When you form a great, mutually beneficial partnership, you can land more clients, expand your business into new markets, and unlock additional revenue streams. At the same time, you can also take advantage of economies of scale, reduce risk, and drive competitive advantage.

Successful Channel Partnership Case Studies

Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is Amazon’s cloud computing unit, recently joined forces with Major League Baseball (MLB). Under the terms of the partnership, MLB leverages AWS’s machine learning, artificial intelligence, and deep learning tools to improve the fan experience by serving up “next-level” statistics.

If you’ve seen a baseball game over the last few seasons, you might have noticed things like “exit velocity” and “launch angles”—two stats that simply didn’t exist before the partnership was forged. AWS also promises to integrate technology into all MLB ballparks to improve the in-game experience for fans. In exchange for providing this technology, AWS is able to advertise “for free” during every MLB game.

Since AWS re-upped the partnership, we suspect the agreement is mutually beneficial.

Starbucks and Barnes & Noble

If you’re ever walked into a Barnes & Noble, chances are you’re familiar with the fact that many of their locations have a built-in Starbucks cafe inside of them. It’s the perfect match: Starbucks brings the coffee, food, and related retail items, and Barnes & Noble brings the books, movies, music, and magazines.

The two businesses are highly complementary to each other—much like AWS helps satiate MLB fans’ unending desire for statistics. As a result of the partnership between Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, both companies’ products get into the hands of more people.

For example, someone looking for a quick coffee might waltz into a nearby Barnes & Noble with a Starbucks inside and see a book or magazine that catches their eye. Similarly, someone looking for a book might see a line of thirsty customers waiting for their java fix and decide that they want a coffee, too.

In this same vein, a channel partner program can make all the difference for your business, as well as for the company you partner with. But how exactly do you go about building a successful channel partner program? Let’s take a look.

6 Steps for Building a Successful Channel Partner Program

Every channel program is different. That said, the most successful programs tend to be built on a foundation that includes these six steps.

1. Define your program objectives and set the rules.

You can’t just decide to launch a program, snap your fingers, and get great results. The most successful channel programs are very intentional. Channel managers look to forge strategic partnerships and leverage existing networks to get their products into the hands of more people in more markets.

At the same time, you need to create sensible rules and make sure they are enforced transparently and fairly. For example, most programs have rules that prevent partners from registering the same deal with competing vendors.

2. Recruit partners for a reason.

You can’t just join forces with any old company. Partnerships between MLB and Crest toothpaste, or Barnes and Noble and Olive Garden, probably wouldn’t have the same success as their respective partnerships with AWS and Starbucks.

3. Set your partners up for success.

The easier you make things for your partners, the more likely your program will return the results you’re hoping for. This is where channel technology can be a true game-changer. Invest in tools that make deal registration and alliance registration easy.

4. Incentivize your partners to encourage the right behaviors.

If you want to get great results from your channel program, you need to incentivize partners to drive desired behaviors. At a very high level, this involves paying your partners quickly after completing each step you want them to take.

5. Communicate with partners regularly.

All top-performing channel programs include consistent communication. Partners are kept in the loop about all major developments and any changes to the program, and they are also able to quickly update statuses as deals change.

6. Use data to continuously optimize your program.

No matter how good your partner program is today, it can always be better. This is where technology can save the day again. With a powerful channel technology platform in place, you can collect the data you need to continuously improve your program, getting better and better results over time.

Ready to Launch Your Channel Partner Program?

Whether you’re thinking about starting a new channel program from scratch, or you want to give an existing program a much-needed facelift, Vartopia can help. Request a demo of Vartopia today to see why today’s leading channel programs rely on our robust platform every day.