechanics
Keeping partners informed and skilled on how to position, sell and support your offers is often seen as a burden. But protecting the customers’ interests in terms of finding the right solution for their problems and ensuring it is implemented and supported to the highest standard, protects your brand.
Depending on the complexity of your products, services and solutions and the frequency with which new offers are brought to market, having a structured knowledge management process for partners can help assure the customer experience. This might include content development, training (on-site, classroom or online) and even certification or testing. Some vendors invest in Learning Management Systems to facilitate knowledge management and make technology, product, service and solution certifications a pre-requisite for joining the partner program.
Contact Channel Mechanics for assistance in setting up a Knowledge Management Resource
Having the right dials to turn in terms of pricing, sales programs & promotions and incentives & rewards, allows partners get to the right price to win business. It also gives partners the tools to support the sales conversation and drive investment in anything from cross-selling of offer lines, new customer acquisition, growth performance and sales rep preference & rewards.
By building out a compensation framework that embraces all of these elements, vendors can segment, differentiate and target different market segments, industry verticals, competitive attack and/or defence strategies as well as driving partner behaviours and investment.
Contact Channel Mechanics today for assistance in setting up a Channel Partner Incentive & Rewards Program