Assessing Your Channel Program and How to Improve It

[fa icon="calendar"] Mar 29, 2017 10:30:00 AM / by Chris Becwar

Chris Becwar

In order to properly assess your channel program, you must first understand the elements that go into the partner experience.

Based on a SiriusDecisions report, there are five essential pillars to the partner experience.

  1. Product and Profitability
  2. People and Alignment
  3. Programs and Tools
  4. Processes and Technology
  5. Promotion and Communications

Let’s take a deeper look into how each of these pillars effects the partner experience.

Product and Profitability

Of course this is one of the first things a partner will think of when deciding whether or not to work with a supplier. A vendor will always consider how likely it is that a supplier’s product will sell in their stores or market. Additionally, a partner will think about how much support or training a supplier’s offering may take. Developing a highly reliable product that is not difficult for a vendor to implement in their stores will help you build a strong partner relationship.

People and Alignment

The partner experience is constantly impacted by different departments within an organization. It is necessary to make sure that all company departments are aligned and on board with the partner experience. Each department needs to be transparent and take accountability for individual parts of the channel program in order for the partner experience to be successful.

Programs and Tools

Partners expect easy-to- use tools and training that will make product sell-through simple and effective. Not only should these tools and programs be simple and effective but they must also be accessible. Partners want access to what they need, when they need it.

Processes and Technology

Ease of doing business is one of the most important things between a partner-vendor relationship. Developing processes and technology that optimize work flow will ease tension in this relationship and therefore make partners more inclined to work with you.

Promotion and Communications

Good communication is never replaceable. Adhering to the communication preferences of a vendor and making sure your messaging is always as clean and clear as it can possibly be will make the process easier for everyone.

Things You Can Do to Improve Your Partner Channel Program

Now that we know the five things that go into a partner portal, how do we improve it?

  • Actively listen and understand your partners. Every partner is different. Ask questions and uncover insights from your partners as to what is working and what isn’t. Then, most importantly, act on the data you gather and build a list of where improvements can be made.
  • Get C-level executives to buy into developing a more effective partner experience. Many times, vendors will have a hard time seeing how a supplier can benefit them. You can sell C-level executives on the financial payoff and ROI of an effective partner relationship by showing real-world examples that work.
  • Constantly prove the value of the channel program. Use real data-driven insights and numbers to communicate the value in your partner experience. And, if it’s broken, the value that will come of fixing it.
  • Have a team that’s dedicated to your partner experience. Because all departments of a company effect the partner experience, build a team with members from all different areas of your company dedicated to your partner portal. This way, you can have cross-functional input and communication from all departments.
  • Create benchmarks. Making your business more data-driven is always good. Develop real, attainable goals that can be measured. Using metrics will help you make sure you’re always on track with developing a good partner experience.

Webinfinity helps you track and improve your entire channel program. It can be a daunting task to monitor the entire process and make sure you are providing the best possible partner experience. Contact us today for help building and assessing the value in your channel program!

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.