A channel program is an effective way to increase your capacity and expand market share. However, without putting resources behind enabling this avenue for revenue, you’ll likely do more harm than good. To garner the many benefits that come from a robust channel program, you need to put the time and resources into ensuring your channel sellers have the same understanding of your value and differentiation as your own field or inside sales teams.
1. Align with Consistent Messaging
The plethora of digital content available means customers are seemingly more informed. They’re educating themselves about your offerings prior to any conversation with an actual salesperson. This situation creates a potential for missed opportunity if that partner is misaligned with your brand or your company’s value and differentiation articulated from headquarters.
Your entire organization has to be aligned around these four essential questions internally:
What problems do you solve?
How do you solve those problems?
How do you solve them differently and/or better than the competition?
What's your proof?
These questions are simple, but the answers typically are not. Most companies don’t have alignment internally on these questions, let alone through their partner network. If you are not aligned as a company on those answers, how can you expect your partners to position your solutions correctly in the field?
It is important for channel partners to be situationally fluent with their sales messaging in front of a customer, but they also need the sales skills it takes to successfully close the deal. There are three critical sales skills every salesperson needs, including those in your channel organization:
Uncover customer needs by executing an effective discovery session
Articulate value and differentiation in a way that has meaning to the buyer
Position and negotiate value, preserving margin and avoiding price cuts
Think about these skills as they relate to your channel salespeople. Do they have them? They need to have the same understanding of your value and differentiation as your direct team. In addition, they need to be able to articulate those points in a way that's relevant to the buyer.
An effective sales messaging framework can drive the consistency needed around these critical sales skills. Customizing it and building it with the right inputs allow your channel reps to easily map value and differentiation to buyer needs and requirements, as well as align your entire channel organization behind what drives value for your customers.
3. Enable with Sales Consumable Tools
Your channel organization will be more successful if your messing framework and other training tools are sales consumable, meaning they can easily use the tools to execute in front of current and prospective accounts. What good is the content you’re providing to your channel organization if the reps aren’t able to easily use iton a daily basis? By taking the time to create tools and processes that are easily digestible and actionable, you can ensure their use and their success.
In any organization, channel partners are often seen as outsiders or people that “we give margin to,” so they can be easily neglected or misunderstood. Some may also have competitive allegiances that may make some companies leery of providing too much training and enablement. However, if they’re driving a large portion of your company’s revenue, you are doing them and your organization a disservice by not providing with effective tools and processes to sell your solutions effectively.
Providing these critical components to your channel organization will create the results necessary for bottom-line impact, including:
Increased Revenue Per Sales Rep
Increased Average Deal Size
Reduced Sales Cycle
Reduced Ramp-Up Time
Enable them to be effective in selling your solutions. Help set them up for success. Give them the training, processes and tools necessary to drive measurable results.