Collaboration is key to creating productive channel partnerships. How many of you are able to effectively accomplish this strategy?
The key to channel partner relationships is collaboration. However, impactful Channel Partner Collaboration is easier said than done.
Here are 3 tips for getting started.
Tip 1 – Channel Partner Collaboration starts at home. It’s founded in your own company’s business model. Do you work for a legacy system where everyone works in departmental silos? How about your channel partners? There are little opportunities for cross-functional teams in that environment. Yes, larger companies certainly have brand recognition and marketplace clout. Your brand isn’t closing the deal, you are. The flip side of a large infrastructure is the impact of status quo mindset and protocols on your company’s ability to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace.
Do you feel you work for a dinosaur? If so, think about how your perception impacts your own mindset and productivity during the year.
Tip 2 – Effective internal collaboration moves outward into channel partnerships. What is the extent of your company’s collaboration with channel partners? Perhaps your marketing messaging is conveyed by your sales folks to channel partners. That strategy isn’t collaborative: it’s a linear information exchange. It’s like a game of “telephone” where the message starts at one end of a long line of people and, by the time it’s passed down a line of 10 people, the “message” is completely different from the original one.
Do you feel your company’s marketing and sales messages get lost in translation: figuratively and literally? What is the impact of this scenario on your channel partners mindset and productivity throughout the year?
Tip 3 – Channel Partner Collaboration hinges on how you structure and leverage your teams. If you don’t have an exclusive contract with your channel partner, you will find yourself competing for their time and attention. If your company’s infrastructure is slow to respond to their customer’s needs, they will seek alternatives. If there is a constant struggle for who, really, controls the sale, then positive and productive outcomes are jeopardized. If your sales engineers are not part of the conversation from start to finish, you are missing out on one of your greatest assets.
Channel Partner Collaboration involves a lot of moving pieces. An individual responsible for a specific function can feel like they are working independently, sometimes at cross-purposes, from the rest of team.
Determining the root causes for effective channel partner collaboration can unearth some critical issues impacting your entire organization. Effective channel partner collaboration starts at home. Today.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. She helps startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams. Her book on communication and collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? Technical / Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU, is available on Amazon.com.