Many channel partners work with multiple vendors and have access to numerous products or services. So how can you build relationships to stand out from the crowd?
A successful channel program has many elements that work together. The obvious ones are vendor and partner alignment, and demand for the vendor’s products or services within the partner’s customer base. The third element that channel professionals sometimes forget is a genuine relationship between the vendor and partner. Whether you are starting a new channel program from scratch or managing an established channel program, building partner relationships for new and existing partners should be an essential part of your channel strategy. Partners often work with multiple vendors in an industry, and your relationship with the partner can strongly influence how they perceive your products and services.
Imagine having a product or service ready to launch on a large scale. You have interested partners with experience in your industry, and your partners have a thriving customer base that could benefit from your product or service. What could go wrong? If you fail to create genuine long-term relationships with your partners, your products or services may never reach full potential.
What can you do to cultivate long-lasting relationships with your partners?
Your partners do not formally report to you the way an employee would, but you rely on them to keep your channel moving forward. You do not want to be a pushy vendor – your goal is to motivate and coach without being annoying. Every time you contact your partners, you are tapping into your partner’s valuable time. You need to make sure your communication delivers value or is necessary for your partner’s success. Consider every communication with your partners as a reflection of you and your company, and aim for quality over quantity.
Do not stand in the way of your partners closing a deal. Each deal is different, and if your sales process cannot adapt to your partner’s needs, you may find yourself missing out on opportunities. If your partners continue to bring on potential deals and are unable to close due to your processes, you will lower morale, and they will begin to bring their opportunities to other vendors. Your partners will remember the times you did something special to help them win business, and it will go a long way in building genuine relationships.
Your partner relationships rely on authentic interactions, not gimmicks. Occupying your partner’s time with leaderboards and competitions may generate partner activity in the short term, but your partners will miss the relationship-building aspect of your partnership. You should engage your partners with activities that provide value, such as training, marketing funds, or leads. Developing meaningful engagements for your partners will move your program forward and set you up for long-term success.
As a channel manager, you most likely rely on a channel management solution to help streamline your process and reduce your daily workload. While you can simplify certain aspects of your program, do not outsource partner contact. Personal contact with partners should be meaningful, and your partners should feel that you are available to them when they need you. It is helpful to utilize tools to manage your workload, but the tools should allow you to see trends on when to have personal interactions with your partners, not remove interaction altogether.
Utilize A Partner Relationship Management (PRM) Solution
A full-featured PRM solution reduces the administrative work involved in running a channel and gives you more time to focus on partner relationships. In addition, real-time partner data helps you see trends and guide your interactions with partners. For example, data from your PRM can indicate sales cycle bottlenecks that warrant a conversation to move deals along and help partners be more successful.
Channeltivity is a PRM solution that helps you keep your partner data organized to maintain better partner relationships. Having a self-service portal like Channeltivity allows you to support more partners with less effort, allowing you to spend time building relationships with your partners. Channeltivity is easy to use, fast to set up and integrates with HubSpot and Salesforce.
Ready to build long-term, lasting relationships with your partners? Explore Channeltivity with a demo from our team. Find out why 40,000+ channel professionals use Channeltivity to manage their channel programs.