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Episode 19 - Define Your Channel Program

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Convey Channel Helps You Define Your Channel Program

Let’s face it.  Most of you don’t really want or need every partner out there to try and sell your services. You could try that strategy, but you end up with endless quotes, frustrated partners and very few deals. To have an effective channel program, you have to define who you want to do business with, both on the partner and customer side.  Vendors who participate in Convey Channel have numerous opportunities to use their content catalog to define their program, focus partners on the type of accounts that are in your sweet spot, and what partner benefits are part of your channel program.

Over the years, we’ve seen a number of vendors and master agents make the mistake of being all things to all partners.  Unless you are a huge national master agent with lots of resources or a vendor who has an extremely wide range of services, this strategy creates a recipe for disaster.  Partners tend to focus their sales efforts and build a customer base that matches their product expertise and sales skills.  The partner that likes to sell complex network deals to healthcare chains is likely not the same person that would be stimulated by pursuing a small business for hosted voice or failover service.

Convey has built its content and marketing network to help both the master agent and the vendor to define who they are and the type of partner they want to work with.

Start by creating an ideal partner profile and communicate your partner strategy through your Convey Channel content catalog.  That statement may seem scary to vendors and master agents because certainly it seems less risky to try and work with every partner, right?  But the reality is that 20% of partners are most likely to be those that are active with you and produce 80% of the referrals and your channel revenue. I’ve seen master agents be very successful by focusing on managed services providers as agents or vendors succeeding by attracting the partner who likes to sell complex cloud deals.

A content catalog gives you many opportunities to let partners know who you are and how you define your partner program.  As an example, you can create a page inside your catalog entitled “Partner Program”.   Add text & graphics to let partners know if they are right for you or create a short informational video to communicate the message.  Use a banner to direct viewers to that page or a content post that define your program.

Then consider creating an “elite partner program” and inviting partners to join it.  Ask partners to “sign up” for your elite partner program in order to receive special help and support.  You can add a form to any page inside your Convey catalog asking the partner to let you know they are interested.  Once the form is filled out, you can designate any person in your channel organization to get notified so they can follow up.  If you have one of Convey’s partner portals, partners can apply to become members by linking them straight from your catalog on master agent portals to the member application inside your own portal.  You can even automate accepting that partner into your program or screen the application first before you approve that partner.

Next use the content catalog to educate partners on the type of customer that you would like them to pursue.  Unless you want an endless flow of referrals jamming up your quote desk, taking up your channel managers time and not resulting in transactions, you have to help focus your partners’ efforts.  Use your content catalog give partners an education on your target markets, the kind of account you want to work with and the individuals inside that account that are the right decision makers. 

Here is what works best.  Add case studies on sales successes in your best vertical markets.  Promote a webinar that you deliver to educate partners on the prospect that they can win with and how to sell to them.  Add a separate battle card for each industry that you want partners to pursue.  It’s important that you use the full range of catalog opportunities to keep reinforcing your ideal customer profile.

And finally, consider expanding how you work with partners by adding a Convey Partner Portal.  Convey integrates its Convey Channel Network with individual vendor portals to make it very efficient for you to update and engage all of your partners.  Vendors that have a Convey portal can have it connected to up to 40 master agent portals in our network.  When you add that battlecard, spiff, or case study, it’s available to partners that login to your own portal and can be distributed throughout the network.

Having your own partner portal allows you to gain the efficiencies of automation, give partners assets and information they can’t get anywhere else, track what they engage with because they are now logged into your environment and give partners incentives because they are members of your elite partner program.

The Takeaway

There are more partners than ever before in our channel market with newer partner types such as managed services providers and value-added resellers asking to provide network and cloud services to their customers.  Successful channel programs focus their efforts on the type of partner that is best positioned to sell their services, educating them about how to pursue customers in their sweet spot, and providing them resources to be successful. 

Convey Channel helps you define your partner program and attract the best partners to sell your services.  To learn if your company is right for our Convey Channel program, go to the Convey Services website at http://conveyservices.com or visit Convey Channel at http://conveychannel.com

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