Why Do Some Channel Partnerships Flourish and others Sink to the Bottom of the Marketplace Abyss?
It’s a loaded question, sure, but rarely does a successful b2b rapport exist without its fair share of discrepancies.
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To better understand the multifaceted relationship that is channel partnerships, let’s use a metaphor most of us are all well too familiar with- the 5 stages of romance.
1.) Love at First Sight
When a partnership enters its beginning stages of channel activity, everything wrong in the world seems to drift away. You’ve displayed admiration of your channel partner’s past achievements, and esteemed reputation—causing you to feel a partial bias where they can do or say no wrong.
Success seems inevitable; your go-to-market strategy blends perfectly into a multi-tier stream of success; everyone, from your in-house marketing team to your partner’s sales department is ready and excited to take on the world.
2.) Becoming a Couple
Product training has begun. You’ve visited their sales team and audited their managerial day-to-day actions. You rewarded productive partners with lucrative incentive programs such as Co-op/MDF, SPIFFS, rebates, special pricing agreements and deal registration.
You implement an easy-to-navigate partner portal platform into your channel partnership that accelerates channel activity, increases visibility, clearly demonstrates the program parameters and are quick to deny or accept partner claims with fast turnaround.
You help close deals with valuable leads and participate in active communication via email, text and phone calls. You are reasonable, and avoid conflict; when an issue surfaces, you settle it with patient communication, even if that means accepting low-ball offers you know you shouldn’t. You’re confident in your partner’s ability to perform, but slightly insecure—not yet accustom to the way they conduct business.
3.) The Power Struggle
Communication is a little worse than it has been.
Your channel partner is needier than ever, and your resentment toward their incompetence grows daily. Limited visibility into status reports, leads, channel conflicts, inventory data and channel POS information leave your team frustrated and ready to make a change. Your channel partners have exploited the parameters you set on incentive programs, mandated rebates without any proof of sale and considered terminating the channel partnership altogether. You begin to feel curious about how they are making money and wonder about their potential other partnerships.
You resort to modifying channel programs to try to regain their interest and motivation. The passion of your product is gone, and you no longer see each other as partners, just corporate affiliates.
4.) Partner Loyalty
You learn to handle channel conflict productively.
You don’t put all the blame on your partner but instead, recognize you’re partly to blame. You realize you may have overreacted or miscommunicated during times of underperformance and offer constructive, tangible resources when needed.
Productivity has increased dramatically and has rekindled the same admiration you had during your initial interaction. You’re committed to each other and realize you are more than partners, you are teammates; your channel partner becomes an extension of your own in-house team.
5.) Business ‘Eternal’ Bliss
You’ve worked together for many years and established a genuine friendship that transcends the corporate ecosystem. You use the lessons learned from the past as tools or building blocks to constructively eradicate conflict and the vulnerability of having past issues resurface. You want your partner to succeed, not just with your own business, but with others as well—and offer references when needed.
How Can Computer Market Research Help Make Your Channel Partnership Last?
Computer Market Research (CMR) brings 32 years of experience to the indirect channel sales industry. Through our state-of-the-art automated software, businesses can amplify their B2B marketing efforts with a clear and concise platform that assists organizations in managing channel data, optimizing trade promotions and building effective distribution channels.
CMR can help businesses maximize their relationships with distributing partners and establish transparent, two-way communication that is built on a common goal of success. Our cost-effective, SaaS application is the perfect tool for any business looking to strengthen their bond with channel partners using innovative solutions and converting their channel data into actionable intelligence.