In Part 2 we examine the subject of partner selection. Here we ask the question, will this new partnership increase geographical and vertical market coverage for both vendor and partner?
At Junction we have developed an approach called Channel Activation. Channel Activation is designed to build long-term business relationships between a vendor and a technology partner (reseller). Executed well, it delivers planned, measured and successful commercial partnerships.
In a series of blogs I will examine and explain our ‘10 Step process for Channel Partner Success’ (CPS). This process helps to build success in the activation of channels for both new and established vendors seeking to attract new partners to new and existing segments of their portfolio.
Let’s discuss the answers to my question in five steps:
- Existing size of business i.e. number of staff and annual $ turnover. Firstly we need to understand the size of the partners business. Is their business big enough to cope with the introduction of another vendor? Do they have the internal resources to fulfill all the initial requirements of the vendor to become certified correctly, which includes the necessary product and sales training, plus the ability to actually sell and maintain these solutions? Vendors need to have a clear plan when it comes to new partner recruitment and they should have identified from their channel map (see part 1) the types of partners that they need to attract and recruit in order to help them achieve their targets. Vendors need to stick to the plan and not recruit partners that were not part of the channel mapping exercise.
- What are the core offers & skillset? When it comes to recruiting new channel partners Vendors make simple mistakes when they try and recruit similar partners to their existing and loyal partners. The whole point of partner recruitment is to try and select partners are different and that can help reach new markets and expand the vendor’s end user customer base.
- Geography – is this a new territory for the vendor to gain coverage? It is vital to ask the question as to whether the partner covers a geography or territory that was previously not being covered for the vendor by existing partners, i.e. Channel Isles? Can that partner offer an alternative to a competitive vendor that may already be operating in that territory? The basic concept of a channel is to allow the vendor to reach more of the market by having the right partners in the right places to fulfill on the demand. Partnership needs to be win-win for both parties to become a real success.
- Vertical market approach and proven success in those markets. Another reason for recruiting new partners is to address new markets. Partners can really specialize in markets like that of the Charity Sector, Manufacturing or Finance. These are areas of rapid business growth over the past few years, particularly online media and digital advertising.
- Other complimentary vendors to develop solution packages. Alliance partnerships marketing is constantly gaining momentum. When two recognizable brands come together and offer a solution to the market they will have a guaranteed audience plus each other’s customer base. Therefore if a partner can harness the marketing awareness and momentum of two brands that they represent and sell that story into their customer base, that will be a win-win-win for all parties involved. Vendors will be attracted to partners that display this type of marketing leadership.
In summary, the lure for a vendor to recruit as many new partners as possible needs to be accompanied by a measured and planned approach. Follow the five steps above to ensure that as a vendor, you have taken the correct steps in the process for Channel Partner Success.