In Formula 1 there are two championships. One for the best driver. One for the best team. Of course, the idea is to win both. But which one do you think is more important? The constructor’s championship is the one to focus on. Why? Bottom line, because it offers the biggest prize. But also because it’s about the entire team, the team boss, lead engineers, all the technicians, the pit crew, and of course both drivers.
How do you do it? By following these 5 steps for a start!
Step 1: Create a winning team to support your partners
When drivers move from team to team and subsequently down the leaderboard it can be heartbreaking – Daniel Ricciardo we’re looking at you. The same goes for partners. If they keep switching teams, they will continuously need to start from the bottom. So you’ll need to create a winning team that your partners will love and support.
- Put the Partner Experience first: supply your partners with the best and latest infrastructure to do their job. Offer support across all teams.
- Orchestrate the channel: combine the best partners with the best partner experience to offer your end-users the best service
- Design the ultimate channel team: The rest of the team should focus on facilitating partner success. From the head of the channel to the partner account manager, the vendor and even the alliance partners.
Step 2: Get your team in winning shape
Having a great team and a great driver isn’t a guarantee for success, just ask Lewis Hamilton. Looks like he could learn a thing or two from his new teammate, just like partners can learn from each other. See your partner program as a training program for your partners. A way to lift them through the ranks, creating end-user ambassadors along the way.
- Human relationships: make sure you’re offering enough 1:1 time with partner account managers, and facilitate collaborations between partners
- Pull your partners up: enable your partners to offer end-users the best experience, make sure you’re visible at scale
- Know your partners’ limits: while every partner wants platinum status, make sure you give them what they need at each level from registered upwards
Step 3: Building the ultimate Partner Experience
Winners tend to drive the fastest cars. But it takes experience to handle that much horsepower. Partners deserve the best partner experience but they need the know-how in order to be confident. Fuelling partners with the right content for their end-users and work together on joint-value propositions and co-selling, facilitating successful, long-lasting partnerships through mutual collaboration.
- Training and enablement: in order to sell, partners need to know what they’re selling, it requires training on a skill level. Oh, and make it fun!
- Get the message to the market: higher engagement of end-users can only happen through visibility, which means putting out consistent, high-quality content
- Co-creation: your partners’ own services and products can add value to your own proposition so work together towards success plans
- Co-selling: new partners? Approach your first few end-users together to show how it works, generate revenue together to build strong partnerships
Step 4: Translate the Best Partner Experience into new territories
From the mean streets of Monaco to the balmy night races of Bahrain, each Formula 1 track has its quirks. The same goes for vendors looking to expand into new territories, verticals, and product categories. Make sure to know the lay of the land before you enter. Just like an F1 team tweaks its approach to each track, it’s important for channel teams to keep iterating.
- Exploring new regions: when moving into new territories, keep in mind the local language(s), rules & regulations, cultural differences, and timezone(s)
- Getting into new verticals: different verticals have different end-user bases that will require different communication
- Keep iterating: tweak your program to your partners’ needs, especially when considering expansion into new territories or verticals
Step 5: Use data to make your channel more predictable
Here at Channext we love our data, especially when it comes to Formula 1. From predicting the second it’s going to rain to how long tires will last. But even in F1, you can’t rely on data 100%. You need to have the experience, the feeling, and a little bit of luck to win the race. So how do you predict how your partners will act using data vs. gut feeling?
- Healthy partners = happy partners: do you know how to recognise your partners are about to churn, time to consult the impact metrics
- Predictability: strong partners will help to grow your business, make sure you’re scoring them accordingly and build a constant feedback loop
- Gut feeling vs. data: in business, people can be unpredictable, so you’ll need to combine your valuable data with real human connections