Common Channel Blind Spots
In the Channel Expert Office Hours series, channel expert Raegan Wilson answers questions about channel management. You can submit your own questions for Raegan by sending us an email.
What are common channel blind spots?
The three common channel blind spots include:
1. Lack of rules of engagement
At the highest level, the rules of engagement (RoE) for your partner program define how your team will interact with partners. The RoE should be well-defined and communicated both internally and externally. Good programs include documentation on the RoE for each key partner area including deal registration, leads, training, MDF, incentives, tiering, and support. It is critical that internal teams understand the RoE and that you have systems in place to ensure that the RoE are followed. Partners play a part in this as well and need a clear definition of what’s expected of them.
2. Not understanding partner routes to market & economic drivers
Partner organizations do not all have the same go-to-market strategy. Vendors that fail to adjust to their partner economic models will be left behind. There are 4 typical partner models:
- Service Partners,
- Development Partners,
- Transaction Partners, and
- Ecosystem Partners.
Over the last few years, there has been a shift away from the Transactional Model and toward the Ecosystem Model. The Ecosystem Model is centered on partners developing their own IP. This allows them to monetize their effort by expanding their footprint while reducing customer churn through their IP offering. If you are highly focused on Transactional Partners, you should be considering a pivot.
3. Understaffed program and operations teams
Resourcing can make or break a channel program, and the area that is most often overlooked is Partner Operations. At a high level, Partner Operations typically oversees partner data and systems. This role is responsible for all facets of operational efficiency scale, performance analysis, goal management, and the system partner sales process design. Without a Partner Operations team you will likely have data gaps. Data is a critical component of a partner program, and you need someone responsible for aggregating the data and rolling it up and across the various teams within the organization. If you do not have Partner Operations support today, make it your priority, as it will ensure you have the data to make the right program decisions.
Raegan Wilson is a managing director for The Spur Group, a channel business consultancy. She owns the firm’s platform alliance relationships and leads the channel automation and optimization strategy. Raegan has over 20 years of channel experience and possesses unique knowledge of the partner automation space.
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