Best Practices for Business Planning in the Channel

No one likes planning, right? But we might as well face facts: joint planning with partners as part of your channel management strategy is a critical best practice, and vendors that make the effort are much better positioned to have a successful channel. Here are three key practices for doing the planning in a way that makes it worth the effort.

Use Joint Business Planning as a Way to Keep Partners Engaged
Joint planning keeps your partnerships from going dormant.  Vendors usually start out well with their new partners: They have agreements, they have the portal in place, they have their deal registration, they have great discounts.

Things are moving along beautifully for the first 30, 60 or 90 days. They probably have some type of a ramp up plan.

But then what?

The partnership falls into limbo after those exciting kick-off months. Sales reps always go for the next shiny object (i.e., a different vendor’s product), so you’ve got to keep them engaged. A joint business plan clarifies goals and serves as a motivator by reminding everyone what you’re working toward.

Make Sure the Joint Business Plan is a Living Document that Vendors and Partners Refer to Regularly
The plan shouldn’t die a slow death on the partner manager’s hard drive. The beauty of having a portal like Channeltivity is that the joint business plan can be configured so either side can create, edit, or read it. You can make sure it’s in front of partners every time they log on. They can refer back to it easily, and see how they’re progressing against goals.

This makes quarterly reviews easier too. Maybe we agreed to a quarterly goal of $25,000 and we can see we’re only at $15,000. This gets everybody focused on how to close the gap.

Make Planning Easy as Possible – Otherwise It Won’t Happen
You never know the skill level of the people engaging with your partners or partner organizations, and sales people typically prefer selling to planning.

So making it easy is critical to making it happen. With Channeltivity, joint business planning only requires completing a form, and that takes all the stress out of it, meaning it’s more likely to get done.

See more of our Best Practices blog posts:

PRM Best Practices: Partner Engagement in the Portal
PRM Best Practices: Re-Thinking Marketing Development Funds
PRM Best Practices: Deal Registration