If you’ve recently begun adding new partnerships to your sales channel, it makes sense that you would be concerned about how your company will perform as a sales partner. There are a lot of tools and support mechanisms you can provide to help your partners succeed, but you will want to make an honest assessment on some key variables to see how well prepared you are to get your partners off on the right track––and keep them there.
Establish Clear Objectives
Right from the beginning, you want to make sure you let your partners know what they can expect from you. They’ll likely be asking “What’s in it for me?” and you should have an answer for that. Change management is an important component of building a sales channel and you will want to take the lead on documenting your shared business objectives and the processes your partners need to follow to achieve those. Additionally, let them know that you value their feedback and intend to re-evaluate what’s working––and what’s not––to keep things moving in a positive direction going forward.
Make Improved Communication a Priority
Establish a plan for ongoing communication at regularly scheduled intervals. This could be weekly, every other week, or even once a month, as long as you both agree that it is frequent enough to assess and address any challenges from either side before they become too difficult to manage. This is a key part of relationship building and keeping your strategic goals aligned.
As much as possible, get all communication in writing. If you have a phone conversation with one of your partners, send them a follow-up email as a formal best practice. This will help eliminate the opportunity for miscommunication and keep you are your partners in agreement on any action items.
Team Up on a Sales Campaign
A great opportunity to get to know your partners better––and their customers––is to team up on a joint sales initiative. You may offer to provide additional marketing materials or co-op dollars to help offset their costs, and your targeted support before and after the event will ideally help close more business.
Outside of improved sales results (see case studies here), you can also get a great perspective on how your partner company operates and the key players on their team. You’ll walk away with a better idea of their corporate culture and how to work with them more effectively. Of course, you might earn increased mindshare as a result of these efforts that will pay dividends in the future. You want your partners thinking of you first for any new business opportunities and the way to get there is to reinforce the value of your partnership.
Building a sales channel is a difficult task with a lot of complexity. Beyond just expanding your sales efforts, you will need to focus on helping your partners succeed on many levels.
Download our Channel Strategy Blueprint for a complete guide to how you can make your channel partners as profitable as possible.