Lessons for the Channel from SaaStr Annual 2016

Posted on February 12, 2016

By Jen Spencer

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Lessons for the Channel from SaaStr Annual 2016

This past week at SaaStr Annual 2016 we heard from some of the most successful founders, CEOs and sales leaders about scaling your company, ensuring you have product-market fit, how to build a world-class sales organization, and how to evangelize a culture of company-wide growth. Yes, SaaStr Annual is all about uniting the SaaS community, but the content of the past week also speaks volumes in any organization that sells through a channel of resellers, partners, distributors, agents and the like.

Dan Siroker, CEO and co-founder of Optimizely, said, “The best salespeople are our customers. They become evangelists.” President of Atlassian Jay Simons advised, “Understand your market, who your customers are, and what their needs are.” And Lew Cirne, CEO and founder of New Relic, shared, “We had a partnership that brought our product to 400 customers on Day 1.”

In the channel, it’s too easy to forget that your partners’ customers are also YOUR customers, and New Relic’s story of 400 brand new customers interacting with their product in one day is commonplace when you go to market through a channel of resellers.

Sean Ellis, founder and CEO of GrowthHackers.com, advised, “Share what works and what doesn’t — often the things that didn’t work lead to breakthrough ideas that work really well.”

Collaboration and transparency in the channel is a must. Paying attention to what’s happening with your direct customers, and your direct sales, marketing and customer success teams is not enough. When you go to market via a channel of resellers, you welcome the revenue that comes from that partnership, and in turn you are accountable for understanding what’s working (or not working) in those relationships.

Finally, InsideView VP of Enterprise Sales Andrea Austin told a room of founders, CEOs and sales executives, “Start building your partner channel early and treat your partners with kid gloves — give them good reason to be a partner.”

Building brand loyalty in the channel today requires a hands-on formula for success. It’s no longer enough to blast your partners (and their customers) with generic emails and telemarketing scripts. And just when you think your incentives are the hottest on the market, another supplier can swiftly outdo them. Authenticity, true partnership and collaboration are more important than ever before when growing your channel.

The team at SaaStr Annual aims to help their constituents do better, more quickly and with less stress … To learn from the best in the business, avoid big mistakes, strengthen ties and achieve more. It’s time for the indirect sales community to do the same. In fact, at Allbound we believe this movement is way overdue.

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