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Relayware Partner Relationship Management

African Proverbs and The Indirect Sales Channel

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Ken Snyder

We’ve all heard the African Proverb, “It take a village to raise a child." The idea behind this is that a child does not become a productive member of society by simply following direct orders from his or her parents.  The proverb implies that everyone in the community has a vested interest in the success of every child.  It implies that the community has a responsibility to inform, enable, collaborate with, and nurture each child.

The same is true for your indirect sales channel…it takes a village.  A child’s village is made up of parents, teachers, coaches, friends, classmates, teammates, public servants, spiritual leaders, etc.  When it comes to your indirect sales channel, the village is made up of vendors, distributors, wholesalers, consultants, integrators, resellers, dealers, etc.  The members of your village all have different experiences, expertise, and abilities.  Newcomers to your village and members who are currently struggling NEED to be engaged with and have access to the collective knowledge of all members if they are to be productive and successful.

If you are a vendor, start by enlisting the entire village to help fulfill the needs of each newcomer or struggling child [channel partner].  As a vendor, there’s only so much you can do yourself, so surrender now and ask the village for help!  Between you (the parents) and the rest of the channel (the village), new or struggling members should feel not only welcome but also empowered to explore their curiosities and get on-board and up-to-speed quickly.  Only after you’ve encouraged and observed engagement between newcomers or struggling members and the rest of the villagers should you truly begin to set expectations of this demographic.  Between you [the vendor] and the rest of the village, you should be fully capable of providing the following:

  • Induction
  • Training
  • Enablement
  • Access to tools, info, resources
  • Communication in the channel’s preferred way and with relevant info
  • Enabling collaboration amongst the “village”
  • Offering motivation and incentives to remain engaged over the long haul
  • A service and support strategy
  • Reviewing, revising, and optimizing the program policies and requirements