Is it even possible to overestimate the role the channel plays in the high tech industry today? I’m pretty sure it’s not.
If your company operates in the B2C market space, you need the distribution and reseller channel to hit your sales targets. If you focus on the B2B space or the enterprise market, you also need to take note of deployment, consulting, retention, upselling and all the other areas companies outsource in today’s ever-changing IT arena. The brutal truth is that all sales targets do is increase, so it’s critical to have a capable and reliable channel partner presence to sell to your customers and service their needs.
A successful channel development strategy includes a variety of channel partner programs that run key priorities and business goals:
- Recruitment and Onboarding
- Readiness and Education
- Motivation (Incentives, MDF, Rebates)
- Partner events
An efficient combination of these programs can be a great base for building a capable and loyal partner ecosystem. With that said, I would like to emphasize a few key points that must be considered for successful channel partner programs:
- Simplicity: Starting from registration, the whole process of participation and payment MUST be as easy as possible for channel partners. They live in a very competitive fast-changing environment and we cannot expect them to spend their time and resources to figure out the nuances of numerous vendors’ programs. Simply put, channel partners will just skip participation if these programs aren’t simple enough.
- Program configuration: Your program should be concise and clearly defined before it starts counting every small detail and scenario. There is no room for gaps, missing pieces or unclear rules.
- Transparency: Channel partners should clearly understand how your program works, so you must not leave any grey areas. Being clear helps build trust and appreciation in the relationship, which is key during trying times.
- Automation: Avoid manual processes as much as possible to reduce chances of human error, wrong data, delays, and frustrations.
- Communication: Overcommunicate! Make sure that every channel program participant understands the rules, requirements and expected outcome. Investing your time and efforts here will save a lot on dealing with unsatisfied channel partners later.
- Tracking: Track and monitor your channel program constantly. Make sure you have KPIs settled and enough statistics to track them precisely and diligently. Staying on top of program performance helps provide valuable insights into your expected results. Having this data at your fingertips allows you to evaluate success or initiate corrective action
To find out more about the Vistex approach, join us at our user group conference in Las Vegas, October 2-4. VISTAS, the Vistex Annual Summit, is the best place to see what we’re all about, and learn more about how we support our channel partners. We’ll be sharing our customers’ experiences with running successful channel programs as well as how Vistex helps them configure, automate and optimize their best programs for channel partners. So, don’t just take our word for it – plan on participating at VISTAS in Las Vegas and hear directly from partners running channel enabled programs by Vistex.