One of the toughest challenges facing any Channel Manager is recruiting new sales partners in markets with a high level of competition. These markets may have an excess of vendors competing with you, specifically, or else they offer many different alternative solutions for buyers to choose between. In either case, the more competitive the market, the more you need to work to truly stand out and make yourself attractive to potential channel partners.
In most cases, it's important to always think from the partners’ perspective. As independent organizations, they’re looking out for their own bottom line, just like you are. The better you can understand their needs, motivations, decision-drivers - and figuring out how to support those - the more likely you are to form a successful partnership.
Identify Partner Needs For Joint Sales Opportunities
1 – Understand The Local Price Environment
While online pressures are slowly tending to push prices towards an equilibrium, there can still be wide variations in pricing viability at local levels – particularly depending on how much competition there is in specific local markets. They might be under unusual restrictions due to either a flooded market, or budget issues among their buyers. Doing serious research into the pricing situation a potential partner is looking at can help you make a bid that realistically fits their budget, even if it means adjusting your normal pricing.
Many vendors dislike making “special” bids that might cut slightly into their profit margins, but a refusal to compromise can easily cost them partners who would still be quite profitable. Be willing to take their local needs into account here.
2 – Verify Alignment Between Product And Market
Sure, your Enterprise-level solution might be usable for smaller organizations, but would there be much interest in it if a vendor’s business is primarily pitching to SMBs? Alternatively, would it be possible to repackage your solution, or restrict product features, to create an SMB-friendly option? (Or, at the other end, could your SMB solution be ‘beefed up’ to meet Enterprise needs?)
Understanding their business and their primary customer base will go a long way towards ensuring successful bids. Understand their customers, and you can tailor your pitch and\or product towards the needs they’re looking to fulfill.
3 – Simplify Training And Onboarding
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest burdens for everyone involved is when a new partner is brought onboard. There’s always a constant friction between your desire to ensure everyone is fully trained and up-to-date on products for proper selling, and their desire to minimize time spent in training rather than actually making money.
Just about anything you can do to streamline the onboarding process will make you attractive to potential partners. This could potentially even be turned into a major selling point for your company. Offering online training and certification, for example, can greatly reduce the time and expense of bringing new sales staff up to speed. Often, you can accomplish in a few hours what would otherwise require a few days of classroom-style teaching.
Partners are concerned about more than just margins. And on that same note:
4 – Centralize Your Online Tools
Another major pain point we see for partners is the frequent need to access a variety of online tools, sites, and logins to work with a given vendor. This is especially burdensome for partners that work with more than one vendor. When they have multiple suppliers who all have several different tracking and documentation systems that need to be accessed (or worse, ad-hoc solutions like Google applications) it can turn into a logistical nightmare doing business day-by-day.
Make their lives easier! If you can make yourself simple to work with, offering a single platform for them to do ALL work and tracking associated with you, you’ll potentially be cutting hours off their workload every week. That’s the sort of “icing on the cake” that can outright sell the cake, depending on how hard it already is for sellers to deal with their other vendors.
Partner Relationship Management Software Makes You More Attractive
Partner Relationship Management (PRM) isn’t only about making your business life easier, it’s also about making you attractive to potential partners. When you offer a single resource which centralizes everything from training, to sales & marketing collateral, to deal registration, to loyalty programs, you are immediately putting yourselves ahead of the pack when it comes to ease of doing business.
Particularly in cases where it’s difficult or impossible to compromise on price\margins, PRM can make up the difference by saving your partners time and effort. After all, that’s money saved too.
LogicBay offers the world’s premiere solution for Partner Management, an easy-to-use all-in-one platform that centralizes your work and theirs. Contact us today for a free demonstration.