How to Increase Revenue with Channel Partners

How to Increase Revenue with Channel Partners

Categories: Sales Leadership  |  Sales Productivity  |  Scaling Sales  |  Partners

A channel program is an effective way to increase your capacity and expand market share, helping you reach your growth goals faster. When executed well, your channel program will decrease the cost of a sale, improve reach into new markets, and grow overall seller capacity without increasing internal headcount. However, backing your program with the right resources will be critical to its success. 

To expand market share, you'll need Productivity x Capacity to drive growth. A robust channel partner program will take focus and attention to develop both sides of this equation. For today, we'll set aside the capacity piece of the formula and dig into the actions leaders can take to boost productivity from channel partners.

Increasing Channel Partner Productivity

When it comes to channel sales, your ability to control the sales process is limited. You have to accept that your partner controls the time frame, message to the customer, and, ultimately, your forecast. What you can control is the tools you provide to help that partner sell your solution.

It's important to put time and resources into helping your channel sellers understand your company's value and differentiation as well as your internal revenue teams do. Successful channel execution starts with clearly defined practices that drive bottom-line impact.

Five steps to secure channel partner success:

1. Ensure that your company's message and your partner’s message are consistent

Driving consistency between your organization's message and your partner's message is critical to align with your customer's buying process. The amount of digital content available today means customers are educating themselves about your offerings prior to any conversation with an actual salesperson. If your partner's message is misaligned with your content, you could miss opportunities to move good deals forward. 

The best channel enablement programs equip their partners with the ability to communicate their value proposition and give them the ability to answer essential questions on their behalf:

• What problems do we solve for our customers?
• How do we specifically solve these problems with your solution?
• How do we do it differently from the competition?
• What is our proof?

These questions are simple, but the answers typically are not. Most companies don’t have internal alignment on these questions. If you asked executive leaders in your company these four questions, how much would their answers differ? Align internally on the answers, and then make sure your partners are aligned in the same way. Does your message support the channel buyer’s journey? Can your partners execute that message? Do their marketing materials, sales tools, and presentation decks all have that same unified message?

2. Educate the partner community on the critical skills to be successful in today’s markets

Your partners won’t be successful in selling your solutions if they can’t effectively execute in front of the customer. Secure a plan to make sure that every person selling your solution can execute these three critical sales skills:

1. Uncover customer needs by executing an effective discovery session
2. Articulate value and differentiation in a way that has meaning to the buyer
3. Position and negotiate value, preserving margin and avoiding price cuts

3. Implement and inspect what channel leadership adopts in the field

Ensuring that your channel leaders are driving enablement and adoption in the field will help produce greater success rates. Just as you do with your internal managers, make sure you provide the how, not just the what.

Give partners the tools and processes that help drive the right behaviors and coach them on the desired sales motion. Actions like pre-call planning, asking deep discovery questions and role playing all help increase transaction sizes across the board. 

4. Arm partners with competitive intelligence to accelerate the sales process

How does your solution differ from the competition? How is that differentiation tied to what drives value for your buyer? Provide partners with competitive information that outlines how your solution is: 

• UNIQUE — your competition doesn’t have the same features or capabilities
• COMPARATIVELY DIFFERENT — features or capabilities that are similar, but are delivered in ways that are more valuable to the buyer
• HOLISTICALLY BETTER — qualities about your company that would mitigate risk in the buying decision (e.g., years in business)

5. Provide the channel with proof points that demonstrate your success

Customer testimonials are an asset to any sales conversation. Providing tangible and consumable points of reference on the results your solution provides will strengthen your message and put evidence behind your claims. If your solution saved another customer X% of revenue, then that’s valuable information for a channel partner to have. Develop a way for channel partners to easily tap into case studies, testimonial quotes, and proof points for use in their own sales conversations.

Drive Results with Channel Sales

Best-in-class sales organizations understand that a channel organization can be the key to reaching revenue goals. They invest in making sure these critical partners are enabled in a way that drives consistency in the marketplace, preserves margins, and improves market share.
Too often, companies launch a channel partner program without accounting for the steps needed to truly enable execution at the point of sale. This oversight will ultimately hinder the program's long-term success. Take the time and invest the resources you need to drive consistency and success. Your revenue goals are too important to leave them to chance.
This resource dives deeper into some practices to implement with your internal and channel teams:

New call-to-action


Sales Pro Central