Long Lasting Channel Partnership Starts with Proper Partner Profiling and Qualification
It’s an overarching challenge of developing a profitable, successful, long lasting channel partnership.
Too often, channel vendors make the mistake of rushing into a partnership without doing so much as scratching the surface.
However, a thorough evaluation into ‘who the partner is’ is your key to opening the door to a long lasting channel relationship.
Think about how you can implement these 5 key steps outlined below, in your next partner profile process:
It can never be emphasized enough why trusting your gut is the key single most important asset you have when analyzing a situation.
If these intangible qualities are nowhere in sight, it might be best to do away with this partner before relationship gains momentum.
A few intangibles to look for are:
- Body language and energy
- You can tell if the partner is listening
- Offers practical strategies and suggestions
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- An ambition to make money the right way
- Similar business values
- Upfront with concerns and asks for feedback
Skills, Expertise, and Competence:
Intangible skills are great, but when it comes to developing a truly profitable and a long lasting channel partnership, there should be back and white conditions that ensure synergy between businesses exists.
A few of these conditions are:
- Financial stability
- Market focus aligns
- Industry reputation
- An ability to relay vendor’s values to customers while highlighting your own
- Resources and experience to sell
- Preparation to demonstrate value to the vendors
There are many successful solution providers that exist in today’s indirect sales market. When recruiting or profiling channel partners, it is important to view the potential relationship from an introspective viewpoint that values rarity.
A few of these rare values are:
- Partner possesses a “partnership” mentality
- Willing to put time an effort into joint marketing activities as a means to stimulate demand
- Strategically contribute to joint marketing programs/collaborations with the vendor
- Partner has a niche in manages services
- The partner provides educational materials
- Partners crave information and values vendors who provide content/resources
Questions Partners Should Ask you
Trigger happy channel partners that are overly zealous to get started without proper “due-diligence” should raise a few red flags. Here are some examples of questions strategic solution providers would want to know more about before getting started on a journey to establishing a long lasting channel partnership:
- What steps does your team take to get to know new partners (and their business model)?
- Why is selling through the channel valuable to your business?
- What are the expectations you have for a great and long lasting channel partnership?
- What regulations do you put In place to mitigate the risk of channel conflict?
- How do your sales and marketing programs align with our business objectives?
Questions you should ask Partners:
Your team should not be the only ones asking the questions. A true sign of a profitable long lasting channel partnership is that your partner cares enough to ask tough questions. Your partner should make certain that investment is your product and solution would lead to something greater than just revenue.
Here are a few examples of questions you should ask partners:
- What experience do you have in providing solutions and services for this product?
- Do you value product training and are you willing to invest in such training?
- Is your team willing to get through a certification (training) process?
- Do you have a marketing manager that has experience working on joint-projects?
- Are you open to taking calculated risks?
- What are the expectations you have from a great vendor?
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