Hello 2017: 4 Considerations for a Successful New Channel Year

By: Raegan Wilson

2017 brings the opportunity to set goals and reflect on the accomplishments of the previous year. How did your program perform in 2016? What can you improve in 2017?

If you haven’t already, take some time and think back to the goals you set in 2016. Identify the 2-3 major program successes you had and identify what you did right. Also, identify a couple of areas you can improve on. Here are 4 program areas to think about in 2017.

Realistic Planning

Start the year by setting realistic program goals and a detailed plan to achieve them. Map out each of your goals by identifying critical milestones and resources needed. Assess your goals each month and adjust each quarter. If you cannot identify the steps you need to take to accomplish a goal, don’t set it until you can. Set your program up for success by setting goals that you can deliver on for your hello-2017-blog-postpartners. This will save you and your partners major frustration.

Partner Success

Set your sights in 2017 on making your partners successful by changing the way you think about, and work with, partners. This could include helping partners identify target accounts, training them on the buyer’s journey (it has likely changed), helping them market through social media or more proactive communication. Shift focus to what you can do for your partners instead of what your partners can do for you.

Listen Better

Now more than ever you need to listen to your partners…really listen. Your partners have their fingers on the pulse of the customer, and they know what is going on in the market. Take the time to ask your partners what they are hearing from prospects and customers and show you care enough to act. Provide your partners an environment, like a partner portal, to give you timely feedback and input. This will lead to better roadmaps, customer centered solutions, and partners that are part of the solution.

Recruit to Retain

Proper recruitment isn’t just about signing on new partners; it is about making them successful quickly and keeping them productive long term. Retention starts with identifying an ideal partner profile, recruiting partners that match the profile, managing them through on-boarding and helping them succeed. What is your partner retention rate? If you don’t know the answer, figure it out.

When assessing retention look at the number of partners in your program against the active, productive, and engaged partners in your program. If your retention rate is high, you are likely recruiting the right partners and they are seeing success. If your retention rate is low, you will need to assess your partner profile and recruiting strategy. Look at the partners that are successful and model your program on their similarities.

Whether your program is starting out or has been established for years, make 2017 about partner success and retention through setting and measuring realistic goals and actively listening to your partners. These 4 considerations will help you on your way to achieving your program goals this year.

About Raegan Wilson

Raegan Wilson is the Founder of Channel Squared Consulting, and is an Advisor to Channeltivity. She has spent the past 16 years working for and with channel companies, and understands the intricacies of channel programs. Raegan is a recognized channel sales expert and has shared her experiences at numerous events including SiriusDecisions Summit, Salesforce.com’s Dreamforce, Baptie’s Channel Focus North America Conference.