With each additional channel partner your business adds, the longer your market reach and the stronger your collective expertise becomes. Too few partners certainly would compromise market opportunities, so you can never really have too many channel partners. Or can you?
No one knows more about your products, services, and brand than your team. Keeping your channel partners informed well enough to properly represent your brand in the marketplace requires your team’s time and effort. Spread yourselves too thin and you’ll have progressively declining sales with each of your partners and a diluted brand message in the market.
Pare Down to Your Strongest Partners
When you think you may have passed the point of diminishing returns, ask yourself:
- Which are the strongest and weakest partners?
- How profitable is each partnership?
- What level of management for each partnership is required?
- How can we strengthen our strongest relationships and exit our weakest?
To answer these questions, you’ll need to assess four critical factors of channel partner performance, and the areas that comprise them: Collaboration, Alignment, Competencies, and Capacity.
Score your partners’ collaborative abilities on these four components: Sharing of market data, knowledge of products and services, proactive learning, and proactive proposals of business strategies.
Evaluate your partners’ alignment based on these criteria: Selling methodology matches yours, representatives are consistently on-brand, they’re focused on the right business priorities, and they are following your MDF guidelines.
An evaluation of competencies should include specific factors related to your specific industry, as well as profitability in marketing and sales engagements, effective training processes, expertise in your markets, and quality of service.
Channel partners’ capacity is evaluated in terms of the number of marketing and sales resources needed to sell your solutions, scalable resources to meet your needs, and credit issues.
These questions may reveal that you have the optimum number of channel partners, or they may reveal which partnerships are not in your organization’s best interest. Either way, these questions are well-worth exploring. For more information, contact us at 877.801.7158.