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    3 Simple Steps to Creating Effective Channel Partner Relationships

    3 people standing discussing how to take 3 simple steps to creating an effective channel partner relationship

    Having the right channel partners in your business is a powerful tool that can push your business ahead of the competition. Managing a channel partner relationship requires special attention, and if done correctly, will build and strengthen your partnership for years to come.

    To help with your journey, we’ve created a simple 3 step guide to launch your relationship with channel partners into high gear. By focusing on selecting the right channel partners, building a partner relationship, and maintaining and strengthening your bond, you could create better communication between your business and your channel partners.

    So read along, bookmark this for later, or click the headers to the topic that interest you most.

     

    Selecting the Right Channel Partners

    2 men agreeing on selecting the right channel partner

    Not sure where to begin? Understanding the gaps in your own business is a good place to start when considering the types of channel partners that best fits your needs. It’s important to consider the following:

    • Your competitive position in the market:  Think about where you stand compared to your competition. Are they in a market you have yet to reach? Choosing the right channel partner will help you be a contender. For example, consider an industry you want to break into. To succeed, you'll want a strong team behind you and a partner program with channel partners who believe in your business and are motivated to carry you forward within the industry.

    • Your strengths and weaknesses:  Before you invest in a channel partner relationship, perform a Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis to have a clear understanding of your advantages and disadvantages. Use this break down to help select the right channel partners to help mend any gaps.

    • Understanding your products, services and brand equity:  Effective communication with potential partners can be difficult. It can be especially challenging if you do not have a clear understanding of your own business. To ensure you choose the right partner to increase leads and sales, you should establish an understanding of your business first.

    Now that you’ve identified the holes in your own business, determine a list of criteria to assess potential channel partners. During this process consider the following:

    • Are they ready? You should assess whether potential partners will be able to provide the right resources to the partnership. Consider the following scenario if a potential channel partner is new to the industry you want to reach, will they be effective in the channel sales process?
    • Will they benefit from the partnership? Your ideal partner will have personal goals. To have a successful channel partner program, the partnership needs to be mutually beneficial.
    • Will they be a good fit? Can you work with a channel partner who doesn’t have similar values that align with yours? Ensure potential partners would be a good cultural fit in the company to avoid any trouble that may occur by not having the same vision.

    Want to know more about how to select the right channel partner? Check out the blog 3 Areas of the Channel Partner Program that Support your Relationship with Channel Partners.

     

    Building a Partner Relationship

    two business men sitting down building a partner relationshipOnce you’ve decided to enter into a partnership, communication will be essential to the success of your partner relationship. Both you and your channel partners need to come to a clear agreement on the following:

    • Objectives of the partnership

    • Responsibilities of both sides

    • The resources each party will bring

    • How the partner will communicate the brand message

    At this time, you should enlist the use of a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) portal.Through this portal, channel partners will be able to directly access Learning Management Solution (LMS) and more.

    An LMS program will benefit your channel partners with custom time-based training. From onboarding to product and sales training to updates on the latest release, your partners will be able to start getting leads and selling your products successfully.

    You also want to ensure that during the channel partner onboarding process that you establish a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). By identifying metrics that are right for your partnership, you can determine the best strategies for a successful channel partner program.

     

    Strengthen Partner Relationships

    2 channel managers discussing how to manage partner relationships

    Working with channel partners can be a challenge. Since they are remote, it can be difficult to ensure that they're productive and bringing ROI to the company. With the use of a PRM portal, you'll have the ability to assess partner performance and conduct frequent reviews. This will help streamline your relationship with channel partners so that your expectations for them are clear, and vice versa. This process also gives partners the opportunity to give you valuable feedback so that you can ensure they're getting the proper support they need. Thus, opening dialogue and strengthening the channel partner relationship. 

    In addition, a PRM portal breaks down communication and collaboration barriers. Eliminating frequent e-mail updates and replacing them with conversations directly on a specific account, helps ensure that all conversations are tracked.

    With the ability to also share valuable collateral and start an online open discussion, partners will be encouraged to collaborate with you and the company. Plus, with access to Lead Registration, Marketing Development Funds (MDF), on-boarding, and more, both you and your partners will be empowered to close deals faster and work together.

    To learn about Partner Relationship Management (PRM), read the blog What is Partner Relationship Management?

     

    Where Should You Go From Here

    By selecting the right channel partners, building a partner relationship and strengthening partner relationships, you'll have a more enhanced partner program that drives revenue.

    The development and implementation of communication and collaboration are critical to the success of any channel partner relationship. A Partner Portal that builds and maintains a relationship with channel partners will generate more leads and sales giving your business a successful channel partner program

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