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Channel Matters Blog > May 2011 > Energize Your Existing Partners

Energize Your Existing Partners

by Lynn Shively
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The key to channel success is getting your partners to pay attention to your products. Recruiting partners is time consuming and expensive so one of the most effective ways to increase channel sales is to modify the behavior of current partners, to help them increase their sales of your products.

The key to channel success is getting your partners to pay attention to your products.  Too many companies follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to dedicated channel partners – the 20% who are focused generate 80% of the revenue. In many cases it is more like a 90/10 situation.

A recent article touted how several large companies put programs in place to evaluate and reward top performing partners.  Unfortunately, these reward programs are sometimes put in place without a proper understanding of why certain partners are top performers, and without determining how more current partners can be influenced to become top producers.

Recruiting partners is time consuming and expensive.  One of the most effective ways to increase channel sales is to modify the behavior of current partners to help them increase their sales of your products.

There are many ways to help influence a partner’s behavior.  However, it is important to remember partners run their own businesses and do things for their own reasons.  You need to help the partner fulfill their key business initiatives to gain the traction.

Not all partners warrant the same attention or require the same approach when attempting to ramp them up. Self-sustaining partners are those currently doing well. In most cases they will continue to do well with little additional facilitation.

There is another group that wants to do well, but needs help to get up to speed.  These partners might deliver the highest payoff from your involvement and attention.

To grow your partners, understand your partner’s growth strategies and how they match to your marketplace and product growth objectives.  Look for areas where the two strategies intersect and provide potential joint business priorities.

Once those areas are identified, gain agreement with the partner on what is needed from both parties to be successful, and build a plan to execute.  It becomes much easier to close the training and readiness gaps when there is a mutual target.  This is the fastest way to develop a partner into a top producer.


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