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Here's How to Become a Channel Partner and Why

Participation in another top-tie tech organization’s channel program can open the door  for substantial revenue and improve brand presence. Could engaging in these relationships grow your business?

This article will help you discover how channel partners engage with tech partners, how to choose a program for you, and more.

What Are the Benefits of Becoming a Channel Partner?

While becoming a channel partner provides various benefits, let’s explore the top value drivers available to tech companies participating in another’s program.

Leverage Another’s Products and Assets to Enrich Your Own Sales Offering

As a channel partner for another company, you may be able to bundle their technologies with your own to create comprehensive packages. In turn, you can gain an edge over your competitors, particularly amongst newer market segments that may be unfamiliar with your brand. 

Additionally, by participating in an existing channel partner program, you can leverage proven sales and marketing tactics known to drive conversion for specific audiences. Leveraging these tools helps you align target audiences and key messaging to convert prospects faster. 

 

Increase Revenue

When you join a channel partner program, you can add on your partner’s solutions as an up-sell opportunity when working with clients. This is a great way to expand revenue through commissions and partner kickbacks. 

Make sure to pay attention to different requirements when joining a channel partner program. For example, some partners may require you to hit certain thresholds before paying out substantial commissions on sales.

Solve Customer Problems

Your customers likely have business problems that extend beyond your servicing capabilities. Working with channel partners can ensure your clients are fully supported with solutions outside of your own products and work with an established solution to solve a niche problem.

Leverage Your Partner’s Expertise

Consider that your partners may be experts in specific technical areas. Explore how you can leverage their resources and knowledge to improve your entire go-to-market strategy. Just as your channel partner should provide sales and marketing resources, they should also be willing to talk strategy with you and share helpful insights that can help grow your business.

Reduce Resource Requirements

When you join a channel partner program, you ultimately reduce the resources required to generate related revenue. This isn’t because one partner does all the work in a relationship. In an optimal partnership, both organizations (including the channel partner) benefit from a faster sales cycle and expanded revenue potential.

As a partner, you focus on sales, implementation, and strategic support as a channel partner. Therefore, you avoid the challenges and resource pull associated with creating, maintaining, and providing technical support for a solution. 

In this sense, working with channel partners allows you to sell to more clients while focusing on the aspects of your business you’re best at. You get to focus on selling to, engaging with, and supporting your customers while your partner focuses on building an incredible solution and associated sales and marketing resources to promote it.

Establish Brand Recognition & Build a Reputation

When you join channel partner programs at organizations more established in your target market or larger than you, your program benefits from the association.

Often, channel partners gain access to marketing content that can be co-branded. Additionally, your partner may be open to running a joint campaign with you. These strategies will allow you to associate your brand with your partner’s and benefit from their existing reputation.

Stay on Top of a Competitive Market

Your competitors are likely already working with channel partners. If a customer can go to your competitor and get a full-service solution, they will likely prefer to over piecing a solution together by working with you. Join channel partner programs for top technology companies that align with your goals to stay competitive in the market.

Who Should Become a Channel Partner?

Organizations that integrate well with others are prime candidates for becoming channel partners. For example, if your services align well with a specific technology or SaaS solution, you might be a good fit for channel partnerships.

For example, inbound marketing companies that handle email marketing, content creation, and website management are well-poised to partner with a technology solution, like HubSpot. HubSpot’s tools help inbound marketing companies better support their clients, land new contracts, and grow their business.

How to Choose a Channel Partner Program?

You’ve decided that you’d like to join a channel partner program, but now you must select the right program to join. Not all programs are created equal, and the right program will vary based on your business model, audience, and capabilities.

What to Look For in a Program

When selecting a channel partner program to apply for, look for the following resources:

Complementary Solutions

Perhaps most important, the channel partner program you choose to join should provide solutions that complement your existing business model. For example, if you already sell to a specific industry or niche segment, the channel partner program you join must align with that audience.

Training & Certifications

Your partner should have adequate training established for you to leverage when getting started on the platform. This should be easy to share with your team and available in various formats and languages.

Marketing & Sales Resources

An established channel partner program will have marketing and sales resources for use throughout the sales process. Ask potential partner programs which resources they provide to partners, how often they’re refreshed, and where to find them.

Access to the Team

You should conduct org mapping early so you know who from their team to reach out to when needs arise. If you always must submit a support request for help, be wary that this may mean extended downtimes in the event of an issue.

Brand Credibility

When joining a channel partner program, you’re trusting the organization. So, ensure your program is worthy of trust. Consider situations where you will display your logos side-by-side. Will you feel confident putting on a collaborative event or embarrassed?

Strong Partner Portal

Your potential partner should leverage a partner portal or PRM to house training and certifications, marketing and sales resources, analytics, and direct access to the team. When receiving an introduction to the platform, keep this checklist of partner portal design best practices handy to determine if they’re ready to properly enable you to sell. 

Partner Tiers with Incentives

Does the channel partner program you’re considering have partner tiers you can qualify for? Consider the requirements for each level and the associated reward. If you don’t qualify for an advanced tier right away, you may make less than anticipated. Make sure you know how large of a percentage you’ll be eligible for.

Audience Alignment

Does the potential partner program’s customer base align with your target audience? An optimal partnership brings together organizations with similar goals and target markets for mutual success.

Succeed as a Channel Partner

A word of warning: While you may see increased sales after becoming a channel partner, it’s important to be ready to deliver on your end of client relationships after closing a deal. Try not to spread yourself too thin by selling to more clients than you can support at a time. 

After all, if you frequently frustrate clients, your channel partner may not want to continue working with you. When joining a new channel partner program, take the time to ramp up your efforts. Document your strengths and weaknesses, then go back to your partner for advice and more resources.

If you’ve decided that your solutions are well-primed for channel partnership and you have the necessary capacity, explore available programs in your industry. Joining a channel partner program can provide various benefits to service providers.

Ensure the channel partner programs you apply for align with your goals and target audience. When getting in touch with a new partner, come prepared with a series of questions for your contact about the upfront time commitment, commission program, sales enablement, and other important factors. Ensure the program is a worthwhile investment and sets you up for success.

Subscribe to the Allbound newsletter for more resources to succeed as a channel partner.

Ali Spiric