Every single day we speak with Vendors about infrastructure to help them better engage and enable their Channels. Luckily, we’ve never built our own and refuse to take referral fees so, we remain unbiased when working with Vendors to discover what’s best for them. Putting together a robust infrastructure is typically a huge undertaking but it doesn’t have to be. It’s possible to take baby steps or take on some elements and not others.
Channel Maven Blog
From a Vendor perspective, every tool or tactic that engages and assists Channel Partners to sell or develop solutions around yours, is one day closer to them joining your top 20%. This includes content syndication offerings meant to make it easier for Partners to execute marketing tactics. Think blogs and social.
The Channel Maven team has a collective 100 years experience in the channel so, it’s probably no big surprise that we often converse about best-in-class Channel Programs and which components lead to a successful Channel. Lately, we’ve been looking at it from the Partner journey perspective and how this point of view can help build an ideal Channel Program.
When looking for Vendor options, there are of course some common elements Partners identify and review. But beyond those, how (other than looking at sponsored award winners) can they define channel success or rank channel opportunities in order to make the best decision for their situation?
As a Partner looking to add a Vendor to your portfolio, or as a Vendor trying to attract Partners, here are some factors to take into consideration:
We hear about disruption all the time in the B2C; think Netflix and Uber. However, it’s just as prevalent in B2B, particularly in the Channel with so many Vendors competing for Partner mindshare. In today’s evolving landscape, there’s really only one choice for Vendors: disrupt or be disrupted.
In today’s sea of Vendor choices, Partners look for Channel Programs that are easy to do business with and profitable so they can focus on their customers’ needs, rather than the needs of their Vendors. With “ease of doing business and expertise” as the driving factors, many Vendors have responded by deploying virtual sales and marketing teams. For most, it’s a well-oiled machine - except for one small glitch. What happens when the Partner needs pre or post sales technical support?
In our last newsletter, we offered a complimentary Channel assessment to the first two people to reach out to Heather.
One of the biggest challenges facing Partner Programs in the Channel today is that Channel Partners have plenty of options when choosing a Vendor to work with. This means Partners are increasingly inundated with Vendor pitches, presentations and calls asking them to join forces, all while they’re managing their own book of business.
How do you convince potential Partners that your Channel Program stands above the rest?
Hint: Success depends on how you communicate with Partners, which maps to your messaging and the lens through which you craft your Partner-facing talking points.
In today’s competitive landscape, your Partners work with a variety of Vendors and don’t have time or patience to navigate a difficult program. Vendors who focus on ease of doing business are the ones finding success in their Partner programs.
How can you ensure your Program is easy to navigate but still provides value? Here are four components of a simple, effective Partner Program:
So much of Vendor success is about understanding how the Channel Journey is shifting, then ensuring your program and communications arm Partners with the knowledge they need to be successful in today’s market. With this in mind, we’re excited to welcome Debbie Kane, VP Client Strategy and Brad Rolfe, VP Client Engagement, to the Channel Maven team. Both formerly with Penton and Everything Channel (now The Channel Co.,) they bring Channel experience and interesting insights to our team and the Vendors and Channel Partners we work with.
Today’s Partner Programs look drastically different than their predecessors. It used to be that Vendors dictated Channel partnerships and most elements of the Partner Program. The pendulum has now swung to the other side thanks to an abundance of new technologies and information. Partners today have more Vendor options than ever before, which means Vendors need to be more mindful of Partners’ business objectives if they want successful partnerships. Now, they have to craft their Partner Program around a value proposition, one that entices Partners in today’s changing market and aligns with their Partners’ goals.
Recommendations for developing Partner Programs and value propositions that align with Partners to drive demand: