They say breaking up is hard to do, it can be even harder when you have put time and resources into recruiting your channel. Recruiting partners is an essential part of every channel program and a hard thing to get perfect right out of the gate. It takes time to hone in on the ideal partner profile and figure out which partners align best with your goals. Unfortunately, some partners simply will not meet the mark, but when do you let them go? Here are 4 indicators it might be time to break up with a partner.
Lack of Financial Impact
Your products and services should have a positive impact on your partner’s bottom line. If a partner has not registered a lead, project, referral, or deal in the entire time they have been a partner, they are not realizing the financial benefit of your program, and neither are you. Take time to review your partner data, if partners have been around for a while and are not actively working with you, find out why. Have you not been able to show your value effectively enough? That’s an opportunity to engage them and get them selling. You may also find out that you’re just not a good fit. This is the best sign it is probably time to say goodbye.
Good partners are engaged partners. Engagement can come in the form of asking questions, sending emails, downloading content, reviewing training, and other learning activities. Look at how your partners are engaging with your program; did they complete your onboarding process, are they logging into your portal, are they interacting with your team, are they reading your communications. Reviewing these metrics will help you identify partners that could be on the brink of bringing in business. If the answer to these questions is no, you have partners by name and not action.
The right partners add value to your business beyond just selling your product. These partners bring industry knowledge and experience, they are trusted advisors to their client base, they can easily identify your target market and add value to your program. If your partners to not display this critical business alignment this could be an indicator that they will not add value in your program.
Accountability breeds responsibility. You cannot expect your partners to hold themselves responsible for the program metrics you have put in place. An annual or quarterly business planning meeting and a subsequent plan are vital to a healthy channel program. Well aligned partners will work with you to set goals and make strides towards your joint plan. A well-executed and reviewed partner business plan strategy will help you determine which partners need to be removed from your program.
It’s important to remember that the number of partners in your program does not drive the level of your program’s success. Active, enabled, aligned, performing partners drive channel success. Focus on identifying and replicating successful partners and remove those that are dead weight. These activities will help ensure the success and longevity of your partner program.