Your channel partner is still not selling? Maybe it’s just very successful and decentralised

 In Building Successful Partner Channels
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Recruiting channel partners can be complicated

Your channel partner is still not selling? Maybe it’s just very successful and decentralised.

TBK Consult has published a series of articles about how to deal with challenges in the partner channel, most recently about channel basics and partner recruitment. The partner channel is, after all, one of the primary concerns for software companies with global ambitions, and one of the key service areas of management consulting companies with a focus on software-driven businesses.

In my experience, software companies are not entirely satisfied with the results of their channels. The first thing to do is to adjust the value proposition to fit with the partner’s business model and apply this in sales. And still they don’t make progress.

I think one point that deserves attention is that many successful high-tech companies end up with a very decentralised organisation during the growth phase. If your channel partner is a successful tech company, this article could be of interest to you.

These companies tend to be small but global and operate with a highly decentralised organisation. This is particularly prevalent for companies with low volume-high price solutions that require extensive customer service. They would rather put people close to customers instead of in centralised offices and maximise upsell that way. It is quite common that these companies operate with a large number of small offices; they might not even have actual offices but employees working remotely from home offices or at the client’s site.

This “lone wolf” is closest to the market and therefore also handles sales in her region. Take note, she is a key success factor for you and should be your main focus in the short term. Be aware that this employee can be somewhat detached from HQ and does not necessarily share the same goals as your main contacts. Since they operate in vastly different geographical markets they probably have different needs, regional pricelists and local partners with differing skills and focus; not exactly the situation you expected or was told it would be by HQ. So why do you need to deal with this local level, surely it is easier to start closer to HQ, or in your home market?

Take a closer look into their client list and you will probably find a wide and thin spread, clients in all corners of the world but a relatively small number per country. This is a result of high growth, of being in a nice niche and successful at globalisation. Their HQ may be a small operation and active client cases can be anywhere.

This all means lots of work on the ground for you. It is your job to manoeuvre this organisation, to get to know the local sales force and identify the relevant sales cases. Your contact at HQ will not do it for you, at least not at the pace you would like to, and maybe your contacts are not able to fully influence progress at all. The budget is in the region, so much of the power is there as well. This means that decisions on commercial partners may also largely rest there. If you got the approval and introduction from HQ then your job from here is to create business in the regions.

Do you have experience with decentralised channel partners?

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