Technology companies face the daunting task of creating a partner program that can improve their reach in the market and help in optimizing cost and delivering seamless customer experience. With the right planning and collaborative approach, a partner program can go a long way in improving your business outcomes.
A successful partner ecosystem allows companies to achieve their business goals as it:
- Accelerates growth
- Raises brand awareness
- Increases revenue
- Improves visibility in existing as well as new markets and verticals
Guiding Principles to Create an Effective Channel Partner Program
A robust partnership program must be created in tandem with your company’s goals, mission, and vision. An organization should decide in advance if they want to route all deals through their partners or have a channels team help sell through partners or a combination of both. While selecting a potential partner, it is important to make sure your channel partners see your customers as their customers too.
The following steps can help you to create a successful channel partner program:
Study the goals and objectives of your organization
Write down the goals and objectives of your organization and how you intend to achieve them. Your channel partners should be your extended arms in the marketplace. They can help you in identifying new customers, writing small utilities to make better usage of your software products, training the existing customer base, etc.
Identify the right personnel in your organization
Your channels team requires people who are interested in the development of the partners rather than focusing solely on their revenue contribution. They must also understand the needs of different kinds of partners such as global system integrators (GSI), independent software vendors (ISV), etc. Many of your partners will be mature players in the market with significant experience. The channel’s team should be competent and mature enough to build strong relationships, offer meaningful industry insights, and drive business growth through collaboration
Determine a channel partnership strategy
Every original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has a different channel partnership strategy. Collaborating with distributors helps in managing the flow of money and the ever-growing list of partners. To establish a relevant channel partnership program, you need to standardize your market penetration and revenue sharing strategy along with the basic rules of engagement
Define partner support systems
It is important to define a strong partner support system by assisting them in approaching the market and helping them sell more with minimal effort. Three basic things that you need to provide are:
- Sales Support – Training, sales kits, and presales support
- Technical support – Evaluation copy of the software, and hands-on training
- Marketing support – Co-branded mailers, brochures, product videos, and success stories
Create certification programs
Ensure your partners have a good understanding of your products to avoid issues in implementation and maintenance by motivating them to participate in software certifications. These certifications must be challenging and interesting enough for partners to see them as an investment in their growth. Keep enhancing to help partners stay updated with technological developments
Motivate your partners
Have a dedicated channels team to support your partners and help them build opportunities and close deals. Invest in continuous improvement by defining and measuring success factors, such as motivation drivers, rewards and recognition, partner feedback surveys, one-on-one interviews, in-person chats at events, etc.
Adapt based on geography
Think globally and act locally to expand your reach. A global strategy needs to be aligned with the local requirements. Your channels team needs to adapt and stay on top of the changing market dynamics. Keep your partners informed about new trends and technologies related to their domain
Business ethics is a differentiating factor and allows organizations to build a successful global partner network and a positive brand reputation
While creating a partner program, position your company as a value add to your partners. Their balance sheet must reflect your contribution. This will encourage the partners to contribute more to invest more in your products. Facilitate introductions, build relationships, offer comprehensive product training, define roles, and track progress. Keep up with the market and your competitors by continuously innovating and improving your channel program. Cement strong partnerships by investing in them judiciously. Transform your enterprise with a robust partnership program by expanding your network and accelerating business growth.
Contributed by: Manojit Majumdar, Vice President – Global Channel Network, Newgen Software