Channel partner programs are a great tool for jump-starting revenue growth.
They’re seen as a cost-effective way to reach and acquire more customers and can help you grow beyond your internal sales capabilities.
However, for your channel partner program to be successful, you need to do it right. It starts with establishing clear objectives around channel engagement, value-based programs and consistent communication to partners.
Before diving into developing a channel partner program, first, consider the below.
1. The value that you bring to channel partners
You need to start with first identifying what value your products or services bring to elevate a channel partner’s business. Why should they work with you? What is your unique offering, and how can it help bring in more business for your partners?
A strong value proposition will give you an edge. The value you provide will determine whether partners should consider learning about your solution, services or products.
Once you’ve identified your value, you can then develop the right tools and resources to share with your partners. Your program needs to be flexible enough to allow your partners to focus on their value message and key differentiators while highlighting your solutions.
2. Establish your goals
Before you start your partner program, you need to establish what the goals are for the program.
Is it to create an end-to-end solution for your customers, or perhaps to add an extra source of revenue along with the full solution? Your goals and objectives will determine how you set up your program.
Once you’ve defined your goals, you’ll need to define the parameters that will decide whether you have achieved your objectives or not. To know if your channel partner program is working or not, you need to be able to measure it.
3. A channel partnership strategy
A channel partner is there to distribute your service or product. You need to decide on the best way for them to do that.
There are three major types of channel partnership options to distribute your product:
- You sell through your partner: You sell your product through a third-party storefront. For example, a confectionary company stocking their products with various retailers.
- Your partner sells with you: Your partners sell your products as an upsell or missing value proposition. For example, a travel agent might work with a travel insurance company to upsell a travel package.
- Your partner sells for you: This is when another business uses marketing and sales resources to promote your product to new markets.
4. The types of partners to work with
You need to identify and define the type of partners that may be relevant to your business and carefully select whom you would like to partner with.
A partner is any company or organisation that can help you deliver more value to your customers. This can be value-added resellers, consultants, retailers, distributors or agencies. Obviously, their business needs to be aligned with your products and services.
Different types of partners are used to achieve different goals. For example, if your goal is to expand internationally, then reach out to partners who can help you do this.
5. How will you motivate your partners?
What is going to drive your channel partners to reach your goals? You need to define what elements can motivate your channel partners and determine what actions you will need to take to help your channel partners become better at selling.
A few ways to motivate channel partners include:
- Running events that get all partners together to educate and motivate them
- Channel partner incentive programs
- Amazing sales tools
- Passing leads on to your channel partners
Engagement is critical to your channel sales strategy. So you need to make sure that you’re able to motivate your channel partners continuously.
6. How will you support your partners?
For your partner relationships to be successful, you have to put in some effort. Before starting your program, you need to make sure that you have enough internal resources to be able to support your partners properly. This includes ongoing technical and sales training, sales and marketing tools and education programs.
Any successful channel partner program needs to ensure that partners have access to the same resources and support that any internal sales team would have.
7. The internal systems you need
Different sized channel partner programs will require different systems. Once you have a better idea around the type of program you want to create, you can start to figure out how you’re going to set it up.
These can range from Excel sheets and emails through to full-on channel partner platforms like education platforms, development forums, lead generation platforms, partner portals and support platforms.
What internal systems do you already have available? Remember, you can always start small and evolve with your channel partners over time.
Accelerate growth with a well thought out channel partner program
Having a partner program can help you reach new audiences and increase your sales. However, it needs to be well thought out and continuously developed. Before starting your channel partner program, you first need to consider what value you can offer partners and how you can adequately support them in your partnership. A successful partnership requires effort from both sides.