Selecting a good alliance channel partner can be pretty challenging. Just like choosing the right player in the game, selecting the right one will make you win; however, picking the wrong one will lead to losing the entire game. Similarly, selecting a channel partner works. Picking the right channel partner can deliver significant benefits to your business. On the contrary, choosing the wrong one may affect channel sales and hinder your brand image. And indeed, you should be careful to never compromise your brand image. So how can you identify who you should partner with? How can you recruit the right channel partners that could benefit you in all aspects of your sales strategy? Read on to find the answers to all your questions. Here are a few quick steps you can use to help with effective channel partner recruitment.
Steps for an effective Channel Partner Recruitment Process:
1. Identify, define and validate the marketThe initial step for any startup (or brand introducing a new product line) is to identify the target market. This includes identifying the target audience experiencing the pain point addressed by your solution and who exactly requires these solutions. Find out the target audience and fill out the gaps of a pain point and the solution offered.
2. Develop Selection CriteriaIf you don't know what exactly you are looking for, how would you understand that you have finally found it? Well, one of the essential things that need to be focused on is to define the selection criteria and mark it as an entry point for every channel partner ticking all the elements in your list. While developing the criteria, below are the areas to be considered:
- The potential of the channel partner to deliver strategic value to the company.
- Are the channel partners compatible with the competencies required for your products or services?
- Are their strategies and goals consistent with your business?
- What could be the risks involved?
- What is their highest qualification or expertise area or skills?
3. Identify and Prioritize the Channel Partner Organization.This includes the gaps identified in the first step and the capabilities required in the second. Based on both validations, make a list of the candidates that may fit the criterion in the best way possible.
4. Prepare a Channel Partner Proposition WorksheetTake care not to make it seem like you are randomly choosing any channel partner or one that only fits in a single portion of your overall solution. The channel partner could become a greater asset for the company in the future, so approach the channel partner recruitment with the same care and preparation you would do if you were trying to target a potential customer to convince them to buy your products or services. With a Channel Partner Worksheet, we suggest you prepare a comprehensive overview of what you can add to their customer offerings, what your channel program includes, and what types of sales incentives you can offer them. Think like you are in your channel partner's shoes! What can you provide? Why would your channel partner work with you? Do your homework appropriately upfront and understand your company goals that need to be attained with the help of a channel partner.
5. Evaluate the best fitWith the help of the partner recruitment checklist, evaluate the best fit for the channel. Identify the channel partner that suitably ticks all the boxes of the elements for preparing for channel partner recruitment and select the one that may benefit the entire partner program.
6. Conduct Partner Recruitment CallsOnce you are ready with the preparations and have done all the homework, initiate the introductory call. Based on the size of the business, share the company's overview with the partners and understand their expectations over the call. Additionally, share the prepared channel partner proposition worksheet with them and give them some time to evaluate the offerings.
7. Develop a Strong Channel Partner Onboarding PlanBefore you celebrate and uncork the bottle for the celebrations, realize that the partner selection is just the initial step, and your work has just begun with this selection. Make a strategic plan to have a smooth and streamlined partner onboarding, provide easy-to-use educational resources, and share your company goals to make the partnership work best for you. Develop a plan outlining the channel partnership goals, engagement rules, action plans, channel checkpoints, and every other essential ingredient to make the relationship thrive long-term.
Channel Partner Recruitment Checklist
Identifying your ideal channel partners is one of the most critical components of building out your indirect sales channel. Here is a quick channel partner selection checklist to help you find the right channel partner for your business.
- Request a list of potential channel partners' current product or services portfolio.
- How many other vendors is the channel partner presently working with?
- Is the partner offering any competitive solutions?
- How much knowledge of the specific niche you are dealing with does the channel partner already have?
- Does the channel partner's current customer base match your target audience?
- Does the channel partner have unique skills and expertise to sell to companies in a specific industry you may target?
- Does your solution fit the channel partner's portfolio?
- Does the channel partner already have a dedicated marketing team?
- What does the channel partner's firm's employee turnover rate look like?
- What is the channel partner's reputation in the current industry?
- Is the channel partner share your company's values and ethics?
- Does the channel partner have experience selling services or products similar to yours?
- Can the channel partner provide the customer with the first line of support?
- Is the channel partner experienced in performing product demos?