How To Find Your Ideal Channel Sales Partnership
As With Any Business Relationship, Finding The Best Sales Channel Partnership Fit For Your Company Is Essential
We’re willing to bet one of your company’s biggest goals is growth. And if that’s the case, you’ve probably come across a few roadblocks along the way.
One challenge many companies face while trying to achieve growth is limited sales capabilities, more specifically sales department bandwidth. You can accumulate a team of skilled, focused salespeople and invest in tools to boost their efficiency, but at the end of the day there is still a level of max capacity.
When this happens you have two options.
You can hire more internal sales reps and keep your entire sales process internal, but recruiting, hiring, and employing salespeople can be both expensive and time consuming.
Or you can implement a channel sales strategy.
With a channel sales strategy, you rely on third parties to sell your product or service. Channel sales partners can include:
- Affiliate partners (get a commission on each purchase)
- Value-added providers (typically bundle your product with their own)
- Really any party who doesn’t work directly for your organization but is responsible for selling your product or service
While this type of sales strategy has many benefits, one factor that can really make or break a successful channel sales strategy is partnership fit.
Read along as we explain how to find your company’s ideal sales partnership fit and the benefits of seeking strong sales partnerships.
Finding your ideal sales channel partnership
When you market your products, you don’t attempt to sell it to everyone. Instead, you use marketing efforts that target a specific customer to drive the best results.
Similarly, the channel sales partner you use to sell your products can’t just be anyone. There are sales channel partnerships that are a better fit than others. When you seek out the right sales channel partners for your company, you’re sure to see great results among other benefits.
Use the following questions to assess the fitness of a partnership. Be sure to keep in mind your company’s specific goals when answering these questions and determining whether a partner is a good fit.
Does the sales channel partner’s solution complement yours?
Find a sales channel partner who offers a product or service that “fills a gap” in your offering or helps your customers use your offering more effectively. This type of partnership creates opportunity for both partners to make sales and increase overall revenue.
Does the channel sales partnership create opportunity to gain market share? Or gain share in a new market?
Analyze the market the potential partner currently serves and the customers within it. Is there opportunity for your offering to succeed within that market? If you stumble upon a potential partner whose market is in need of support, features, or solutions that the partner themselves can’t provide but you can–jump on it.
Does the partner have the knowledge, skill, and ability required to sell your product?
You’ll want to take into account your partner’s ability to sell (and potentially service) your product. Will it take a lot of effort on your part to get the partner up to speed on your offering?
While one partner may need to spend an entire day each quarter training to sell your product, another may be able to watch a 30-minute video and gain enough of an understanding to successfully sell it. You’ll want to weigh on this.
Note, while training a partner does take time and resources, the partner will see this as an opportunity to advance their expertise, and thus an incentive to work with you.
There are many impactful methods to incentivize your partners that will help them become better acquainted with your offerings. One effective technique is through the use of SPIFFs.
Does the partner’s sales process align with your own?
Ideally, your sales partner’s sales process should be compatible with your own and have a natural point where introducing or upselling your product makes sense.
Is the partnership mutually beneficial?
Answering these questions will allow you to see clearly what the partnership can do for you. But you must also bear in mind that if the other party involved doesn’t see the benefits in a partnership with you, they won’t buy into it.
Will a partnership with you enable the other partner to sell more of (or enhance the value of) their own product or service? Will it allow them to reach new clients? There are things you’ll want to identify and emphasize.
Does the partner have other partnerships that could be potentially conflicting?
Assuming your partner isn’t contractually forbidden from selling your product, you have to consider whether working with a partner who sells another company’s product or solution is in your best interest.
While the idea of partnering with someone who also offers your competitor’s product or service can be enough to turn you off from a channel sales strategy altogether, you should know there are ways to come out on top.
By offering these particular sales partners an incentive that encourages them to sell more of your product over another, you can see big success with a channel sales partnership.
When it comes to creating a program that incentivizes your partner to sell your product, we have a few tactics worth checking out.
Nothing proves the potential for something to succeed better than hard facts and real numbers. See just how effective finding your ideal sales channel partnership can be on your company’s bottom line when you download our Incentives By The Numbers guide.