By now, the fundamentals of channel development are fairly common knowledge. There are different requirements for some types of vendors, but with good experience and effort it’s not too difficult build the right channel programs, tools and partner portals. However, will that be enough for them to come (and stay)? Will that be enough to attract the partners you need? If you are still not finding the right-fit partners, then you may need to boldly go where few dare to go… You may need to Build Your Own Partners (BYOP).
The DNA of the new channel partner is a mixture of various species – traditional VAR, MSP, ISV, Telco, POS etc. As these companies collide or merge, all sorts of hybrids are emerging. Many of the new players like accounting firms, marketing agencies and consultants do not even know what the IT channel is. Finding the right partners is a moving target!
The basic key for building the perfect-fit partners is to know the persona, target markets and skills of the partners that you need to sell your products. If you can nail this down, then you can search for near-fit prospects and work with them to build out the delta difference that you need. That said, it’s not easy to BYOP!
You are going to need skilled reps to help you cut though the noise and build your partners. Automaton tools may streamline some of the processes, but it is still a P2P World, so you will need good humans. The required skill set of your channel managers has to go beyond just selling and account management. They need to become experts at creating value and understanding business needs! In many ways, they need to become trusted business advisors to the channel partners in the same way that channel partners need to become trusted business advisors to their end-users.
How could you skill-up your channel team to become business advisors to your channel partners?
Here is a simple 4-step process for vendors (and channel partners who don’t want to wait) to start building now:
1. Encourage partners to test their best business practices for free. They need to know what they do not know! See: www.bestmanageditcompanies.com
2. Encourage them to get some insights about all sorts of best business practices by sharing content from relevant sources. See www.mspcoach.com.
3. Help them to find the right coaches and tools to improve their skills and streamline their business processes and increase poductivity. See www.mspofficesuite.com.
4. Support them in joining a peer group of like-minded business owners with the best business coaches embedded to keep them on point. See www.300elitemastermind.com.
Vendors can easily post these 4 resources on the home page of their partner portals and send the information to their partners.
With the right channel partners, growing sales becomes more natural, predictable and sustainable. Sometimes to get the right partners, you need to build them! Start with the bottom 80% of your current channel partners!
If you want to see best business practice BYOP in live action, then attend one of our upcoming ChannelNEXT conferences or send some of your partners to get their feedback and measure their sales before and after!