If you’re selling into the Enterprise, remember that most enterprises prefer to buy though the established channels as they have prior relationships with them.
For you, selling through the channel can however be a chicken and egg problem which one comes first? Without customers, the channel isn’t interested, without channel, customers may not buy from you.
But it doesn’t need to be that hard.
You need to execute two broad strategies to make your channel strategy successful:
#1: Every time you secure a direct deal and it’s looking like it could close- ask the customer who they like to buy from. Then approach the channel partner and offer them margin for putting it on their paper. They’ve just earned money for doing (almost) nothing. We call this channel “pull”, where the channel is pulled into deals. Now you can follow that deal up looking for other deals in their accounts.
#2: When you get a partner interested in joining your partner program, treat them as if they’re part of your actual team rather than a separate organisation. What are their goals? New business? Upsell? Cloud? Services? Align your plans with what they’re looking to do, then do the work for them. We’ll assign resources to channel partners to drive their business, which drives ours.
Ultimately, sales relationships are built on the dollars and cents transacted between vendors and partners. New vendors looking to gain the attention of the channel need to put that front of mind when engaging partners. They’re not going to do any heavy lifting until you’ve cemented that relationship in revenue. Until then, it’s up to the vendor to do it.
About Justin Pirie
Justin Pirie is a SaaS and Cloud Product Management Specialist. Justin has been 100% SaaS & Cloud focused for nearly four years, and brings a lot of experience and best practice to the table. More at www.justinpirie.com.