Strategic Channel Alliances - Maximize the Benefit of Partnerships

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 19, 2017 9:30:00 AM / by Chris Becwar

Chris Becwar

In a previous post, we talked about the Channel Program and a few things you can do to improve it. Here we will go through the 5 components of the Channel Program Model that will maximize the effectiveness of alliance partnerships.

We’ll discuss things that sales, marketing, and operations teams can do to make the best of an alliance channel program.

1. Plan

During the planning phase, sales leaders will want to establish revenue goals, pricing, and best go-to- market strategies. Channel marketing teams will identify demand for the product or service, come up with an engagement plan, and address any content or messaging needs. Operations will develop reporting infrastructure and any other processes that will be necessary for the channel program.

  • Sales – Analyze routes to market used by each supplier and decide on the one that will work best for this situation. Set revenue goals and a pricing strategy while aligning the sales team.
  • Marketing – Assess the product’s preparedness for going to market. Develop internal and external customer personas and any content or messaging focused around engaging with these personas.
  • Operations – Create a resource plan that will manage the specific requirements for alliance partners. Operations will also want to develop a process for new deal registration that is as simple and effective as possible.

2. Recruit

Your company has planned and is ready to go out and attract new partnerships. The sales team will focus on pitching and presenting to prospective alliance partners. Marketing will support this effort by creating any material necessary for the sales team’s presentations. Operations will begin to accumulate data and track the development of any new alliances.

  • Sales – Create a process that will assess the viability of a potential partner. Here the sales team can find any weaknesses or opportunities in a potential partner’s business that would make a partnership mutually beneficial to both parties.
  • Marketing – Focus on messaging and materials for presenting to potential alliance partners. Once the sales team has found a selling point, the marketing team can put it into its presentation material and messaging tactic.
  • Operations – Track the data and success through the stages of alliance partner recruitment. This information should help make future recruitment much more effective.

3. Enable

The sales, marketing, and operations team will work together to enable your alliance partner the information and training necessary to manage the channel program from their end.

  • Sales – Training partner sales reps on the best methods and factors that will lead to product sell-through. Sales teams will align their goals with the goals of their alliance partner. Along with alignment and training, it is helpful for a sales team to provide resources to help a partner find what they need, when they need it in the partner portal.
  • Marketing – Marketing can help the partner understand the customer experience and ensure clear communication from the supplier to the end consumer.
  • Operations – Create an onboarding process for new channel partners. Teach partners about demand creation and reporting processes necessary for an effective partner experience.

4. Create Demand

Sales and marketing teams work closely to help a partner develop a go-to- market strategy, the actual selling price of the product, and ways to generate demand. Again, operations will support this by implementing data analytics platforms, engagement planning processes, and any other necessary reporting tools.

  • Sales – After demand creation, sales teams will work on developing incentives and effective lead management strategies.
  • Marketing – Utilize and share customer data and any marketing data that may be useful on either side of the partner channel and develop marketing programs to drive awareness and sales. Marketing teams will also want to focus on constant content creation that works with both the partner’s messaging as well as your own.
  • Operations – Operations helps take data and turn it into actionable insights here. Developing dashboards and reporting tools as well as reporting goals helps keep sales and marketing on track.

5. Transact and Report

Sales will help a partner develop a pipeline and act as a point of contact for alliance sales representatives. Marketing will develop metrics and goals to assess the effectiveness of the alliance partner program. Operations implements alliance partner scorecards, deal registration, and any other data management tools or systems that may be helpful.

  • Sales – Assists the partner with pipeline reports and sales forecasts. Here the sales team can help identify any pain points or needs that they can address to help boost revenue.
  • Marketing – Keeps a close eye on metrics. Marketing will start trying new things and adjusting messaging based on what the data shows to improve conversions and ultimately raise revenue.
  • Operations – Maintains a scorecard on the effectiveness of a partner relationship. As the relationship changes and grows, the operations team can make suggestions to keep the partner relationship in a strong, healthy place.

Contact Webinfinity

Channel alliance programs are very complex. Therefore, it’s important that your company’s different departments stay aligned and flexible. Contact Webinfinity to define your alliance partner strategy and create a best-in-class partner experience!

Topics: PRM, Partner Portals, Channel

Chris Becwar

Written by Chris Becwar

Chris is a Channel and Marketing veteran with expertise in SaaS platforms & indirect routes to market, advising top channel programs on strategy & trends.