What are you guaranteed to have if you have more than two partners in your channel partner program? This sounds like the first line of a joke — but it’s not. Having more than two partners in your channel partner program guarantees you will have channel conflict! And you only need one partner to see potential conflict if you also have direct or online sales motion.
Today, with more “born in the cloud” partners, and more services being delivered by remote cloud service providers, the chance for partners to have conflict with each other or with your direct sales team is greater than ever. It’s not like the old days when channel conflict happened mostly at the local level between multiple partners going after the same neighborhood accounts, although of course that still happens.
So what can you do about channel conflict? Deal registration. I love deal registration. It is a powerful program element that can be used in so many ways to help you improve your relationship with your partners.
A well-designed and properly-executed deal registration program can eliminate many of the channel conflicts associated with multiple partners chasing the same opportunities, as well as resolve the issues involving direct sales versus indirect sales. But the primary reason I love a deal registration program is that it can do so much more.
Everyone wants access and visibility to a sales funnel that looks out as far into the future as possible and to have some measure of accountability for the accuracy of that pipeline. Guess what? Deal registration does that for you, and it alleviates some of the concern that partners have with sharing their pipeline with vendors.
Although deal registration is not “protection,” because you can never control how other partners may price your product or services, it gives the partner with an approved deal registration a measure of security that doesn’t exist without the additional discount incentive. So partners are more comfortable with trading their precious pipeline information to gain that increased discount.
Deal registration programs also give you another tool to communicate to partners what you value, which is really what today’s best partner programs do. For example, if you want your partners to increase your market share by looking for and closing business with net new customers, you can show partners that value by using the discount lever in your deal registration program. These incentives show them just how much you value that type of activity.
Deal registration sounds like a knife that can cut anything! (It slices! It dices!) But really, the key is having a well-designed and executed deal registration program that works in concert with your other program elements to drive the proper behavior and also reduce or eliminate bad behavior. We’ve taken our years of consulting to compile 10 key steps in designing and implementing an excellent deal or opportunity registration program.
Download the new white paper from PartnerPath and let us know how you’re leveraging deal registration in your partner ecosystem.
Tim Lowe is Vice President of Consulting at PartnerPath with more than 20 years of management experience in identifying and executing core business strategies, which include channels as a fundamental element. He is also the PartnerPath expert on deal registration.