Cultural fit, to determine if both companies have shared values and principles.
Strategic fit, to determine if your strengths and weaknesses are complementary.
Operational fit, to determine if both companies can successfully integrate their processes and systems.
More specifically, these are the variables every sales leader should consider when evaluating potential partners, especially if the goal is to secure a relationship that generates net new sales. All too often, companies are drawn into baseless arrangements, exposing themselves to unnecessary risk.
The most successful channel sales programs are established on a set of measurable criteria, including:
Growth Rate: Favor companies that are growing at market rate or above, as this is a good measure of independence, stability, and efficacy.
Business Size: Favor ideal-target partners, or organizations that reflect your own company's size and scope. Then work your way up to larger, more established and resource-rich partners over time.
Sales Alignment: Favor organizations that employ sales teams comprised of net new account executives, as these people are trained to increase the volume, frequency, and average size of new opportunities.
Financial Alignment: Favor companies that stand to make a fair amount in commission or recurring services per sale, as these teams will be the most motivated to sell on your behalf.
Build your list
Once you've defined your criteria, it's time to build a list of candidates. These are companies that are a good fit based on their cultural, strategic, and operational alignment with your own organization. To research these factors:
Partners Are Customers of Your Partner Team: Companies that are doing well actually view their partners as customers. In this piece, we discuss the concept of serving your partners rather than merely working with them.