Three Signs Indicating that Time Has Run Out in an Active Channel Partnership.
That moment of clarity. It’s a feeling of insight, sorrow, anger and a fulfilling flash of realization.
In the channel industry, this moment is imperative to not only recognize promptly but to do so with confidence and a tangible action plan.
What moment am I referring to?
The channel partner break-up. Yes. We all know not every (once fruitful) b2b rapport was meant to last. Some, of course, may have ended abruptly; others unexpectedly; and the rest—a combination of something long overdue and something you never hope to do again. As an experienced vendor, this moment of clarity is important for reasons that go beyond partner referrals and industry reputation—it speaks to your standards, business principles, ethics and understanding to let go.
But sometimes saying goodbye is a lot more ambiguous than you would expect; sometimes the warning signs aren’t as alarming as they should; sometimes your compassion and sincerity are abused and the idea of terminating a partnership seems uncomfortable and could potentially become volatile.
Here are three signs of when the time has run out in an active channel partnership:
1.) Widening of Each Other’s Bottom Line
Establishing a successful b2b partnership relies on several things to operate with cohesion. The synergy between ideas, aspirations, pain points, product training, go-to-market strategies, industry objectives and so on won’t always align perfectly—that is to be expected. However, if dissonance in management, goals, and communication continues to widen—it is time to look further into the partnership. One of the most common explanations for this is due to something simple, such as management changes, modifications in the marketplace and organizational transitions in value propositions.
2.) Sales Saturation in the Marketplace
Territorial dominance is a common, to-be-expect outcome of the vertical marketplace. Successful businesses grow. No one is to be blamed, it’s simply the infrastructure of the free market; however, sometimes partner-saturation (i.e., a vendor’s list of resellers grows causing channel conflict between partners) can cause disputes and consequences that affect motivation. Partners can become easily intimidated by this notion and avoid the enthusiasm they once had to work with you. As a result, they may demand more incentives to be offered and inquiry heavier compensation on submitted rebate claims to be presented.
Ah, the most important and common issue that arises not only in the channel industry but also in all facets of life. I don’t have to tell you that communication is crucial; without consistent, constructive and transparent communication—the channel partnership will inevitably sink to the b2b marketplace abyss: A dark and dense matter that has swallowed the lives of countless (once positive) b2b rapports. Tuned out communication, unprompted responses to queries, “quick-to-hang-up” phone calls and relevant business decisions that don’t seek counsel, approval or active discussion should be subject to evaluation—and questioned existence.