3 Steps to Develop Your Channel Partner Program

3 Steps to Develop Your Channel Partner Program

Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Scaling Sales  |  Partners  |  Economic Change

Channel organizations are an often overlooked, but critical component to increasing market share for complex B2B sales organizations. During my time as VP of PTC’s Worldwide Channel Program, I leaned on a core formula: Productivity x Capacity = Growth. In this article, we will focus on capacity, but stay tuned for part two in this series for the other side of the equation: How to Increase Channel Partner Productivity.

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The capacity side of the formula is a focus on not just recruiting, but recruiting the right Channel Partners. For an indirect sales program to be successful, you need to always be recruiting new partners that understand the value and differentiation your service or product brings to both the end user, and to them as a key partner. Here are the top three things to keep in mind as you work on growing your partner program.

1. Always Be Recruiting

Recruiting new partners should be ongoing. Capacity should be approached from two angles. First: you’re always trying to grow your number of partners. And second: as partners naturally turn over, you’ll need to ensure you’re always onboarding partners that fill those revenue gaps. Having a diverse partner program is important for success; you must have partners of different sizes, different strengths, and differing expertise at selling into separate verticals. Partner sellers can be a fantastic way to expand internationally. But as we know, it’s not enough to just recruit as many partners as possible. You need to be recruiting the RIGHT partners.

2. Know Your Ideal Partner Profile

One of the most effective things I did as a channel leader was defining what success looked like for our partner sales representatives. While this was designed for partners to use when sourcing new talent, the same principle applies to the partners you recruit. It’s a detailed profile of your perfect partner. Keep these five things in mind when determining your ideal partner profile:

  • Strategic Alignment: Do short-term and long-term goals line up in a way that’s beneficial to both the partner and your organization?
  • Where They Do Business: Does the partner sell in the specific geo/region you are currently in or would like to expand into?
  • Industry: Does the partner sell into the specific industry you are in? (Or would like to be in?)
  • How They Sell: Does the partner offer a service, or are they simply lead generation?
  • What They Sell: Does the partner have a value-add for your end-user

Once you’ve identified these five critical components of your ideal partner you can focus on recruiting the partners that will have the biggest impact on revenue.

3. Create Value for Your Partner

Now that you’ve identified your ideal partner, frame conversations with prospects that highlight how you can help them achieve their business goals. The best way to do this is through internal alignment on the four essential questions, followed by purposeful discovery. Ensure your company is aligned on the following:

  • What problems do you solve for both your partner AND the end user?
  • How do you solve those problems?
  • How do you solve them differently and/or better than the competition?
  • What's your proof? 

If you can clearly answer these four essential questions in a way that aligns your services or solutions with the problems your partner is trying to solve or the outcomes they’re trying to achieve, you will be able to recruit quality partners that are set up to position your solutions in the field.

Growing your partner capacity can be a low-cost solution for growing revenue, entering new regions, and even penetrating new markets. As you plan the path forward, don’t overlook this easy-to-miss opportunity for expanding your boundaries. When Channel Partner programs are executed correctly, the results can be game-changing.


More Leadership Strategies for What Works Right Now

Spending the warranted time and attention on developing an effective Channel Partner program is just one of many strategies leaders are using to steer organizations through a time of challenge. Today, even top sales leaders are looking for creative ways to drive revenue. That’s why we brought together a panel of three dynamic leaders for a detailed  conversation on what is working right now, and where leaders should focus to create success in today’s B2B tech sales market. Gain an edge by gathering key insights from our Industry Leadership Panel: Navigating Success in Economic Change, available on-demand

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