You’ve developed a great conversation list, used your selling tools, convinced your selling partner of why you’re the best, and presto—you have a qualified channel partner motivated to do business with you. Celebrate your success, but recognize this is only the beginning of the courtship. (There’s a whole marriage after that wedding!) Regard the agreement to do business together only as a statement of good intentions, and work hard to avoid a failed partnership, many of which succumb to a poor execution of contract terms.
Keep this in mind, and follow these four simple steps to ensure incremental successes:
- Deliver on promises and always inspect what you expect.
- Constantly work for mindshare through training, regular visits and involvement in deal reviews, joint sales calls and activity reports. Be sure to qualify opportunities before resources are spent. Always treat the channel partner sales force as an extension of your own, whether you have one or not.
- Ease channel partners’ sales activities anxieties by providing tools and situational conversation prompters and guides. This alone will differentiate you from your competition and secure the mindshare necessary to get the revenue you expect.
- Implement promised programs (such as lead generation and brand, advertising and other marketing programs) in cooperation with the channel partner.
Please remember that a channel partner sales force will sell what is easier to sell for the largest margin and quota contribution it can secure. Be the manufacturer who delivers on promises, stays involved, and treats the channel partner sales force as an extension of your own company, and you will succeed. Don’t, and your sales activities will cost you dearly.
We’ve discussed a lot about indirect sales partnerships in the last few weeks. Next week I’ll summarize what we’ve covered. In the meantime, do you have any thoughts or questions on the topic we can answer for you? Feel free to contact me directly.