Your best recruitment strategy? Frankly, it’s not talked about enough in the channel. Is there end-user demand? Who are the type of customers we’re targeting? How much money are the partners going to make? And do they understand those things easily? Or, to put it simply: Are we easy to sell?
Step one before even thinking about partner recruitment: Make sure your channel account manager can rattle those answers off the top of their head.
3 key questions before recruiting partners
If there’s one piece of advice we would give to sales leaders within the channel over and over again, it’s that partners only care about three things. And if you can answer these three things, well, you’ve got yourself a partner recruitment strategy:
- Who do we sell to?
- How easy is it to sell?
- How much revenue can I make?
When it comes to driving a partner recruitment strategy at scale, especially globally, answering those three questions is critical to success.
High margins vs high revenue opportunity
When we’re talking about selling hardware products or software services, an easy sell can have several meanings. On the one hand, the product itself can be easy to sell because there is a ton of end-user demand.
In that case, your partners probably won’t care so much about how much money they’re going to make on each deal. Because when there is a high revenue opportunity, a high margin is no longer the biggest factor.
However, if there’s low revenue opportunity because the product is more complex to sell and the sales process is longer, then partners will want to get more revenue from each deal.
Brands with strong brand awareness and very strong end-user demand, ensure that high margins are not the most important factor. They are able to drive the sale time after time.
Get your messaging aligned across the entire channel
It’s really important that vendors understand whether they are selling by brand or selling via technology.
Clarity is King.
Everyone within your sales organization, your distribution organization, and your partner organization needs to understand your messaging. If you’re going to dilute your messaging internally, guess what? By the time it hits your end-user, it’s been diluted and diluted.
Linear messaging is easier to scale
The three things you really need to drive home across your entire ecosystem are:
- This is exactly how we’re going to market
- These are the type of partners that we need
- This is the messaging we’re going to take.
Now, when you start to explain here’s how you’re going to drive demand generation through the channel, you’ve got a really linear approach that is much easier to scale.
Your emphasis needs to be on getting your messaging crystal clear. Make sure everything is easy to explain correctly within your organization. If you don’t, then as soon as you start amplifying and spreading your message through the channel, certain points will get lost in translation.
Use the channel to scale effectively
When it’s done well, channel is the the best scaling factor there is. But the strength is in the execution. Every play is going to be amplified tenfold, which is phenomenal. But you need to be able to ensure that those ten outputs are having effect.
How do your make sure your channel partners are effective for your brand? One of the critical factors to ensure long-term success is having that clarity throughout the channel.
Keep in mind, working with the wrong channel partners can be detrimental to your success and even lead to failure of your entire channel program. Need some help? Here’s how to find and recruit the right partners for your channel program.
Avoid channel congestion
Issues between vendors and partners aren’t just startup problems. There are huge brands out there working with channel partners but having a hard time collaborating with each other. We see it time and time again, a large organization has a fancy partner portal full of amazing marketing content, but partners are hardly using it. Or account managers are spending too much time getting the partner to use it.
The reason for this is that we’re suffering from congestion in the channel. Because all your partners have multiple vendors to manage. When vendors keep trying to push their solutions through their partners, things are going to get stuck.
Channel partners are overwhelmed
On average, partners will have 20 to 30 vendors. Each one vying for their attention. Each one asking them to participate in their marketing activities. All these relationships to keep track of. For partners it’s an impossible task. They are completely overwhelmed.
If you want to create a successful channel, you really need to stop and think about your position to partners. You are not the only brand who’s competing for their attention. You are competing with multiple brands for the same partners.
A continuous feedback loop should focus on “How can I make it easier for partners to do business with me?”
Being easy is it to sell encompases multiple things. In addition to having clear messaging, make sure you help your partners through training, help them with marketing, help them find customers, and really doing that together.
Keep developing your partner program
All these things come together in your partner program, and that too should be a continuous development and continuous process. Always focus on how are you going to make it easier and easier to work with you as a brand.
Simply having marketing materials, campaigns, and assets ready for partners is not enough. Nor are partner portals. And forget about email blasts to inform them of your latest go-to-market.
Take a different approach than your competitors
We’ve seen that margins aren’t the be all and end all of which brand a partner will choose to sell to their end-users. It’s an approach that combines clear messaging, partner engagement and enablement. Especially when working with partners that sell competitive brands, the ones that are successful are the ones that go left when everybody else is going right.
Are they blasting partners with emails? Then take your partners out for beers in person. Are they providing content in a partner portal? Invest in a Partner Hub to automate the process and ease their workload.
Ask these questions, become easier to sell
5 core questions sales leaders need to ask themselves when trying to figure out how can we become easier to sell?
- How do we generate more demand?
- How do we generate a better pricing structure?
- How do we generate more scale?
- How do we target more end- users
- How do we differentiate ourselves from an events perspective?
In the first episode of Partnerships Unraveled we discuss whether SaaS and Cloud will take over channel, how to avoid channel congestion, Brand vs Technology deals and much more! Listen below or head over to Partnerships Unraveled to listen through your preferred steaming service.