Channel partnerships are an integral component of SaaS sales that lets your company expand its reach and industry impact, without adding to your headcount. With the global IT market reaching over $5 trillion dollars, there is ample room for channel partnerships, and using them to your advantage will benefit your staff, your company, and your bottom line.
Building a Successful Channel Partner Program
Creating a sustainable, profitable channel partner program takes thorough research prior to launch, and careful maintenance throughout your partner relationship.
Determine the Kind of Partners You Want to Work With
Though your partners aren’t employees, you will be working very closely with them, and want to forge a mutually beneficial relationship. Evaluate if their capacity and goals align with your needs, and if they have access to markets you want to break into. Are they the type of partners that you’re looking for? With different kinds of partnerships available with retailers, wholesalers, distributors, and more, you need to determine where and how you want your partners to expand your market reach.
Get in Touch
Think of the next stage like a courtship; you and your potential partner are getting to know each other, and seeing if you’re a mutually good fit. Have transparent dialogue that delves into what their needs are from a partnership, what your potential hurdles could be, and how they will help you stand out in a new market.
Establish a Partnership Agreement
Now is not the time for handshake deals. Formalize your partnership with items like clear objectives, strategies and tactics, and partner resource allocation. Partner agreements keep both parties accountable to the standards and expectations of the partnership. Integrate metric tracking into your agreement so both you and your partner can measure the level of success they achieve.
Develop Effective Onboarding and Communication Practices
Your channel partners can’t sell products they don’t know about. This step often isn’t as fine-tuned as it should be, and it gets partnerships off to a rocky start. Supply them with product information, brand standards, sales training, and more through a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) program like xAmplify to streamline the onboarding process.
Provide Ongoing Support and Incentives
Keep your channel partners engaged with ongoing engagement and incentives to encourage their team members to put their best effort forward with your sales. Commission, a wholesale discount, or a sales performance incentive fund (SPIF) are common incentives provided to channel partners.
Growing Your Channel Partnership Program
In time, your channel partnership program will mature, and you will need to reevaluate current practices and see what you need to change or implement to continue its growth. When you are ready to scale your partnership program evaluate:
- Channel analytics
- Objectives and tiers
- Expanding to include a different kind of partner type
However, the most important task to implement when looking to scale your partnership program is implementing the right PRM. It creates consistency throughout all of your channel partners, and gives them instant access to product lines and details, onboarding and training materials, and detailed analytics. The right PRM scales from just managing partners to enabling them with just-in-time content for marketing, sales and customer success. Not every PRM is designed to scale. xAmplify’s PRM is designed to help you grow as your program needs grow. Learn more by contacting us.