Depending upon the stage of your company, and the market’s familiarity with your brand, the struggles you will face will be considerably different when trying to leverage channel partners to enhance your brand’s recognition within a specific market.
If your company is in an early stage and just starting with a handful of partners, your company will be faced with challenges that come with an overall limited understanding of how your brand is perceived in the market in the first place. For later-stage companies, the challenge becomes ensuring that through six layers of management, and hundreds if not thousands of indirect sales reps that the brand messaging stays the same. That is why a one-size-fits-all approach to enhancing the brand of your company does not make sense.
Let us dive into a few of the areas your organization should consider when deciding to make an investment in your partners with the goal of increasing brand recognition in the market or geography of concern:
1. Current Level of Market Awareness
One of the first things your organization must consider is whether or not your company already has Klout in the market you want to go into via partners in the first place. Do most businesses know the name of your company? Do they have any idea what your company does? If the answer is no, then your organization absolutely must have the patience to work through that foundational brand awareness through channel partners. Building a brand, and getting recognition is hard enough already, doing it through an indirect sales motion is going to take much longer. Just be conscious of this.
On the other hand, if your company already has established itself as a reputable company and you now want to expand into that the struggle will be in maintaining your brand’s positive image through channel partners. Recruiting, onboarding, and partner enablement becomes key to ensure your partners do not tarnish or destroy the reputation your company has worked so long to build in that specific market or geography.
2. Remove points of Friction
The single biggest opportunity for friction in any relationship is at the point of sale, and directly after a contract is signed. When going to market through, or with, channel partners, getting things like quoting, price books, product catalogs, and contracting done well is not for the faint of heart. These are the moments where an end customer reviews the order form to make sure they are getting what they need, and the moment right after where they begin implementing what they think they bought.
If your channel partners are not properly selling your products or services, and are not implementing them correctly, then the end customers will automatically associate the frustration with your brand.
Often questions around CPQ functionality come up in our sales cycles, and here at Vartopia, we must push back. Just because we can deliver functionality for a partner to quote a deal, does not mean we should. How many times has your own internal sales team sent the wrong pricing? How many times has a customer begun implementation, only to find out what they thought they bought is not accurate? Now imagine a sales rep at a channel partner who represents hundreds if not thousands of brands trying to properly understand how to deliver the right quote to a partner.
The best way to handle this is to leverage a deal registration solution that ties into your own CPQ functionality to then deliver a price quote to the partner to use. Do not count on partners to properly quote your deals, or you will most certainly add some thumbs-down ratings from customers as they interact with your brand. This holds true regardless of what stage your company is at, emerging or channel master!
3. Mind the Gap
Your partners are your boots on the ground, they are in sync with the current political, economic, and sociological issues driving consumer behavior. Simple Googling “economic strength of picking your country” is not enough to get a full understanding of what is happening in that part of the world.
Lean on your partners, regardless of what stage of growth your organization is in, to tap into the reality of the landscape you are facing. Simple things like a mistranslation of your tagline could be a deal-breaker as you look to expand your brand. Take for example, when Chevrolet tried to launch their Nova into Mexico. The car did not sell at all, and Chevrolet executives were left scratching their heads. The problem was “Nova” translated into Spanish meant “no-go.” Do not let that mistake happen to your company as you look to leverage channel partners to increase brand recognition.
Leverage partner relationship management tools to help measure the quality and velocity of revenue coming from these verticals or regions to get an understanding of whether your investment has paid off. Request a Demo from Vartopia today to learn how we can help!