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The Sales Review

Tactics, technology and strategies to align with the modern buyer

The Biggest Flaw In Your Partner Sales Process

Posted by Jen Spencer on Mar 16, 2017 12:17:15 PM

biggest-flaw-partner-sales-process.jpgLike in any area of business, the channel has its do’s and don’ts, its conventional wisdom about the best ways to operate and profit. But as partnering continues to grow in popularity and complexity, some of those old standby truisms about the right way to recruit, incentivize, and manage a channel team don’t apply the way they did even five years ago. It’s a new and rapidly changing world of partnering out there—the rules are changing.  

So let’s take a look at three classic assumptions that even some top channel pros have about what works best that aren’t so true anymore and explore new ways of doing things that better fit today’s tech-accelerated world.

1. Incentives Aren’t All About Hitting a Number

biggest-flaw-partner-sales1.pngRewarding top-performing channel teams with the biggest bonuses is just the way things are done, right?

But while, of course, you want your channel teams to be rewarded for bringing in revenue, doing a good job is no longer a matter of just moving X number of boxes, and a model of incentivization that rests on that mindset is a bit of a dinosaur.

Rather than thinking of incentivization as being a zero or a one, with the best team getting the bonus, think about incentivizing behaviors.

Channel sales acceleration solutions set up teams to profit incrementally through carrying out specific interactions with clients to ensure their satisfaction, through being accurate and detailed with their reporting, through interacting with and mastering marketing materials, and more.

And above all, incentivization needs to evolve to meet the realities of markets built around subscription-based revenue models.

Incentivize your channel teams to build long-term, enduring relationships that will keep that revenue coming in. That’s how you’re really going to profit these days, so reward your channel for helping get you there.  

2. The Competition Isn’t Your Enemy

biggest-sales-partner-sales3.pngWhile it might seem like a natural assumption that two businesses working in the same space are going to be adversaries—that they should avoid talking too much with one another and play it close to the vest—that’s not how today’s channel is structured.

Partners have their specialties, they have their areas of technological focus, and when working in the same market, they can benefit tremendously from bringing each other on board to fill a gap they might not know about or offer an add-on they might not have available. Positioning your partners to work with one another means better business for them and more satisfaction for their clients—which translates into profits for you.

3. Partnering Isn’t a Numbers Game

biggest-flaw-partner-sales2.pngIn the earlier days of the Internet, setting up a Web form soliciting potential partners and seeing what bites you got was a perfectly acceptable way of building a channel—and that kind of public outreach may still sometimes bring in good, dedicated partners. Sometimes.

But the sheer amount of people out there surfing the Web and selling themselves makes separating the wheat from the chaff a more difficult proposition. And it isn’t necessarily good for your business or your brand to have your solution being represented by just anyone who wants to sign on. Being associated with fly-by-night operations obviously does not do wonders for that all-powerful word-of-mouth appeal.

These days, you don’t want just any partners or the most partners. What you want is the best partners. And the key to bringing on partners that will work for you is using high-quality targeting analytics.

Getting granular on what a partner can offer, what sort of clients it works with, and how you can best leverage a partner can let you whittle down your prospects to only the ones that will best represent, package, and promote your solution—so you won’t be spending time and resources on businesses that won’t get you where you need to be.  

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Jen Spencer

About the Author

Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Allbound, Inc.

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