5 things you should consider to sell through channels successfully
Channel Partners can be the missing link in the expansion of your business, and an important player in the increase of your reach and the fast-tracking of your sales cycle.
Acting on behalf of your business and introducing your solutions to their already trusted, and established client base, will generate a multiplier effect and allow you to grow faster.
But handling partners and creating a solid and sustainable channel can be a challenge if you've never done it before. You need to consider things like reward systems, identifying the partners right for you, and ensuring that they stay active and engaged with your product and solution. You also need to think about what kind of support you're looking for from partners, and what requirements or criteria you're going to set to inform ways of working during the partnership.
To simplify this process for you and give you hand thinking all these things through, we've put together a guide to highlight the 5 main points you need to take into account if you want to sell through channel partners successfully.
Here they are:
#1: Choosing the right partners
If you want to ensure that you establish sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with your channel partners, it's important that you are strategic from the start and identify the right partners for your business. Look out for things like partner size, the verticals they work in, their sales capabilities, and their technical capacity, to ensure that they match your product and expectations.
#2: Define clear goals and expectations
As you start to form relationships and qualify potential channel partners, define goals and discuss expectations right from the start, to avoid disappointment and misunderstandings later on. Think about what you want to achieve with your partners and how you will do it together.
Also, it's important to define here business margins, sales commissions, and commercials. Usually, the way the partner acts is directly proportional to their reward, so rewarding the partner fairly is extremely important.
#3: Agree on support terms and training requirements
If you're expecting the partner to act on your behalf it's crucial to engage them technically and also commercially. Offer deep dives and agree on joint marketing initiatives you can do to raise awareness of your solution. Know that the more you invest in partners, the quicker they'll show results and the more fruitful the partnership will be.
Another thing you want to get right is to agree on support terms and understand with your partner who is providing what type of support to the end-clients - i.e. are you providing the entire support or is the partner the first point of help, only reaching out if a big change/issue is brought up?
#4: Ensure transparent and effective communication with your partners at all times
Generally speaking, partners won't be exclusive to your business, they will have other companies they're representing, so communicating ideas effectively and intelligently to maintain the engagement and the motivation of the partner is fundamental for a long-term successful relationship.
#5: Continue accompanying and evaluating the partner
To ensure a long-term sustainable partnership it's important that you keep "watering" your channel network of partners.
The management part of channel management is never really over, so you need to continue following up and evaluating partners, to ensure success and the ongoing conversion of leads. Priorities change all the time, so it's super important that you stay on top of your partners to keep them motivated and aligned with your business and message.
All these 5 points are usually summarised in a Channel Program - a document created by you, the vendor, that details the ways of working and the requirements and criteria for your network of channel partners.
If you've never put together a Channel Program before, we have a FREE template you can download here.
And if you need some more pointers to inform your channel management strategy, please do get in touch at email@example.com, we'd be happy to help!
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 and leading sales teams for prominent companies such as Symantec and disruptive start-ups like Watchful Software.