6 Topics You Need to Include in Your Channel Strategy


24 Nov
24Nov

Author: João Beato Esteves, CEO United Channels

A sustainable and engaged network of partners (distributors and re-sellers) is absolutely key to expand your business in EMEA. This network of partners is what we refer to 'channel'. We've covered some of the reasons why a healthy channel is so important to a internationalisation strategy in one of our previous posts that you can read here


To ensure your network of partners is healthy and your channel is sustainable, meaning it provides you with new leads regularly, helping scale your business without requiring more of your resources -  you need to have in place a set of rules and guidelines that facilitate;

1) the way partners interact with your business and stay up to date.

2) how these partners are rewarded, according with the level of engagement and sales they bring in.


These rules and guidelines are what constitute a Channel Strategy, a document laying out clearly the scope of the partnership, ways of work and rewards. So what exactly should this document include?

  1. Clearly defined rules and objectives
  2. Clearly defined rights and responsibilities 
  3. Transparency of action and principles set in the channel strategy
  4. Recognition and reward programme
  5. Training, certifications and support terms and conditions
  6. Marketing and sales engagement rules

Let's now look at each of these points with further detail.



Clearly defined rules and objectives

Start your channel strategy by specifying the scope of the partnership and setting mutually agreed goals that will inform how the relationship will work moving forward. Define the "rules of the game", setting expectations and boundaries of action. 


Clearly defined rights and responsibilities

After you've laid out the basic rules and guidelines, it's key to establish rights and responsibilities for both the company and the partner. It's fundamental to note down all the benefits the partner receives as part of this partnership and also what they need to commit to in return (i.e. - sales targets, level of engagement, training that need attending, etc...). 


Transparency of action and principles set in the channels strategy

A channel strategy needs to be coherent, organised in a logical way and all the principles set need to be approached in a standardised way for all partners. It's also important to ensure transparency prevails in the partnership from the get go and that there are no 'hidden terms and conditions'. 


Recognition and reward programme

In order to keep the partner engaged and motivated, it's crucial to include a competitive and attractive recognition and reward programme detailing what and how much can be expected from delivering results. 


Trainings, certifications and support terms and conditions

The partners you recruit for your network will need to have varying degrees of training on your products and solutions. Therefore, your channel strategy will need to specify the frequency of these trainings, how they can be accessed and what level of certification is expected of each partner. 


Marketing and sales engagement rules

Last but least, make sure you include in your channel strategy all the supporting materials and marketing collateral partners can expect to facilitate their lead generation and close of sales. 



Whilst all these topics are crucial to include in your channel strategy, perhaps the most important things you need to have in order to ensure a sustainable and healthy network of partners, is a shared vision of success, common clear objectives and provide unconditional support (commercially and technically). 


When all the above conditions are gathered, your partners will work as an extension of your international sales team and you will truly reap the benefits of your channel - lobbying in favour of your solution, reaching the key decision makers in clients and adding their unique set of skills to your product's implementation in their local market. 


In summary, when drafting your channel strategy, simply offer your partners the same conditions and support you offer your sales team, so they are completely empowered to act on your behalf in their local territories and start generating some business. 


The word 'strategy' is often vague and loaded, with this break down of what should be included in a channel strategy, we hope to have helped you clear your thoughts and contribute for more successful and profitable channel partnerships.


If we have indeed helped you today, consider sharing this post with others that are on the process of developing their channel strategies. 


At United Channels Consulting we have over 20+ years of experience designing and implementing successful channel strategies in EMEA. We understand that there is no such thing as a 'size fits all', so we will be happy to help you adapt these principles and topics to the specificities of your business. 

Simply email sales@unitedchannels.net for a free 30-min consultation.


About the author

João Beato Esteves is the CEO of United Channels Consulting. He founded the company in 2017 after 20+ years of working in the IT and cybersecurity industries developing channels for prominent companies such as Symantec and disruptive start-ups like Watchful Software.

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