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Channel Matters Blog > March 2015 > Are Your Partners Part of Your Value Proposition?

Are Your Partners Part of Your Value Proposition?

by Rich Blakeman
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Today, I want to share a bit of an "ah ha" moment I had while listening to our partners talk about their businesses. After eight years in this business, a single conversation crystallized how integral our partners are to the value we deliver.
 
Thinking Outside the Product Box
I immediately thought of a presentation Tiffany Bova from Gartner gave not too long ago. She made the point that your unique sales strategy, including the routes you take to market, can differentiate you in the marketplace. I remember thinking how true that is. It supports some of the points we've made in past posts that focused on market mapping and the whole product. But, as I listened to our partners talk, it occurred to me that like many other channel organizations, we probably don't go far enough when we talk about our value proposition
 
Sophisticated sales and marketing organizations rightly focus first on the objectives the partners want to achieve when developing their value proposition.  Then, they build the case for how the features of their solution can help the customer achieve their objectives. This is fundamental to all of the sales methodologies across Miller Heiman Group. But our messaging falls short of really focusing on how value gets delivered through our channels. How many of us actually build our partners into our value proposition? Not many.
 
While our partners clearly get this point, I don't think partners across all industries really leverage how much an integral component of the value proposition they are. They may think about it when they're negotiating for better margins, but when they ask for sales tools, they don't usually question why the unique value they deliver isn't part of the collateral, messaging or presentations they get from the vendor.  
 
The Year of the Partner
I chuckle a bit when I hear vendors declare this year to be the "Year of the Partner."  If your channel partners are a critical component of your value proposition, shouldn't every year be the year of the partner?
 
Of course, it's possible that your channel partners aren't your greatest asset. If that's the case, I would suggest that you have a strategy problem. Are you focusing on the right partners with the right resources for the right markets? Given the resources that go into managing a channel, getting the formula right is essential.
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