Building a Successful Sales Channel
Best Practices to a Highly Productive Sales Channel
- Develop Channel Partner categories based on their solutions base (product lines and diversity, services, locations, etc.).
- Rank the Partners in each category by relevant metrics (revenue contribution, margins, emerging market sales, etc.).
- Determine the alignment between the top and emerging Partners’ goals and your firm’s goals (you can’t push a rope).
- Determine the business drivers of your top and emerging Partners. Most are margin driven, which means they’ll have invested in service infrastructure and service expertise, since services not only round-out the solution offering but typically provide higher margins.
- Develop Channel Programs that align closely with these business drivers (otherwise, they’ll go with whichever firm does!). This step may include creating Technical Certification levels.
- Create a deal registration program to avoid channel conflict.
- Measure! Be sure to tie back any investments made to the specific channel programs and the specific channel partners who participated.
- Communicate! Be sure to interact with your top and emerging Partners regularly. Don’t assume that your emails are being read. Lack of communication is a typical Partner complaint.
What happens to the non-productive (as defined by your firm’s channel management team) channel partners? It comes down to two basic choices. Option one is to keep them but do not invest in supporting them (including providing free technical phone support). Option two is terminate their reselling agreement and part ways as it’s obvious the two companies are not a good match for each other.
By nurturing your most productive channel partners, you build an elite channel community who is loyal to your brand.