Does your channel management partner portfolio reflect the larger goals of your company?
With the demands of day-to-day responsibilities it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. It’s important though to take a step back and consider whether the channel is positioned to actually support your company’s wider corporate strategy.
Are your current channel partners the right ones to scale with planned growth? For example, if the CEO wants to increase sales without expanding the direct sales force, the channel can be the right strategy – if your current partners have the capacity, and initiative, to sell significantly more of your product.
One way to measure this is to compare partner revenue to direct sales revenue. If it takes a dozen or more partners to equal the revenue of a single direct sales person, your current set of partners may never be up to the task. You may need to find bigger companies and/or distributors to partner with that have better reach into your market.
Efficiently aligning channel strategy with corporate strategy also requires that channel managers have a good database of information about their partners, especially fully populated partner profiles. You don’t want to make a shift based on assumptions about what your partners have to offer or what they lack.
For example, let’s say a company selling a database product to mid-size businesses is learning that their product is actually most effective for large businesses with large databases.
On the surface, it would seem it’s time for this vendor to shift to partners with enterprise customers. This would mean they needed to embark on an enterprise sales training program for current partners, or move away from them entirely and over to new partners already operating in the enterprise arena. Either way, they would be slowing their time to market.
But if their channel program already had a policy of establishing profiles and populating them with useful information, they could quickly determine that though few of their partners in fact sold to enterprise customers, many of them had customers with databases large enough to get the full value from the product.
Now it’s a simple matter of providing new product training and sales materials through your partner portal to partners with whom the vendor already has a relationship. No need for new recruits or to persuade and coach current partners on shifting their sales strategy.