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Channel Partner Programs Working
Channel Partner Programs Working

I work with channel programs all the time, so I know the real pros at making these programs successful are our clients. That said, I thought it would be of interest to list out some of the keys to success that seem to keep coming up when I talk with those pros about their programs.

Here are the core components that should fold into a successful channel program:

 

1) Minimize Complexity In All Ways

Your channel partners deal with many, many vendors who use many, many different ordering, invoice systems and other programs. They don’t have time to learn an entirely new way to interact with you. Instead, all of your interactions should be kept as simple and intuitive as possible.

2) Make sure your product or service adds value to their business

At the end of the day, your channel partner doesn’t want to have to spend a lot of time, money or energy marketing your product. They simply want your product to sell and increase their profits. So, help create a demand for your product so that it will “sell itself.”

3) Let your partners understand the three basic value builders you will provide them

Your channel partners are interested in how many new customers you will help them generate, how much the value of each transaction will be from each new customer, and how many of those customers will become repeat customers. Focus your communications on these three main concepts.

4) Don’t put them in charge of your brand

You are responsible for your branding efforts. They are not. You can’t expect them to create customized logos or templates, or handle the marketing of your brand. Take control of your branding efforts so they provide value to the channel partners.

5) Work with managed service providers

A fair number of companies are turning to managed service providers to streamline their ordering process. Each managed service provider will have their own list of preferred vendors. Those MSPs will not put you on their preferred vendor list unless you are willing to work with them and their systems.

6) Know when to stay with a channel partner and when to move on

No channel partner will want to work with you forever. There is a lifecycle to every business relationship. Eventually you and the partner will move on. This means you have to keep track of what’s going on with each and every channel partner you work with. Focus most of your marketing efforts on partners that are new, or are still placing a significant number of orders. When you notice that a partner starts to be less and less interested in your products and services, realize that’s natural part of doing business and start devoting fewer resources to them, so you have more available resources for the still active partners.

7) Seriously: Minimize complexity in all ways

I know I’ve already listed this, but it’s just so important! The best programs go to great lengths to try and keep the hurdles required to work together to an absolute minimum.

 

The overall theme is that you and your channel partners are out to grow your own respective businesses.  Your channel partners are working with a number of different vendors, each with their own rules, tools and processes.  Keep a channel mindset and make it easy for your channel partners to work with you.  You will capture channel mindshare and grow a successful and profitable business together.

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