When exploring your work in the channel, it’s easy to try to address things with the same strategy as direct sales. Often, you can have some success with this method. Other times, you may find yourself failing. What’s important to remember is that you need to address your channel partners differently at times.
There are a few mistakes that can be made fairly easily. Here are three possible failing points and how to avoid them:
1. Focusing on Partner Recruitment Instead of Engagement
While it’s important to have a comprehensive list of channel partners to work with, it’s also important to make sure those partners remain engaged. If you’re spending the bulk of your time on seeking out channel partners, that means your existing work in the channel is suffering.
You don’t need to spend all of your time in the channel working on re-engaging and nurturing your partners. But you do need to spend enough time that they don’t migrate away from your partnership. By striking a balance between finding new channel partners and keeping your current partners engaged, you’re showing all of your partners that you care about the relationship.
Another factor to keep in mind is that if you’re only devoting your efforts to recruitment, how personalized are any of your communications? If you are using a blanket newsletter for your sales acceleration communiques, then your current channel partners are not going to feel the love. Take a little more time and use a little more effort to give a little more of a directed message to each partner. Acknowledge any accomplishments you both shared the last quarter and address ways that each can improve. That newsletter will be received much more warmly than a generic one—guaranteed.
2. Trying for a Home Run Instead of Diversifying
Otherwise known as the “get-rich-quick scheme.” With any situation, it’s easy to focus on a single point where you are hoping for a huge amount of success. We all can become hopeful, see the possibility, and run wild imagining how good things would be if it turned out optimally.
However, channel marketing is turning into a game of short gains and consistency. Just as it’s important to work on repeatedly engaging and developing all of your channel partners, it’s also important to make sure you have enough of them to have a diverse base. When some partners are not pulling their weight, the others can pick up the slack.
If you zeroed in on one or two heavy hitters, crossed your fingers, and hoped for the best, you might be disappointed. But if you diversified and grabbed as many worthwhile partners as you could, and treated them all with equal attention, you’re more likely to succeed.
3. Blindly Repeating Tasks Without Reviewing a Business Plan
Are you doing the same things you did five years ago? That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but a problem arises if you’ve never taken a moment to think about the reasoning behind it. Does your list of tactics still make business sense when you review the rationale behind all of them?
Think about areas that you could spend half the amount but still reap at least 85 percent of the benefit. You may find that nearly all of your advertising and co-branding activities can be operated at almost no loss of function with a lot less budget. This means that you can then test out new strategies and initiatives and have a chance to find new ways to engage your channel partners.
In conclusion, just because you’ve fallen into the trap of one of these mistakes before, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed to repeat yourself. History is to be learned from, and with the knowledge of what you need to do differently with respect to these three mistakes, you can avoid failure in the future.