Building a channel partner program is not a straight line that, when implemented, can give a fruitful outcome. It's a lovely mess that not only requires financial investments but also needs time investment, and a well-defined step-by-step plan, providing a clear vision and smooth implementation. Worried about launching your Channel Partner Program? Here’s a simple step-by-step process that may help!
Simple Steps to Launch a Channel Partner Program.
1. Define a value proposition
A well-defined value proposition provides an edge. It's an essential component that helps determine whether people will bother learning about your offering or not. It provides a clear vision to the people of what they will be getting by using your offering.
2. Craft a customer-centric sales processCustomers already know about your offering at this step, but now what? Does that mean they know about your product or services so they can quickly make a purchase? Well, no! There is still so much to do! Like understanding the entire buyer journey, what steps are involved in the sales process, what needs to be done at each stage, how many steps there are, and many more! Therefore, creating the sales process from the customer's perspective is essential.
3. Benchmark your competitorsYou must have heard of the phrase “Keep your friends close but enemies closer”; it is the time to apply it. Perform thorough research to understand what your competitors are doing. What is their target audience, how are they offering their solutions to the customers, how they are developing relationships with their channel partners, and what other essentials? This research will provide insights before beginning with your channel partner programs and developing your channel sales strategy.
4. Begin with one Partner Program onlyA partnership program can include various types of partners, including Distributors, VARs, alliance partners, referrals, MSPs, and ISVs. Additionally, you should take care of a multi-tier process with offerings to be considered. Well, where so much has to be done, worrying about trying to be all things to all types of partners might feel overwhelming. But wait, you gotta slow down, partner! With so much hassle, do yourself a favor that begins with only one partner type or partner program. And you will certainly discover that if one partner program works well, the others will undoubtedly fall into its place. Pro Tip:Begin with a partner program that identifies the partner tier with the largest potential as the highest priority.
5. Recruit & Onboard Channel PartnersBefore beginning with your partner program, understand what type of you require and how they are going to benefit you. Understanding this could help you select, recruit, and onboard the right channel partners. And with this, ensure to consider the following to get the best fit:
- What goals do you have for your partner program?
- What verticals do you want to break into?
- What type of channel partners will be the best for your program?
- How do you want your channel partners to distribute your offerings?
- What advantages would this potential channel partnership bring?
- What skills or proficiencies do you want in your channel partner?
6. Create Detailed Product / Service TrainingOnce you have recruited & onboarded, create a detailed product brief and provide the service training before the channel partners walk into the market with your offerings.
7. Leverage a Channel Partnership Lifecycle ModelUtilize a Channel Partnership Lifecycle Model that helps outline the key metrics and necessary elements to drive the partnership forward. One of the best ways to leverage the channel partnership lifecycle model is to outline the partner program goals. Here are the steps to understanding the standard channel partnership lifecycle model. Utilize each stage & take the steps towards your goal.
- Develop Partner Program & Onboard Channel Partners
- Co- Market the Product/ Service
- Review & Manage
Key Indicators for performance at each lifecycle!!
1. Develop Channel Programs & Onboard channel partnersThe performance indicators that mark the successful completion of the stage include:
- A number of registered channel partners.
- Training & certification completions by onboarded partners.
2. Co- Market the Product/ ServiceThe performance indicators that mark the successful completion of the stage include:
- Content and knowledge base sharing
- Openness with the channel partners regarding offerings and updates
- Number of registered deals
3. Review & ManageThe performance indicators that mark the successful completion of the stage include:
- Revenue generated
- Return on Investment
- Number of closed won deals