Over the years, I have worked with more than 15 startups and have had numerous opportunities to start and grow a channel program from the beginning. There are a variety of ways to go about growing your indirect channel, I have found applying a little strategy and planning up front can keep you on track with goals that align with sales initiatives.
ReadyTalk is taking strides to build an indirect channel. Our approach is to qualify prospects that best fit our business model and offer an advantage to the reseller. With conferencing being a homogenous product in the market place these days, many resellers are boosting ongoing revenues by bringing in conferencing solutions to sell.
So where to start?
PROFILING AND QUESTIONNAIRES
Sure, you can take on any and all interested parties. Simply throwing a wide net will get you a base of resellers to begin working with. Better yet, taking the time to build a profile of the ideal prospect can help reseller recruiters focus on objectives. Build a profile that best identifies the audience you are after and you will find partners that are embedded in that market. The profile could be based on geography, market or other factors such as expertise.
Build a questionnaire that helps you interview candidates based on your business goals. Ask questions about target audience, years in business, number of sales/customer support/tech positions is in place. Can they support the business that comes in? Make contacts with sales and corporate management to gain product mindshare and to have an advantage in building marketing programs.
Partners seek out vendors that offer clear advantages in the products they sell and in the support offered in sales and marketing efforts. They also want best in class customer support, afterall, they are putting their customers in your hands and nothing makes for a bad experience than poor support. When creating your partner program be sure to address margins, sales, marketing, customer support, reporting and any other relevant topics that pertain to your industry.
Now that you have a profile and a program in hand you can recruit prospects. You have identified the market you want to target (let’s say geographical) so you can now do a search in the city/region that is your top market to start. Always try and identify 3 or more prospects to talk with so you get an understanding of what the competition is really like and how each individual organization works. You’ll be better informed on partners that align with your business objectives if you interview multiple candidates.
In closing, profiling partner prospects and targeting your market makes for a channel program that covers your sales territory and allows for a planned growth pattern for success.
Want to learn more about profiling for partners? Share your comments below – I’d love to brainstorm with you.
Tracy focuses on channel and partner marketing at ReadyTalk, building out marketing programs to recruit partners and reinforce engagement with them. When she’s not coming up with marketing plans she likes to compete in canine freestyle Frisbee and ride her Ninja motorcycle.