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Ask the Expert, Robert Mann, Chairman and CEO

The result of motivating a channel partner is that the channel partner professional chooses to sell my products over the competition’s

Relayware Partner Relationship Management

Ask the Expert, Robert Mann, Relayware Chairman and CEO

On Channel Partner Motivation

Question: What happens when you motivate a channel partner?

Mann: Most partners in the channel are selling competitive products, so they can chose either my product or my competition. The result of motivating a channel partner is that the channel partner professional chooses to sell my products over the competition’s. So, motivating the partner is creating the desire to choose me over someone else.

Question: How does a channel manager effectively motivate channel partners?

Mann: If you look historically at the channel ecosystem, it was the partner at the top, sending communication down to the partner telling them what to do.

In today’s world, the vendor is no longer the emperor of the kingdom. The partner has an entire network to collaborate with, including the vendor, as well as other partners in the ecosystem, who all have the ability to provide help to drive sales and customer success.

Social networking and mobile apps foster this kind of collaborative environment. These also build trust and desire and as a result motivation.

Question: Is there a way to measure channel partner motivation?

Mann: Simplistically, a main way to measure motivation is to look to answer, “Are they selling more this year than last year?” When you’re effectively motivating your partners, you expect your partners will sell more.

Alternatively, a measure of motivation is the satisfaction of your partners’ customers. A motivated partner will engender success in their customers.

Another way to measure motivation is the type of communication you have with a partner. When a partner isn’t motivated, you have zero communication, and when a partner is motivated, they are constantly communicating.

It’s not just volume, but also type of communication. Good communication is when you are hearing from your partners, “How can I….,” “Could you help me….,” “Who do you know that might…” These are all very positive in sentiments. You can see that this partner is motivation. This will result in more sales, because that’s the name of the game.

Question: How do you measure this on a large scale?

Mann: This is where partner performance management comes into play. Good analytics with a content-rich database enables you to analyze all the interactions on the partner portal. You can see the types of questions and interactions of productive partners who are selling the most. The next step is to ask, “How do I get more interactions like this from other partners?” Identify what the top performers are doing and encourage your most promising partners to replicate what’s working for the top performers.

Question: How does Relayware enable motivation?

Mann: When a partner is trying to sell a vendor’s product, that partner may need help and guidance from multiple people. Relayware is a social and collaborative application enabling a partner to ask for help from a larger ecosystem. This helps motivation.

Another way Relayware enables motivation is through the ability to analyze the content-rich database that Relayware customers have for all of their partners. Because of this, our customers are able to provide recommendations to partners of what top performers are doing.

For example, a vendor can take a look at a partner who is working to sell a particular type of product, and that vendor with Relayware’s tools, can say, “Partners like you who have successfully sold this type of product have under taken these types of marketing activities and as a result increased their revenue by 25%.” The partner is not sitting there in isolation, but has a full support system as well as a manufacturer who through Relayware will be able to analyze a large ecosystem to share strategies that have been successful.

For more on motivation, check out our 5 Top Tips for Motivating Your Channel Partners. Click here and download.

Robert Mann, Relayware Chairman and CEO