Partner Manager Resource Center

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Achieving Channel Leverage

Achieving Channel Leverage - a workshop specifically created for client-facing sales people who need to collaborate with partners to achieve greater success for themselves, their end-user customers and their partners:

Large enterprise account managers will better understand how to leverage partner resources under an overall account development strategy, and territory sales people will understand how and why to work with partners to cover the market opportunity.

Workshop Content

Lasting and productive partnerships require a high degree of trust from both parties. Trust is earned over time through consistency, integrity, mutual understanding, openness, and shared experience.

Customer facing sales people who want to build productive ecosystem teams around themselves to greatly extend their sales reach and potential earning, must do so through influence instead of direct authority or threat.  Partners have their own businesses to run and will do what they do for their own reasons. Influencing partners towards win/win results requires:

  • understanding a partner’s business problems and personal concerns
  • finding a way that cooperation with the vendor sales person - or further emphasis on the vendor’s share of their business - will help the partner become more successful

Achieving Channel Leverage content can be divided into two main sections. The first clearly establishes why all relevant stakeholders will benefit from partnering, and the second part is focused on the skills and processes of partnering productively.

  1. Why partner?
  • What’s in it for the vendor? The role of partnering throughout the technology adoption lifecycle. Where direct sales make sense, where different kinds of partners make sense, and where combinations bring maximum benefits.
  • What’s in it for end-user customers? A partner’s role in assembling a ‘whole-product’ solution.
  • What’s in it for the customer-facing sales people? Integrating partners into an overall account or territory management process so that sales people can put more focus on productive sales activities.
  • How to partner productively
    • Driving partner investment. Understanding what drives partners to invest – and what vendor behaviors destroy partner investment and loyalty.
    • Influencing partner behavior – a process for uncovering partner priorities and linking needed behavior change to the partner’s own reasons for making change/investment.
    • Channel PRO™ KPA’s (Key Performance Areas) - a strategic framework for partnering excellence.
    • Sales productivity management – a summary of best channel leverage practices.
  • Commitment planning – what have participants learned or been reminded of – and what are they going to do about these things?

Workshop Benefits

Greater alignment between vendor and partner sales means:

  • Greatly increased sales ‘reach’ for vendors, at little extra cost
  • Reduction of risk for partners – knowing they won’t have to ‘compete’ with a vendor’s direct sales force
  • Customer satisfaction - customers prefer to work with partners who work together seamlessly to deliver a complete solution
  • Competitive advantage – partners prefer vendors who reduce or eliminate channel conflict

Workshop Format and Media

In some vendors, sales people already value the channel and wish to learn more about working with partners. Other organizations with strong direct sales cultures may contain sales people who resent the channel, feel it adds no value and initially want to spend only a minimum time out of the field discussing channel related issues. Most are somewhere in between these extremes.

Some client-facing sales people are heavily large account focused, while others have broad geographic or vertical market territories to cover. The Achieving Channel Leverage program is flexible enough to cater for these variations through a change of emphasis, content, exercises and duration. Achieving Channel Leverage is suitable for quite large course sizes of up to 30 participants in a one day format. 

Lectures and discussions are combined with a series of workshop and role play exercises for table team groups. This workshop often includes an executive level partner guest speaker. Pre-reading is issued when appropriate, and each participant is provided a comprehensive set of notes.