The New Year means new starts, new opportunities, and new commitments. For businesses, it can be a time to start implementing a new strategy that promises a year-over-year boost, or a time to refocus efforts on an initiative that has been in place but lagging.Maybe you spent 2016 reading about the way that channel partnerships can expand a supplier’s reach and boost profits, but have only just recently gotten the buy-in to move forward. Maybe you already had a channel partner program in place in 2016, but have been wondering why you’re not seeing the profits you expected. Either way, 2017 is the year to leave the stumbling blocks in the rear view and get your channel partner program to take off.
But a channel partner program needs to be structured correctly to yield the kind of results you’re looking for. Paying attention to the following must-have features when you’re building out or revamping your channel partner program can set you up for a successful launch or relaunch in 2017, and lead to profitable partnering in the New Year and beyond.
1. YOU MUST HAVE ALL YOUR PARTNERS ON THE SAME PAGE
In a channel partnership, your partners are an auxiliary wing of your sales team. Having a partner that does its own thing without regard for your brand positioning isn’t good for anyone. Having control of your brand story and message is critical to selling your product and turning customers into brand loyalists who spread the word and come back to buy more. So it’s important to make sure your channel partners are aligned on every level with your internal policies, procedures, branding and so on.
2. YOU MUST IMPLEMENT THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Aligning marketing materials, branding and the like isn’t just a matter of creating style guides and setting policies. It requires having the right partner acceleration solution in place – one with an intuitive front-end that encourages channel partners to interact with the software and with each other.
A partner acceleration solution that’s easy to use not only assures that your channel will be better positioned to make deals on your behalf, it makes you a more attractive vendor than any of the numerous other competing vendors they partner with. It also allows them to more easily bring on other partners to complement and enhance your offering.
And it’s not just a matter of having a solution that enables collaboration between offices. Business these days is mobile and global – partners can be on any kind of device, in any part of the world, at any given time. Having a solution that sets partners up for constant communication in whatever form they need it is an absolute necessity for meeting partner needs, answering partner questions, and inspiring collaboration that sets them up to be truly global extensions of your enterprise.
3. YOU MUST HAVE THE RIGHT KIND OF CONTENT (AND ANALYTICS)
Content isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition these days. Developing targeted, dynamic marketing content that fits the selling needs of your partners, and speaks to the buying needs of the people you’re reaching through them, is key to making those sales and sustaining those relationships. If you’ve got the right partner acceleration solution in place, sharing these resources will be a snap.
Content that’s partner-facing needs to be dynamic and targeted as well. Training modules that are easy to set up, that confirm and reward a mastery of your product, and that gamify the learning process, are critical both in keeping your partners interested and making sure that they’re selling where and how you need them to.
From there, it’s just a matter of being set up to crunch the numbers. You have a technological tool in place that delivers content to your partners – don’t drop the ball on your analytics. Using the data your acceleration tool gleans from how content is viewed and used by your partners is a necessary part of figuring out what’s working and what’s not, and determining how to move forward.