Last week I was at the Baptie conference (which was great by the way) and I helped with a workshop where heads of channel programs got together to discuss what could be done to make their companies easier to work with for channel partners.

I thought I would put up our notes so that we could continue to expand on this through the blog comments.

Listen To Your Partners

1)  Regional partner advisory councils
2)  Qualitative research advisory councils
3)  Use social media to monitor feedback from partners
4)  Utilize 3rd parties to facilitate moderated PAC
5)  Acquisition on boarding – with as much personal interaction as is feasible
6)  As much executive involvement as possible
7)  Surveys are good, but it may be better if key partners are called
8)  Validate changes in program with partners before they are implemented

Provide Tools (but make it easy!)

9)  Use a partner portal to aggregate access to all relevant programs (the fewer the better)
10)  “Marketing in a box” – turnkey marketing programs for partners
11)  Partner locator: incorporate into website on functionality pages based on partners certificationsbChannels helpful in bringing this out
12)  Technical enablement – videos are great – Brainshark does a nice job here
13)  Playbooks on partner portal
14)  Provide a demo on a hosted environment – provides for both learning and demo availability
15)  Single log-in helps greatly
16)  Scaling up CAMs so they can have business discussions
17)  Surveys where the results are collected and then shared back
18)  For deal registration, make sure admin at partners can do all required actions

Team with Other Vendors to Provide Spurt for Solutions Sales

You may want to check with distributors about putting these together. It’s difficult but many partners seem to be looking for this support:

19)  Drag in dollars from other products – why this so important
20)  Alliances – Blocks- OEM
21)  Partner to Partner exercises with joint offerings

Focus on Partner Development

22)  Focused and targeted
23)  Special training that targets SEs – they are great for getting product included in solutions
24)  Using hosted environments
25)  Dedicated Channel Technical Partner Manager to help develop partners
26)  Make Opportunity planning part of CAM discussion (Picking segments & planning marketing initiatives to gain traction)
27)  Product marketing folks shouldn’t do training – leads to wrong focus
28)  Provide a partner help desk

Pay Incentives Quickly

29)  Table based predictable incentives (This quarter drives future rebate – allows rebates to be paid right away instead of waiting until end of quarter – 30 vs. 90 days)
30)  MDF Funding via approved SFDC campaigns

Transparency of Rules / Visibility

31)  Clear documentation on how leads are distributed
32)  Clear definition of what gets approved for MDF (Link MDF to approved business plans so CAMs have a chance to discuss)
33)  Clear rules of engagement
34)  Publish who is close to qualifiying for club
35)  Partners might think they are fine, but seeing they aren’t doing as well as some similar companies can fire them up to do even better
36)  Set up partner scorecards

Reduce Response Time

37)  800 phone number
38)  One point of contact
39)  Social, e.g. chatter (Warning – Some people have tried and turned this off as it became just a way to magnify complaints. Confidential information was also distributed too freely)

Once again, if you see something I missed, just let me know and I’ll add it. If you think we are off on one of these suggestions, use the comment section below and put it up for discussion.