By Dave Taylor, CMO, Impartner
If you’re like most organizations, partner sales account for approximately 70 percent of your revenue, according to Accenture. If you’re in tech, according to Gartner, as much as 81 percent of your revenue (and growing) depends on indirect partner sales.
But partner churn may be eating a big share of your profits. Too many companies are afflicted with PRHD (Partner Relationship Hyperactivity Disorder). All too often, companies spend valuable time and money to recruit partners and sign them on, only to have them back out of the system without ever fully engaging – either because of frustration with the on-boarding process, or a lack of engagement from the vendor. Some partners sign on, do one deal, and dabble and/or languish in your system indefinably from a lack of nurturing. And worse, partners you value can be lured away by competing vendors who are better equipped to help them be more profitable. Either way, all that “hyperactivity,” without true results, is draining resources and not helping you accelerate your indirect sales.
Here are five key things to do to protect your channel program from PRHD:
- Make sure your partner portal is as good as, if not BETTER than your competition:
- Your partner portal is THE front door of your partner program. A full 86 percent of partners now choose their vendors based on their partner portals because in its very quality and construction, partners see a crystal clear view of how easy you are to do business with, how contemporary you are in your use of technology to service them, and the spectrum of tools they will have at their disposal to maximize their business opportunity with you. Dated portals with limited functionality send your best partner prospects and/or your best partners to competitors who have invested in making it easier, more engaging and more profitable to do business with them.
- Make partners successful, fast:
- When a partner signs on, lured by what they believe to be a great product line, and finds themselves bogged down in a messy, lengthy on-boarding process and they lose interest before they ever fully on-board and ramp to profitability. You need to be able to interact with them based on what they’re doing, and just as important, what they’re not doing, to make sure they stay on track, complete the on-boarding process, and ramp to profitability. To do that, however, if you have more than 50 partners, it’s just not possible with spreadsheets. Programs that scale quickly and accelerate indirect sales, rely on automation that is the digital steward programs and partners need to make sure partners have incentives to stay on track and truly get engaged in the program.
- Make it easy for partners to be profitable:
- Once a partner is ramped, a host of solutions help them enhance their profitability – market development funds (MDF) funds, deal registration, leads, marketing materials, etc. The best partners want to register deals and protect their selling efforts, use their MDF funds and collateral to go to market with the vendor, and follow up on leads and generate opportunities. The best partner programs put all these solutions and more at their partner’s fingertips – making it simple and easy to maximize their opportunity with the vendor.
- Make it irresistable not to visit your portal regularly:
- Partner portals that are a watering hole for their partners are the ones that deliver the highest results all around. Fresh, easy-to-find, easy-to-use content keeps your partners coming back to find out what’s new and learning more about the latest products and programs you’ve brought to life. If your portal is static, chance are, so are your channel sales.
- Make sure you evolve your channel program and manage churn:
- As with most things, more is not always better, and some churn is good. What most vendors find is that 20 percent of their partners generate 80 percent of the results. Unfortunately, many companies lack the visibility into their individual and collective partner performance to see which partners are the ones that truly deliver. Contemporary PRM solutions crack open that black box on partner performance and make it easy for both companies and partners to see their mutual performance. While no one wants PRHD, the right churn to make sure your channel programs have the right partners is critical to helping channel chiefs place their bets with the partners who will ultimately contribute the most to their mutual success.
RELATED: Impartner Enhances Channel Chief PRM