By Erich Flynn, CEO, TreeHouse Interactive
Every partner program is different, with each market having different things channel partners value. Channel managers have the job of finding out what partners value and what they don’t. What doesn’t change is unless you have a value proposition, partners will not seek you out or remain partners for very long. The following are some of the most common value propositions to consider:
Your company can provide more value to partners than competitors by increasing their sales. Having a program to distribute qualified leads to partners is one way to show value here. Protecting partner opportunities, preventing channel conflict and assisting with deal closing as part of a deal registration program also show value.
Surveying partners for suggestions on improving your partner program helps you understand where to focus efforts. Training will invariably be one of the top improvement areas. Providing easy access to quality training is of real value to partners because it helps them sell intelligently and promotes their trusted status with end users.
Providing access to co-branded collateral, joint campaign creatives, email marketing and marketing funds is valuable to many partners. The key here is to make it easy to access and create what they need.
Partners appreciate being able to easily log support calls with you and your prompt attention to them. Even better, give trained partners access to tier 2 or 3 support, skipping the initial level that is typically a waste of their time. Make finding the support documents they need quick and easy so they can better support your mutual customers. Partners are more loyal if they get the help they need quickly.
Again, not all markets are the same, but focus on finding the areas where your partners find value and you will produce results. One final point is that as your market gets more competitive, the better your partner program must be. Partners are free agents. If another company has a world-class partner program with a Web-based portal, training programs, fund management and marketing assistance and you don’t, they will move on given competitive products are functionally similar.
What value propositions have you seen work with your channel partners?
Erich Flynn is the CEO of leading partner relationship management (PRM) solution provider, TreeHouse Interactive. His company’s SaaS-based Reseller View PRM enables successful channel programs for hundreds of thousands of partners across the globe. Erich has also managed large partner networks directly at companies like Iomega, Fujitsu and Quantum. You can contact him through www.treehousei.com, by calling 801.576.8428 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.