Back in 2011, while writing one of my first white papers on partner enablement, a seasoned channel colleague told me about the three elements a manufacturer must provide to its partners in order to make them successful.Since that conversation, the channel has seen many changes…again. Four years seems like a lifetime ago in terms of the channel, but those three elements have always stuck in my mind; and they are still sound rules to live by.
So as we head into 2016, let’s revisit one of these three simple rules based on what I’ve been observing with our clients. Let’s talk about what it means to be “easy to do business with” so you don’t become a burden to your partners.
Whenever someone asks me to explain the channel, I always feel I need a whiteboard and three or four colored markers to draw it out for them. It’s not a simple task. But if you have a good product or solution, and you have a loyal set of partners, it doesn’t take rocket science to build revenue. If it is priced well, has a competitive advantage in the market, you’ve done your job to properly incentivize partners and show them how to sell it, your offering should move.
But the truth is, the channel has NEVER been easy and it will continue to get MORE complex. What starts out as a well-conceived and well-executed solution quickly becomes encumbered by complicated deal registration systems, convoluted MDF procedures, a difficult incentive model, and the daunting task of bundling multiple vendors into one alliance.
What started out as a great idea is now buried by layers of programmatic sediment weighing down your program and your partners.
Simplify! We gain sales and partner loyalty by not just building a great solution, but by creating a channel program that is easy to navigate and does not add unnecessary weight to a partner. I won’t try and solve any problems with this post, but there are a few simple points to think about – which should form questions in your mind and expose the real problems.Three simple questions, but simplicity is the key to being easy to do business with. If you have to fumble and stumble over your answers to these simple questions, you just might be a burden. You probably need to have a strategy session.
Building partner sales and loyalty is a complex process as it is. The manufacturer has to continue to introduce innovative approaches to enable partners.
With a sea full of partners with limited attention spans, manufacturers who act strategically, actively enable their partners, and respond to their needs will win both wallet and mind share.