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Channel Matters Blog > January 2011 > Enabling Partners and Fishing

Enabling Partners and Fishing

by William Vanderbilt
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Senior Channel Enablers consultant and trainer William Vanderbilt looks at partner enablement categorization in a new way to help you choose how best to work with your partners

In Channel Enablers' workshops, we talk about three categories of partners: Achievers, Believers and Deceivers.  I have heard people use similar titles to describe partners and I think fundamentally it is because anyone that has worked with channel partners knows that there are some that just get it, some that need a little help and some that will never get it.

I have described these partners in the following way:

  • Eagles - These are the partners that are excellent at what they do.  And frankly, whatever I do to try to get them to fish better just won't compare to what they can do on their own.  My best course of action with eagles is to get out of their way and let them do what they do.
  • Those that will learn to fish - If I invest some tender loving care, like a grandfather teaching his grandson to fish, these partners can become very good at what they do.  It even become a passion for them.  The key is that they just need attention, support and someone to pay close attention to them.
  • Fish market buyers - No matter what you do with these folks, they are not intersted in fishing.  They just want to go to the market to buy their fish.  They want others to do the fishing for them.

We can argue that one approach is better than another or that some partners are right and others are wrong, but fundamentally, I think it is important to just recognize that these types of partners exist.  From there, we can ask, "What can I do about it?  How can I act with partners to maximize their performance?"

I don't think the answers are "rocket science".  Fundamentally, it involves making it as easy as possible for the Eagles, recognizing that the fish buyers will always go to the market to buy fish and spending time with the partners who are willing to learn how to fish.  Different partners need different types and amounts of interaction.  Do you treat all partners the same?


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