Alligators in the channel?

Chinese alligatorIf a customer has a bad experience, they will tell on average ten people before they get the venom out of their system.  The cost of this, one could argue, is equivalent to ten lost deals.  This is why companies have made it a priority to manage and measure customer satisfaction through a variety of systems including CRM (Customer Relationship Management).  No one questions the need or the value that these types of systems provide to this end, however, it only is designed to measure customer activity.  What about your partners?

If a dissatisfied customer tells ten people, how many people does a dissatisfied partner tell? (Yes, this should be a Holy S*#T moment for you.)  That’s right, they never stop talking about it.  They are now armed with deep knowledge of your poorly run company and are selling your competitor’s product.  This is the reason that a poorly launched and managed channel program could spell disaster for your business.  Especially if your competitors are getting it right.

Over the years, I have heard channel managers say that their C-level executives don’t see the need for a Partner Relationship Management system or that they want to see how the program succeeds before they invest in one. The latter argument is more frequent and coincidentally the more dangerous of the two.

A bit of advice:

If you’re planning to launch into the channel, don’t dip your toe in alligator-infested waters.  Commit to it!  Good channel partners will have little patience for a vendor that does not have the basics down.  A strong partner portal with a PRM back-end is the foundation of a well-run channel program. It provides your partners the tools they need to be successful and the tools you need to make sure you keep them happy.  Investing in PRM will keep you from being up to your ass in alligators.