Donagh Kiernan, CEO of Maidsfield Associates Explains How Best to Nurture & Support Channel Partners
When you want a partner to resell your product or service, you must consider the sales-person and the challenges they may have, along with the motivations that drive them.
Professionally trained sales people want to sell and bring benefit to their customers. They want to meet their objectives and make money for their companies and themselves. But, in the situation where the sales person has a portfolio of products to sell, it is only natural they will sell most of what is easiest to sell, and for those products that they are not selling, they may cite 'lack of customer demand' or not a 'priority for the customer'.
Of course, this may not be the case.
If you have the responsibility for sales in your company, you should know how best to sell your product or service. You have built up knowledge and experience in selling your products, who should buy it (your sweet spot customer / ideal client), the reasons they will buy it, your competition in the minds of the buyer and the best way to sell it.
So, are all these things aligned for your partner who is re-selling your product?
Align your Sweet Spot and your Partner's Sweet Spot
- Does your partner sell to your sweet spot customers?
- What percentage of their attention is given to companies in your sweet spot?
- What other products or services are they targeting at this customer?
- How many existing customers do they have within the definition of your sweet spot?
- Do they sell a product or service at the same price or level of complexity as yours?
If your partner is not selling to your sweet spot then you are expecting them to sell a new product to a new type of customer for them. They may want the opportunity and have great enthusiasm for the task, but you are taking a risk that they have underestimated the task and start selling something easier again.
Ensure both the Partner and you are Trained and Ready?
- Has your Partners' sales people been trained properly?
- How much are you depending on hope?
- How comfortable are you that the Partner will represent your product properly?
- Help the Partner with "Why will the customer buy"?
- Verify the Customer Value Proposition in the Partner's market, it may be different.
- Verify the Competitive Advantage, as the competition may be different.
You may know how to sell in your current markets but you need to be aware of the differences in your Partner's market. Through market research or working with your Partner, determine how the Value Proposition and Competitive Advantage is different and help them to adjust the sales approach accordingly.
Be there, support your Partner and help them to sell and make money
- Is it clear why your solution is the best for the partner?
- Is it clear how and when you beat the competing solutions for the partner to present?
- Do you know what opportunities or business is competing for the sales people or the Partner's time?
- Is your product easy to sell and what would make it easier?
- How much do you speak to your Partner's sales people to get their feedback and to support them?
Many established companies who sell through partners have very defined cooperative marketing plans for partners at different sales or training levels.
They also advertise in trade press and at major trade shows to build a brand, educate the buyer and encourage them to buy from their partners. This activity makes it easier for your partner to sell as the buyer is more aware of the product and the company. You may not have a sizeable marketing budget yet, but you can make it easier for your Partner with the support you provide in helping them in understanding the market and through the challenges of sales process.
Beat the competition and win sales with your partner by helping them properly understand and overcome the challenges they are having it the selling of your product.
Article written by:
Donagh Kiernan, CEO, Maidsfield Associates.
Maidsfield Associates is a provider of consulting and hands-on services in Partnering Strategy, Partner Recruitment and Partner Channel Management for Irish based technology companies. Call us on +353-21-2307117
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