We hate to break it to you: Your partners have priorities other than simply selling your product. As resellers for numerous brands, channel partners interface with numerous companies at any given time. And it goes without saying that partners prefer to interact with vendors that provide the path of least resistance.
It’s your job to prove the value in your partnership—and empower them to be the best they can be. You must make sure you’re providing the right support. And you must create a culture of collaboration and continued education that holds them accountable and inspires improvement.
So, how do you gauge whether your channel partners are improving? To help, here are some questions that sales managers can ask to measure if partners are improving over time.
Am I training my partners the right way?
It’s important to continuously question and analyze your processes to ensure you’re getting the most from your partnerships. From onboarding to training, a strong program builds loyalty, establishes communication parameters, and ensures that partners are constantly improving.
The way you train your partners helps determine how well they sell your products. Your training tools should ultimately result in better sales for you and your partners. However, it’s up to you to examine the connection between earning and learning.
Your training program must be based on results. To begin, consider data points that illustrate your efforts. Data helps analyze whether partners are attending training sessions, if they’re completing certification classes—and if your training efforts are effective.
There should be a noticeable gap between partners that routinely engage with training offerings and those that learn the bare minimum. If there’s no obvious gap between the two, chances are, your training has little to no impact on your partner's’ ability to sell—and that it’s probably time to overhaul this process.
Immersive, ongoing training models allow partners to solve real-life sales situations and keep partners engaged. Motivating partners with aculture of continued learning is the best way to ensure your reps are improving.
Are your partners bringing in deals?
This simple question may seem like a no-brainer—but it’s an important one to ask. Investing in a channel sales program takes time and resources; you should have the ROI to back this investment.
You’ve probably heard this old saying: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” So, what does it mean to you as a channel manager? That quantifiably measuring your channel is paramount to your success.
To maximize profit and optimize individual success, below are some metrics you can record:
How many deals are registered?
What is the value of deal registration?
How many deals have been accepted or denied?
How many deals have been won or lost?
What is the value of these wins?
Establishing quotas can help keep your partners accountable. In doing so, both you and your partners agree on revenue goals. This creates a required investment that’s easily measurable. Supplementing these goals with real data helps illustrate just how effective your processes are.
Are they using the materials you provide them?
Over the past couple of years, complex customer needs have led to an increase in partner types. In the past, channel partners worked on behalf of the vendor’s success. However, the competitive market has demanded an entirely different type of vendor–partner relationship.
These days, partners often dictate the direction of the rapport. Vendors must therefore be aware about the overall structure of their partnerships. Your channel must account for partner diversity and create vendor–partner relationships that are mutually beneficial.
What does this mean? That you must demonstrate your value as a vendor. Being empathetic to the needs and expectations of your channel partners will establish a collaborative, communicative relationship.
This rests in your ability to deliver the right materials to the right people at the right time.
Enablement tools ensure that your partners are making the most of the marketing materials you provide them. Partner-centric content and collateral not only help your partners sell, but they ensure that they are getting the most from your partnership.