Winston Churchill once said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” Without a proper business plan in place, how do we know what to expect in our channel? What will we subsequently have to compare for future reference? Failing to create a distinct business plan with your channel partners leaves them with little idea of what you expect from them – or what they should expect from you.
In reality, joint business planning is something that should be required amongst vendor companies and their partners. Without a plan in place, there is essentially no ability for anyone to be held accountable. Which, for vendors, means they’ll have little recourse for subpar performance from partners. So, how do we do this?
First, build a plan that everyone can agree upon. You then execute this plan to measure subsequent results against the initial objectives. This allows us to track all of the results throughout a given period of time and helps us understand trends in the industry. This visibility into the marketplace provides extremely valuable knowledge that can be later used to improve sales.
In short, the business plan is the foundation of any successful business operation. Without it, we have no map to lead us in the right direction.
That being said, building the proper business plan does not guarantee success by any stretch of the matter – but what it does guarantee is that you are setting expectations for your partners, measuring those expectations to real results, monitoring progress throughout the year, and getting your newly acquired partners up and running at a faster pace. Don’t let your lack of planning hinder the results you could be achieving. Build a plan that works, execute that plan, and measure the outcome.