This article is part of our “Channel Marketing series” – with tools, tips and tutorials to help you create and manage an effective channel partner program. Click here to see more articles from this series.
How to attract distribution channel partners
Over the last month we have been helping a client build out a VAR channel. One on the question that comes up is, “How can we be more attractive to channel partners?”
We could rely on cute pickup lines, like the one in the country song by the Bellamy Brothers. But in fact there are several important facets to channel partner programs that need to be in place to find before you can find and retain great partners. Once you have those, you can be choosy about who you have join your program.
What do Channel Partners look for in a vendor partner program?
As with other solid relationships, partners look for some basic things. Angela Vines, co-founder and vice president for partner services at ServiceKey, boils them down to money, ease of entry and support from the vendor partner.
In short, there has to be a clear value proposition for the benefit to the channel partner. Most clear is a monetary benefit. How much can the partner add to his bottom line by including your offering in his portfolio? Help the partner visualize that stream of financial benefit of the channel partner relationship.
Ease of entry into the partner program is accomplished with effective training, specific start-up paths, and channel marketing and sales tools that make the relationship successful from the earliest stages. A recent survey by CompTIA revealed that 23% of respondents plan on hiring a marketing professional, indicating that marketing is a key component to the ease of entry and overall partner relationshp.
Finally, support of the relationship and of the technology seals and maintains a great partnership. In this study by Relayware, 60 percent of channel partners reported that suppliers need to provide better systems and processes to enable higher sales through the channel. Support of the relationship includes ongoing and current training events and tools as well as personal contact and coaching periodically. The area of technology support should need no further explanation.
Assuming you have these aspects in place, you’ll be ready for my next blog. We’ll investigate five aspects of what makes up a great channel partner.
Have another suggestion for an attractive channel program? Let me know in the comments section below.