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8 Ways to Supercharge Partner Collaboration

Delivering on the promise of true collaboration involves rethinking your approach channel management processes and technologies.

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

8 Ways to Supercharge Partner Collaboration and Deliver More Revenue from Your Channel

Part 1

By Karren Gurnhill

Collaborating with channel partners sounds so simple. Haven’t we always been “collaborating” with our partners? But delivering on the promise of true collaboration involves rethinking your approach channel management processes and technologies.

Yes, though change is hard, and as communication avenues and technologies have evolved, vendor companies can be slow to transform how they do business. Vendors must keep up in order to keep their partners’ mind share and efforts.

In this four-part blog series, let’s take a look at the top eight things you can do to effectively and persuasively collaborate with your channel partners for greater channel return. I’ve broken it into two tips per post over the course of four posts, because I go into some detail on each tip.

#1 – Put an End to Boring Channel Partner Training Programs

Conventional online training is no more attractive to partners than it is to any of us and while you may develop the most compelling training program with the most attractive and entertaining multimedia courseware, time and time again, companies fail to attract trainees. In trying to reach the YouTube and Facebook generation, you have to meet them where they are and use new communication avenues. You also have to provide a compelling reason to take the time to learn about your products while also making the training enjoyable, easily accessible and easily consumable. There are a number of ways to accomplish this:

  • Make training available through your partner portal, so it’s a single sign-on for your partners to get to all of the information in one place.
  • Make sure your portal and training are easily viewable on mobile devices.
  • Make extensive use of social media to promote your training.
  • Offer personal incentives, such as cash, voucher or gifts, that are linked to both sales performance and points earned through training participation.
  • Running partner company incentives, such as rebates, margin or MDF, that are linked to both sales performance and numbers of trained staff.

When our customers employ these tactics they have seen training participating rise and as a result channel sales and revenue numbers increase.

#2 - Make Channel Lead Management a Collaborative Process

Internal CRM systems or spreadsheets do not scale effectively to your partners. Certain aspects are impenetrable to partners, and therefore these tools ultimately require manual intervention.

The leads you generate and manage within your CRM should be easily assignable to specific partners and partner contacts. These leads should be easily accessible via your partner portal. From there, partners can view their pipeline, edit records as well as request support and special pricing.

All of this activity should be instantly synced with your CRM system to ensure consistency as well as facilitate dialogue or approvals as required. There are a number of commercially available lead management systems to choose from, either as stand-alone solutions or as integrated offerings as part of a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) or Partnering Automation solution.

Once your partners can easily register and track their leads and deals, you’ll see resistance dissolve. And then you’ll have a holistic view of your sales pipeline and forecasts. This not only minimizes channel conflict, but also enables rewarding partner loyalty and transparency.

I have a total of 8 tips, but since this blog post is getting a bit long-winded, I’ll cover the other six in my posts in the upcoming days. More to come!

Catch tips 3 and 4 here.

Discover tips 5 and 6 here

Don't miss the last two tips 7 and 8 here.