Every sales and marketing professional trying to sell through indirect sales partners has asked the question,“Why isn’t this partner selling more of our stuff?” You have a good product, the market need is there, and your company is comping partners quite generously. So what’s the problem?
While there can be dozens of reasons your partners aren't selling your products and services, there are five in particular that you and your company need to own and overcome right away. If you focus on these things – all well within your control – you'll be taking a big step toward changing the trajectory of your partner pipeline for the better.
Lack of on-boarding. You signed up the partner so of course they are going to immediately start selling, right? Wrong! Everybody needs training, and a partner’s on-boarding experience is your chance to make the absolute best first impression. Many companies have found that the quicker they are able to on-board and “stand up” their partners, the more likely those partners will generate revenue over the long-term. Not properly on-boarding partners is an easy way to ensure partner failure.
Lack of responsiveness. You're challenged by your partners' lack of engagement, but how engaged is your organization in getting them what they need, and when they need it? When a partner has a $50,000 deal dependent upon your help, are you available to provide it? And, can you manage those requests across ALL of your partners?Partners need people and suppliers they can count on. Their customers are counting on them to deliver the right solutions that deliver value. Similarly, partners are counting on their suppliers to respond timely and effectively. A lack of responsiveness and access to the right information can stop a deal cold, and partners who can't get what they need to win deals will surely disassociate from your brand as a result.
Lack of consistency. When you think about your favorite companies to do business with, you will likely think about the consistent experience you have interacting with those organizations. Think Amazon – 99.9% of the time you get exactly what you ordered and it's on-time. And, if something does go wrong, they swiftly and painlessly make it right.Can the same be said for the way you service your partners and their customers? Are the partner marketing and sales programs you offer agile to change along with evolving marketplace dynamics? Do your reps know where to go for answers to their questions, or what materials are available to help satisfy their prospects' information needs? If you don't perform consistently for your partners, you can't expect them to perform consistently for you.
Lack of consideration for your partner's time. They say time is money and that is very much the case in partner sales. Every minute a sales rep loses handling service issues, looking for content, and accessing training takes time away from selling. Time is the lifeblood of any partner organization. Show them that you place value on their time and and they will place the same value in your business.
Lack of trust. We are all human beings. People want to do business with others that they trust. It’s that simple (Don’t believe me – Take a look at #7 from this article). But trust isn’t simply telling the truth. It’s doing what you said you are going to do, and doing it when you said you were going to do it. It’s going the extra mile when somebody needs assistance. It’s living by the golden rule. And it works. Do they trust me enough to believe my promises? Without trust, you have nothing. - Seth Godin
Are your partner programs and interactions lacking? Focus on the low hanging fruit above and partner sales acceleration will follow.