Guide to Finding Channel Partners that Will Fuel your Business’s Growth
In order for manufacturers to successfully drive products via the indirect sales funnel, synergy has to exist even before the channel partner onboarding process.
An obvious notion, right?
Yet given this accepted understanding, vendors commonly onboard partners without profiling who they are.
Partner recruitment mandates careful scrutiny; an in-depth examination that explores both tangible and intangible qualities. While navigating the ‘channel ecosystem,’ you want to find partners that will fuel your business’s growth, not impede productivity.
Sure, not all channel partners are created equal, and some may require additional sustenance to enable production. The important thing to remember, however, is to ensure the relationship eventually leads to value.
Following are 6 channel partner onboarding questions to ask when considering potential partners to join your channel program:
1.) How does our product or service help support your value proposition?
In the past, channel partners “worked” on behalf of their vendors’ success. That’s not so much the case today. In such a competitive, unstable market, vendors realize the uncertainty each partnership entails. Occasionally, it’s the partner—not the vendor—that dictates the direction of the rapport.
In order to maintain partner mindshare and further demonstrate your value as a vendor, during the channel partner onboarding you need to identify how your product and services contribute to their bottom line.
2.) What do your lead generation and sales process look like?
Compare your direct go-to-market strategy against how a potential channel partner typically sells a product? This analysis can be mutually beneficial as it can spawn collaborative ideas and suggestions to surface. Find out where your company might be able to add value to the partner’s sales process.
3.) What types of incentives do you deem most important?
Partners have seen a lot of incentives. Therefore, you have to find out if the sales and marketing program you offer will be of value to prospective distributors. A great vehicle for adding value to partners is to learn about their weaknesses. Once you have a better-understanding partner weakness, the more relevant your incentive will be.
4.) What are your thoughts on training?
Most partners will be receptive to your training. However, it’s unusual for vendors and partners to discuss this during channel partner onboarding.
This question will give you unique insight into how committed your partner’s team really is.
Are onsite visits a regular occurrence? Do they frequently participate in webinars or two-way conversations? Do they have certain expectations as to the type of marketing material they receive from vendors? Are they continuously training and have more of a “one-and-done” mentality?
5.) What can we do to make sure our partnership is successful?
By being empathetic to the demands and expectations of channel partners, you begin to foreshadow into the relationship. If you can’t fulfill partners’ requests, the rapport will likely be unsuccessful.
6.) What’s your approach to selling dead inventory?
This question may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a real concern that most distributors face. This question, during the channel partner onboarding stage, gives you a peek inside the partner’s business savviness, creativity, and experience. Do partners have unique marketing and sales tactics, or simply slash prices and deal with the repercussions later?