Following are Tips and Suggestions Channel Vendors can use to Recruit the Right Strategic Partners for their Business while Developing Long-Term, Successful Relationships:
On the surface, the number of channel partners that exist in today’s market is a vendor’s dream.
Channel-driven producers can narrow down their partner recruitment search to even the slightest of detail, recognizing infinite options and opportunities exists elsewhere.
The advantageous position to onboard only the most prepared and accomplished solution providers are not only within reach but insurmountable to overlook.
However, this realization is not only overestimated but deeply flawed.
The truth is, recruiting the right partners to join a vendor’s channel network can be a complicated, taxing and obscure process.
Partners are not always as forthcoming with ‘who they are’ as a vendor would like for them to be.
Eager to sell, be eligible for commission overrides and incentives, and rejuvenate revenue and market penetration—partners will opt for a “close and go” approach. This business strategy may work for transaction-based partnerships, but for strategic channel alliances, synergy has to exist.
The Complicated Procedure that is: Channel Partner Recruitment
In order to establish mutually profitable channel relationships, vendors should approach partner recruitment with:
- acute attention to detail
- objective rationale
- comprehensive research
- foreshadowing/ intuitive contemplation
Use Intuition to Analyze Partnership’s Potential to Succeed
A great way to approach partner recruitment is to implement reverse psychology into your strategy.
Although unconventional, this is an effective, eye-opening way to determine the true intentions of a potential channel partner.
However, it’s not easy to execute and mandate your intuitive business savviness to the surface.
For example, you come in hard with a convincing sales presentation or phone call on how amazing your product is and how much money your partner will make. If your prospective partner shows no signs of coyness and wants to immediately jump into a partnership/deal, that should be a cause for concern.
Here are a few examples of inquiries a strategic partner would want to know before pursuing a partnership with a vendor.
- Why vendor’s product(s) supports their value proposition and bottom line
- How much vendor knows about their business and customers
- What type of sales and marketing/channel programs will vendor offer
- What type of training and support services will be available to partner
- Are there sales expectations
- Are there partner portals or cloud-based applications vendor offers
- What is the approx. turnaround time on deduction from invoices and incentives
A partner that initially displays resistance and contemplation is a sign of patience, strategy, and intellect—qualities you want to have in a partnership; someone who possesses a trigger-happy mentality could be an early indicator of reckless business rationale.
Just like romantic relationships, business partnerships follow a similar progression. In order to take the next steps, there has to be a better understanding of each other’s intentions, needs, and goals.
Think about the intangibles that make a successful channel partnership
Unlike romantic relationships, opposites don’t always attract.
When recruiting a channel partner, it’s important to evaluate the intangible connections you discover, not just the external accordance in business processes and overarching objectives.
For example, will their company culture match well with yours? Do you believe both companies will be able to work well together when conflicts surface? Can ideas, concerns, and questions flow naturally and freely without resistance?
The more you understand a partner’s values and company culture, the better you will be able to determine if the relationship will be successful. Ultimately, channel partnerships should boil down to two things: 1.) can both teams work well together, and 2.) is there a potential for both businesses to make money?
In order to get down to the nuts and bolts of the partnership’s potential, here are the main intangible questions to consider:
- Does partner demonstrate the importance of cohesion and synergy?
- Do company cultures align?
- Is C-level personnel inspired or enthusiastic about partnership’s potential?
- Can you assess partner’s work ethic and desire to succeed?
- Does partner demonstrate willingness (sales/technical teams) to train and become knowledgeable about the product?
- Do you trust partner or are you skeptical about their intentions and qualifications?
Ask your partner:
- Do you believe close, hands-on relationships are essential towards mutual success?
- What factors do you consider thinking about ending a partnership?
- Does collaborating on marketing efforts sound like something you’d be interested in?
- Do you have experience/ability to successfully participate in partner incentive programs?
- What does a healthy channel partnership look like to you?
Channel partnerships don’t become successful out of fortuitous luck, but instead, calculated assessment which recognizes synergy and transparency. Ultimately, it should come down to quality of opportunity, not quantity of potential; look past the bells and whistles and delve into the nuts and bolts of the partnership at stake.
Is the relationship worth exploring? Only time will tell, but it’s up to you to make sure that time is well spent.