In part one of this Blog, 14 questions your partners should be asking before registering a deal, we explored the main six questions your partners should be enabled to ask before considering registering a deal through your PRM software.
Sometimes, when channel partners are engaged in evaluating a potential opportunity, arming the partner with as many options as possible to qualify the deal fully will be in your organization’s best interest. We are going to dive into the remaining questions partners should be asking before registering a deal using the deal registration form.
7) Are competitors involved in the deal?
It is very rare in today’s competitive business landscape for anyone vendor to operate without competition. Sure, some solutions may be more advanced and product rich than others but the likelihood that the end customer is evaluating multiple solutions is very high. Your partner will almost always be in a competitive situation.
Your partners should not be afraid to understand if the end customer is evaluating competitive solutions, in fact, the more of an understanding of which competitors are involved will increase the likelihood you can collaborate and win the deal with your channel partner.
Enabling your partners with playbooks in your partner portal built specifically to help battle competitors is a great first step towards helping partners feel confident going head-to-head against any potential competitor.
8) Is the customer considering building a solution themselves?
This question inevitably comes up any time the business line has a need for a solution, especially if the company is a tech company with software engineers in house IT, or the VP of Engineering hears whispers of the Channel Enablement team needing a solution and automatically thinks “we can build this!”
Channel Partners should consider this a competitive situation because ultimately the competitor is the home-grown solution. This one is generally easy to enable your partners to overcome with some basic questions around long-term maintenance, upgrading the solution, and time to value.
9) Do you currently have a contract with another company?
This one is generally an easy question to get partners to ask on a regular basis as the question doesn’t pose much risk to the deal, especially early in the sales cycle. Knowing if the solution being sold by your channel team is replacing an incumbent, or net-new should be tables takes.
10) How long has the company been trying to solve these problems?
The answer to this question might be different depending upon who you ask. For example, if the end customer is evaluating channel management software the chances are very high that front-line sales reps have been experiencing the pain of not having a solution much longer than IT has known about the initiative.
That is why multi-threading into the account will be important for your partners, getting as many people involved at each level of the solution helps to understand the holistic impact the solution can make.
11) What does the internal buying process look like?
This question can be extremely frustrating for your partners as more often than not, most folks within an organization don’t know what the procurement process for new software is. Ask three different individuals, and the likelihood is that your channel partner sales rep will get three different answers.
Make sure your partners are enabled to know the general buying process your end customers take. If your direct sales team is often faced with security reviews, substantial redlines on your MSA, and requests for mutually executed DPAs then let your partners know about these hurdles. Maybe have your partners be specific in asking the end customer if they can assist in proactively moving these things forward.
Playbooks, or Partner Certification modules are a great way to deliver this type of content via your partner portal.
12) Who will sign the Order Form?
This is a question that should be simple but is often not. The answer to this question typically depends upon the size of the end customer’s organization. At smaller companies this could be a director or VP level, at midsize companies, this is usually someone in the C-suite. At Enterprise-level organizations, this is usually someone in legal or finance.
Try to help your partners out by letting them know, based upon the size of the customer they are talking to, they should expect to engage to get the signature across the line.
13) How long is this deal expected to take to close?
A softer way to ask this question might be to align it with a target launch date for the end solution. For example, “When would you ideally like the solution to be implemented by?” If you have this date, and you know your standard implementation timeline for a solution like this is eight weeks then your channel sales rep should have an easy way to recommend a signature date.
Proactively offering this type of guidance is a great way to immediately get insight into the end customer’s buying process. If they push back on that with “there is no way our legal team will move that fast”, then you can instantly follow up with “Well then, we have two options, move out the target launch date or accelerate the evaluation process, which would you prefer prospect?”
Either way, asking questions like this helps to inadvertently help the sales rep get insight into the deal velocity.
14) What help do I need to get this deal done?
A simple question most vendors neglect to ask on their deal registration form is “What level of help do you need to get this done?” If a partner doesn’t need help, great. However, if the partner does need immediate help wouldn’t it be nice to know about it? Maybe that answer forces a workflow that bypasses your standard 72-hour SLA for deal registration reviews?
Don’t assume your channel partners have all the answers and do not need your help. Simply asking the question might signal to your partner that you are offering to help, which gives a level of confidence in continuing to work with your organization.
Maybe you don’t ask partners to answer all these questions, maybe there are other ones you want to be included in your deal registration form? Either way, it is time to evolve beyond the standard product-specific questions found on most deal registration form today.
Request a demo today to learn how Vartopia’s Partner Relationship Management Software helps vendors to enable partners to fully qualify deals.