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Keep Calm and Carry On. Go Virtual!

If there ever was a time when this saying matters most, then this is it! I have literally spent the past weeks talking with many tech industry leaders about the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on business. The words I heard most often are scary, shocking, crazy, incredible and unbelievable. On the texting side it’s OMG and WT#.

“The huge toll on people’s lives is mind-blowing”

We all need to do whatever we can to reduce the horrific outcomes to lives and livelihoods. Beyond taking care of each other and everyone we know, our team is helping vendors and channel partners to navigate doing business throughout these difficult times.

As part of this mission, we will be publishing several news articles on the topic as well as hosting webinars and Mastermind peer-group virtual sessions. Next live webinar is on March 19 at 2:00 PM EDT to help MSPs and VARs to mediate the disruption to their businesses.

Here are 10 things that vendors should consider when working with their partners to mediate the Coronavirus disruption. Ask us how we help deliver success on all 10!

  1. Now is the time for every vendor to start leveraging online news media to keep the channel up to date. If you have some interesting news during this crisis, then let’s do a virtual interview for eChannelNEWS. Especially interested in showcasing solutions for working remotely.
  2. Promote webinars to keep on educating and stay in touch with partners. Until face-to-face activities resume, virtual is king. I would not be surprised if digital activities continue to accelerate long after things get back to normal. Extend your webinar invitation to our opt-in database of channel partners.
  3. Send personalized e-mails with relevant and thoughtful content to current partners and prospects. Add video. Add live virtual events. Deliver your messages to our larger channel partner community.
  4. Phone calls are back in fashion! Have your team start picking up the phone to do smart out-calls! This is also a good time to brush up on selling skills and process through virtual training by one of our top Sales Coaches. Having a sophisticated VoIP/UCaaS system will help the entire sales team. There are some outstanding VoIP solutions that have already integrated with platforms like Microsoft Teams and smart phones to make it easier for remote sales reps.
  5. Switch to virtual meetings with your partners and prospects. It is also a great way to help everyone stay connected. Most people already have web conferencing tools, but there are others that may be worth exploring like Idiligo. This Dutch-made tool seems more relevant today for sales reps (it also helps partners sell).
  6. Keep on building sales demand! Develop digital end-user lead generation programs between partners and end-customers. Increase support for VARs and MSPs to leverage their marketing automation tools and other digital activities to reach their customers. Explore some of the tools that we recommend to channel partners to manage the process.
  7. If your solution helps companies to work remotely, then this is your time to shine! For the first time, the mind-share in business continuity is extended to the way employees work remotely. On top of the usual virtual desktops, all partners should be pitching a solid VoIP/UCaaS system and improved security to their end-customers. If you have a related solution, then help your partners to bake it into their solution mix. Keep in mind that partners with the most effective remote working infrastructure and skill may become your sales champions!
  8. Good time for vendors to build their exclusive social network partner communities. Having a PRM is good, but having your partners engaged in an online community is so much more. There is a British company called Channeliser that has been touting this message for a few years. Today, it’s value proposition is gaining attention. Vendors should take a different look at what they are currently doing and start building a more connected partner community. This platform can help do this.
  9. Help your partners to improve their business skills by joining a peer-group at The Channel Partner Alliance. Simply invite or sponsor your partners to get the support. Small Mastermind peer-groups of 6 to 10 channel partners meet virtually every month to solve their biggest pain points. Learn how coach-led peer-group collaboration can help accelerate success of your partners. Face-to-face sessions will be available when the conditions allow.
  10. Social Selling skills are mission critical for reps to build a strong and sustainable sales pipeline during these difficult times. Check out what some of our coaches are doing to help sales reps become champions in the social selling game! Every sales rep should take this virtual training course!

It’s times like this that will test the true strength of relationships between vendors and channel partners. Those who lead and step up to help may gain rewards in more ways than they know. Do whatever you can do to help your partners and the burden will be that much lighter for all to carry.

Everyone has an important role to play in battling this disaster. What will you do?