An even better question is “How can you find ways to carve that additional hour or more out of your day?” A pretty simple way to give you that extra hour is to make some slight adjustments to how you work with your channel partners—changes that will only spur the success of your channel program.
Respect Your Partner’s (and your) Time
Effective channel management is contingent on your ability to provide flexible support without micromanaging your partners. Setting expectations from the onset of a partnership is the right way to establish mutually agreeable communication terms. While some partners prefer quarterly check-ins, others prefer weekly or monthly sessions. Work to establish clear, concise communication terms for your partners and your organization—and stick to your schedule.
No matter how often you meet, it’s important to keep meetings on topic. Remember: Your partners are selling for other organizations; it’s up to you to respect their time. Create a quick agenda and be sure to stick to the meeting topic. Keeping things as clear and concise as possible makes meetings much more manageable for everyone involved.
It’s equally essential to host meetings only when they’re necessary. Oftentimes, basic status-update meetings are a waste of time. If the thought of nixing status meetings has your stomach in a knot, consider compromising. Schedule a block of time for these meetings, but be judicious about cancellation: If there’s nothing new to discuss, they shouldn’t be hosted in the first place.
Easily Accessible Content
Marketing materials and training are critical to your channel’s success. They enable your partners to understand your brand and how you want it to be presented to their customers. However, sending PDFs via email or a shared drive is a surefire way for files to get lost or unintentionally ignored.
Implementing an organized, central directory for everything enables channel partners to access information that is needed, at any given time. The best channel sales tools incentivize your partners to engage with material. Not only is content delivered dynamically, but your partner’s knowledge is tested, and its efforts are recognized.
This also means less input from you to get your partners the content they need. This frees you up from having to constantly respond to questions about where specific pieces of content live. You can address important problems that need your input, and your channel partners can retrieve any necessary content quickly and easily. Consider it a win-win.
Channel management tools empower reps to truly understand your products and how you want them positioned. Enabling your partners to sell your product the right way helps create deals that are profitable and buyer relationships that are successful and sustainable. Ultimately, if you’re using the right sales acceleration platform to collaborate, communicate, and share content, you shouldn’t have to babysit your channel partners.
Introduce a Robust Onboarding Process
The more independent your channel partners can become, the less of a burden they are on you overall. That doesn’t mean you will never have contact with them but rather that they’re able to work independently without any additional assistance from you. They’ll be up to speed on how you handle content marketing and other aspects of channel management and can conform to your standards.
It will take some time and testing to make the onboarding process as comprehensive as possible. However, that initial time investment will grow big dividends as each partner is set up for success and your management style can become more hands-off. You’re trading the onboarding process investment for less-frequent calls and emails (or unengaged partners) down the road.
A sales acceleration tool can combine all of these efficiency measures into one common place and eliminate the time suck of searching for content and going back and forth over email.