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Aligning your channel partners with the rest of your organization is challenging but necessary.
Your channel partners are technically an external sales team, but how they collaborate with your departments is critical. Maybe you rely on the channel fully to generate revenue, or maybe you have your own sales force in addition to channel partnerships. Either way, partners aligning with your marketing and sales team can be the difference between success and failure. In this post, we’ll cover tips and strategies that keep your channel partners in lockstep with your company for maximum results.
Create harmonious relationships between external and internal sales teams
Having a peaceful relationship can seem challenging (if not impossible) if your direct and indirect sales team got off on the wrong foot. Partner conflict is an unfortunate and sometimes inevitable aspect of channel sales. They are particularly common when young startups with aggressive sales teams add a channel model to their sales plan.
To prevent conflict, create a compensation plan that encourages teamwork and doesn’t pit them against each other. Incentivize your sales teams to work on deals together and create camaraderie. Companies usually implement rules for their sales reps to go on sales calls or attend conferences together regularly to build this bond.
Create concrete joint marketing strategies
Communicate your marketing initiatives to your partners and make it clear you’re promoting your partnership. Like collaborating on deals, joint marketing campaigns will bond your teams and in the rhythm of working with each other.
Here are best practices for joint marketing initiatives:
- Create a Channel Marketing Strategy: Focus on a select group of partners that will have the most significant impact. From there, you’ll choose your marketing initiatives and collaborate with partners to get the branding right. Be sure to secure the proper funds to execute your campaigns.
- Select Joint Marketing Activities: Examples of joint marketing activities are content marketing, digital ads, and webinars
- Have a Channel Marketing Manager: Channel managers should ask partners about the messages that resonate with their audience. Your partners will have a deeper understanding of how to get in front of them. This information will enable your marketing department to craft more relevant messaging.
- Create Customized Marketing Materials: The goal is to provide marketing materials that align with your partner’s business as much as your own. To do this, you’ll need to spend more time with your selected partners. The closer you align with your partners’ marketing efforts, the more success you’ll see.
- Use a Unified Marketing Platform: Using an accessible portal allows you and your partner to get on the same page when marketing. Use a system to distribute content, manage requests and approvals, and measure performance. To manage channel sales and marketing in one place, use partner relationship management (PRM) software.
Build relationships within partner organizations
Prove your commitment to partners by going out of your way for them. Take an interest in your partners or resellers. Always stay in touch with key stakeholders. A common challenge with more prominent companies is they tend to have high turnover or many organizational changes. Keep an org chart and update it every three months minimum to reflect critical stakeholders.
Aligning your channel partners with the rest of your organization is challenging but necessary. To stay synchronized, set a firm foundation for partner engagement. For companies with a hybrid of direct and indirect sales, be careful of channel conflict, and emphasize building strong relationships. By initiating joint marketing efforts, your respective marketing departments will build rapport and successfully generate leads. Finally, take an interest in your partner’s stakeholders to make them feel prioritized. Use these strategies to engage and accelerate your partner relationships successfully.