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5 Things That Undermine the Success of Your Partner Sales Team
October 4, 2016
5 Things That Undermine the Success of Your Partner Sales Team

Partner Sales Team

A few years ago, based on a friend’s recommendation, I set out to read what would turn out to be one of my all-time favorite business books – The 10X Rule, by Grant Cardone. In short, 10X suffices to the idea every project you do will likely take 10 times more time, energy, money, and effort than assumed. So, go ahead set more difficult expectations and challenging goals. If they happen to take less time to achieve, great! Your success will pay dividends. But be prepared to work.

I couldn’t think of a better way to describe the challenge of building and motivating a remote team of partners sales reps. Ultimately, it’s up to you to foster the relationships, activities and resources to boost sales, drive revenue, and build your customer base.

We’ve already outlined how to breathe life into your partner sales process. But how do you maintain success? What do you do if your team is struggling? And how do you avoid the perils of undermining the confidence and success of your team? Here are five mistakes to avoid – followed by a quick-hit list of actions that Cardone lives by:

1) Siloing

Despite what you may think (or hope), your partner sales team is human. Just like the team sitting right there in your office. Treat them as such. Make them part of your culture. And stop giving them clunky, 2nd-tier technology.

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’ve also heard or read the common leadership refrain that “People Leave Managers, not Companies.” The same could be said of partners who want to engage and work with people who empower them.

In Gallup’s comprehensive 2015 study, “The State of the American Manager,” they found a harsh truth: 50% of Americans have left a job to “get away from their manager at some point in their career.” In other words, half of all Americans have had a boss who they say was the #1 reason for leaving a job. Surprised?

In the channel, YOU are the boss. So, don’t be a good one. Be a GREAT one. It’s up to you to keep your partners engaged, part of your culture, and aligned with your own organization – not siloed. And the best way to do that?  By having the courage and confidence to prioritize communication and collaboration – early and often.  

2) Micromanagement

If you’ve been around the block once or twice, we can almost bet you’ve worked with a micromanager. Perhaps you shudder at the thought of their breathing down your back. So what’s a surefire way to completely kill productivity? Micromanagement.

Managers that don’t trust their partners and endow them with their own decision-making powers ultimately squash their innate abilities to do what actual matters—sell. Making your partners jump through hoops, struggle through overly-complex systems and track every single detail and activity can results in wasted time and missed opportunity.

The best managers know that partners have the ability to rise to the level of their expectations. The 90’s was THE decade for sales management and control. In 2016, sales is all about empowerment and collaboration.

3) Poor Feedback

Feedback is important in the sales process. However, poor feedback can turn a bad situation into a terrible one. If a partner screws up (again, they’re only human), get back on the communication train ASAP. Be sure to inform them what specific behavior they can change. And as we’ve mentioned, no matter where you and your partners are located, it’s still possible to maintain effective collaboration channels.

4) Unreasonable Demands

It’s one thing to expect results. It’s what makes the sales industry effective. It’s another to demand—unreasonably and unfairly. Successful managers reach goals because of how they take action, and what they actually do. Likewise, your partners will best be utilized if you set very specific goals for them.

Setting sales goals for your partner team cultivates your team’s sales habits and creates an incremental system for success. Through careful guiding and coaching, you can incentivize your partner reps to follow better sales techniques. By fostering an environment of guidance and wisdom, your sales partners will be motivated by their own success.

5) Ineffective Processes

Let’s face it. Managing employees can be difficult. Managing remote employees is a task in and of itself. While partner channel managers often avoid the hassle of excessive in-person meetings, they should still pay attention to their processes.

Having effective partner sales acceleration software encourages better engagement and organization across your company. From training and certifications, to quizzes and tracking, the best platforms ensure that all partners are up-to-speed and effective.

Unfortunately, many companies over-invest in superficial factors that have been proven to de-motivate rather than motivate their channel partners. Focus instead on micro-moments and motivators that not only help them grow, but also show the personal commitment you’ve made to their success.

And don’t forget – if you’re looking for some good ideas with the feel of a motivational speaker, check out The 10X Rule, where you’ll also find the author’s list of habits and actions from some of the most successful leaders he’s followed. Here’s 25 of my favorites to get you started:

       1. Focus on opportunity

       2. Embrace challenges

       3. Believe that “You will figure it out”

       4. Seek to solve problems

       5. Persist until successful

6. Take risks

7. Be dangerous

8. Readily take action

9. Habitually commit

       10. Focus on “now”

       11. Demonstrate courage

12. Embrace change

13. Determine and take the right approach

14. Break traditional ideas

15. Be goal oriented

16. Be on a mission

17. Be interested in results

18. Have big goals and dreams

19. Create your own reality

20. Commit first – figure out later

21. Be highly ethical

22. Be interested in the group

23. Be dedicated to continuous learning

24. Be uncomfortable

25. “Reach up” in relationships

Daniel Graff-Radford