We are going to come out and say it… someone has to!
In a continuous effort to improve, organizations discuss internally growth ideas that they want to implement. But before that happens, they must first define what needs to grow. The graph of growth varies from one organization to another; depending on its maturity, industry vertical, financial, and strategic decision.
For some, it can be an increase in the number of partners, or for others it might be an increase in profit margins on channel deals. Yet it might be decreasing the cost of supporting the partner program by firing unproductive partners.
The next time you think about growth, take a step back and ask yourself what dead stuff do I need to rip out to give the good stuff room to flourish?
1. Fire your partners, today!
It wasn’t too long ago that organizations going to market thought that a correlation and a causational relationship existed between the number of partners you had and the amount of revenue being generated from the channel. Obviously, if your organization had more partners than your competition, that it must be true that you have the better partner program.
It wasn’t until recently, with the advancements of PRM software that organizations have begun to realize that quantity does not necessarily equal quality. Channel managers for years justified their salaries, entertainment expenses, and trips around the world in the name of partner recruitment but when the rubber hit the road the revenue never came.
Some partner portal software providers force their customers into licensing agreements that punish them for adding partners and users. This almost reinforces more people in our world then more revenue will come. Unfortunately, anyone who has been on the channel long enough now knows that this is not true.
Decrease license costs, resource allocation, data management needs, and headcount for reps managing useless partners….. Every year, fire the bottom 10% of your partner program. Your bottom line will thank you.
2. Technology can’t make up for bad program design
Your channel is not like a Tesla P90, it doesn’t just show up and run on autopilot. Sometimes, technology can be the answer to a challenge one is facing, both at home and at work (which today is probably the same place if you are reading this).
Over the years, we have seen it all. Organizations who refuse to pay competitive margins, invest in the appropriate partner enablement material, commit to SLAs and steal deal registrations every chance they get. Suffice it to say, those organizations don’t remain competitive in the market for long.
From the top-down of any organization, the channel must be a strategic decision that is properly staffed and invested in. Simply hiring your first Channel Sales Manager, giving them a budget of $XXXX for a partner portal, and saying “go grow a channel” is not enough.
Being a leader, it is important to align the goals and vision of everyone in the organization around the success of the channel.
3. No one cares about you until you give them a reason to
One of the most common requests vendors make of partner portal software providers is that they have a place to store their marketing collateral. Things like PowerPoint presentations, sales decks, battle cards, etc.
Let’s pause right there.
Ego, subjectively, of course, is arguably one of the biggest contributors to the lack of partner engagement with your organization. Let me explain.
Your partners likely sell for countless other organizations, each one of them claiming to be the best at whatever it is they build. Each one of those organizations invests tens of thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, building content for their sales team to win deals. The assumption is that to save money, the same content can be deployed via the partner relationship management system to partners …… Certainly False Assumption!
Partners care about their end customers, they care about their commission checks and they care about feeding their families. Build content that bridges the gap between the recent Forrester report, and how that helps them to accomplish their goals. When you do that, they start to care more about your organization.
4. Being stingy with CQLs!
I will admit it! I just made that acronym up – Channel Qualified Leads. The amount of money that goes is more valuable than an MQL generated by the Marketing Team.
Depending upon your industry, the cost of an MQL could be hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Do some simple math, what is the cost to your organization of a partner bringing you a qualified deal registration submitted through your partner portal?
Take that cost, subtract it from the cost your organization would happily pay for an MQL, and give the rest as a SPIFF to the sales rep who sourced the deal. It makes absolutely no sense why any organization would fail to properly reimburse channel reps; when countless data points arrive at the conclusion that a channel-driven deal closes at exponentially higher rates than almost any other lead source (minus repeat customers).
Your channel growth revolves around how proactively you rip out the weeds, allowing your flowers to flourish!
Channel Partners help in solving business challenges for your customers by developing a healthy, trustworthy relationship with them. Request a demo today to explore how Vartopia’s platform can take your business to the next level.