Choosing the Partners Who Will Take Your Business to New Heights

channel marketing checklist partners questions vendors Sep 08, 2023

Selecting the right channel partners is crucial for implementing an effective channel marketing strategy and increasing revenue but it can also be the biggest challenge you might have to address internally. I have worked for multiple companies that cannot articulate why we are working with certain channel partners and how to communicate the value bring to the organization. Channel partners act as an extension of your sales and marketing efforts, so it's important to evaluate potential partners carefully to find ones that best fit your needs on an annual basis. So, the obvious starting point if you already have an indirect channel strategy is who are your current partners today and who will you need in the future. If you are considering developing an indirect partner strategy, there are many decisions to take into account.

Here are some tips on choosing channel partners and assessing their potential value:

Clearly Define Your Goals and Requirements

Start by outlining what you want to achieve from a channel partnership. Define the target customer segment, geographic territories, product line, and sales or marketing objectives you want your channel partners to focus on. This helps narrow your search to partners who can help meet those specific goals.

Research Potential Partners Extensively

Thoroughly research potential channel partners and request past performance data, client references, case studies, and portfolio samples. Assess their industry experience, reputation, technical capabilities, and cultural fit. Develop a criteria checklist to help evaluate and rank potential partners.

Evaluate Sales Capacity and Infrastructures

Examine each channel partner's existing sales organization and infrastructures. Assess whether they have adequate sales, technical, and support staff to effectively take on selling your products/services. Validate their processes for sales operations, customer onboarding, and post-sales support.

Assess Geographic Coverage

Determine how well a channel partner's geographic presence aligns with your target markets. Prioritize partners with physical offices, resources, and established networks in your key regions to ensure adequate market coverage.

Review Partner Product Portfolio

Evaluate whether your offerings complement the partner's existing product portfolio without too much overlap. Look for symbiotic partnerships where your products fill a gap or provide a unique capability partners can upsell or bundle to their installed customer base.

Analyze Current Customer Base

Review the size, demographics, and verticals of a channel partner's customer accounts. Look for significant overlap with your target buyer personas and underserved markets you want to penetrate together.

Consider Deal Registration and Specialization

To avoid channel conflict, ensure the partner agrees to sales registration and specialization by product line, customer type, or territory. Confirm if they have dedicated reps for your offerings.

Validate Marketing Capabilities

Examine partners' marketing expertise and assets. Evaluate their ability to effectively co-market your brand and offerings through outbound campaigns, events, or inbound tactics.

Formalize an Agreement

Once selected, formalize win-win agreements with clear sales, marketing, and revenue targets. Develop joint business plans and sales processes. Provide adequate sales support and resources to channel partners to ensure their success.

Ongoing Performance Reviews

Continuously monitor and review channel partners' performance against agreed targets. Provide feedback on areas of improvement and optimize the partnership for maximum productivity.

Choosing the right channel partners and fully leveraging their sales and marketing capabilities can significantly boost your business growth and customer reach. Taking the time to strategically evaluate potential partners will help maximize your return on partnership investment.

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