4 Main Factors in most Channel Partnership Breakups!
For months I thought it was me:
“Did we say something?” I would ask myself, “Was it something we did?”
This lead me into believing it was my fault for your “lack of interest” in our business—and that self-deprecating ideology has carried over, and affected my team’s confidence and performance.
It just doesn’t make sense.
We were onboard with your go-to-market strategy and passionate about your brand. Our services and expertise aligned with your product, as did our value proposition with end-customers. We were transparent with our objectives, empathetic to yours, and readily available to contact and listen to your ideas.
We wanted the same things you did: to grow, to corner the market, to crush the competition, and to conceptualize collaborative strategies and put them to work.
We took on the market by storm, and seemingly nothing could stand in our way.
It was a beautiful thing, until, it wasn’t.
Suddenly, what had originally felt like teamwork transformed into a monetarily-based customer agreement.
Suddenly, instead of working together on deals and closing conversion cycles in a joint effort, became a competition between your sales team and mine.
Suddenly, your on-site visits to educate, inspire and mentor our team had evolved into a once-a-month email on industry best practices on customer care.
At first, you were invested in our company, strived to build on our strengths, and worked hard to eradicate our weakness. Next, you isolated us from communication, disregarded our ideas while blacklisted us as an inferior component towards achieving a much larger purpose.
Following is a short list of the things we believe you failed most as a vendor and business partner. My goal isn’t to sabotage your company, finger point at your mistakes, or vilify your business culture and work philosophy.
In fact, it’s quite the contrary.
My goal is that you interpret these “failures” from a constructive perspective; an objective viewpoint aimed at bringing light to things you and your team can improve on:
1.) Your incentives no longer spoke to our needs – Instead of inspiring us to participate in partner activity and sell more of products, your recent sales and marketing programs showed little to no value in our business. We didn’t need the added motivation to push out “cold inventory” with SPIFF programs and rebates.
We were doing that just fine.
What we needed was your expertise in providing engaging content with our business partners.
In the past, your team provided us with co-branded marketing content that our customer base enjoyed and found valuable.
Now, you seemed to have gotten lazy and thought that financial perks and commission bonuses would do us just fine.
Guess what? They didn’t!
You had the resources, talent, and knowledge of the industry—we did not.
2.) Your programs were taxing and verbosely complex – Recently, when we did participate in one of your incentive programs, we found ourselves to be quickly turned off.
The partner signup process had become far too long, and the program parameters were now subjective and unclear.
It almost seemed like you were trying to confuse us. If so, congratulations—you did just that!
Before, your programs were comprehensive and easy-to-follow; you designed programs with an exclusive touch so that we could internally evaluate the opportunity at stake; your programs were implemented in a carefully methodical approach, and gave us step-by-step instructions so that we were able to hit the ground running.
3.) Your turnaround time on claims hurt us – We understand that evaluating claims on backend rebates can get complex, especially when you have multiple partners sending in multiple claims.
However, we depend on our invoices to paid (or at least responded to) within a reasonable timeframe so that we’re able to remain a business.
In recent months, our requests were not viewed with priority, leading us to believe our business together was no longer viewed as one as well.
4.) No partner portal – In today’s day and age, vendors that don’t have a partner portal cloud-based platform put themselves at serious risk of becoming obsolete to competitors.
Your decision to break away from this concept in place of email and spreadsheets deeply affected our productivity.
Registering deals on Excel spreadsheets is borderline archaic, as is trying to track down program documentation on guidelines and training assets via email. I truly don’t understand your thinking process in this department—and it would have been nice if you could have explained.
Ultimately, the decision to go our separate ways seems to have been mutually accepted (we can only speculate seeing as though trying to get a hold of you for a casual conversation is comparable to trying to get a hold of the Queen).
We understand, though, it’s business.
Partnerships fall apart, personnel changes, ideas get contorted, and objectives shift.
Please, don’t feel sorry for us.
We’ve taken the good from the bad, learned from our mistakes and discovered the silver lining in this unfortunate debacle.
We wish you nothing but the best and implore you to continue striving to achieve your goal whatever they may be (because we certainly don’t). Thanks for the good times that once were.
A once happy channel partner