How you manage your channel partners can make all the difference in sustainable success. There are several moving parts to ensure your channel partners are properly managed from on-boarding to nurturing to empowering to building loyalty. We refer to the process as “The Channel Partner Life Cycle” and we have been doing it for over 25 years. Incredibly, nothing has changed much in the process! The channel is still a P2P (people to people) business World!

Every year, we host a Channel Manager Summit to help all levels of channel management to learn about the latest research, strategies, programs and tactics that are proven-successful. We also offer a 2-day course to help train channel managers and channel reps. We can help!

Here are just four things to consider…

Leverage the Big Data on your channel partners

Understanding your channel partners at the DNA level will help you make better decisions. Find the elements that drives success. Leverage this business intelligence to grow your channel partners. Sales figures only tell one part of the story so do not get mesmerized by the initial sales figures from partners. When your understand all of the moving parts of your channel partners, you will be able to identify what needs to be cultivated to make you channel more effective and sustainable.

As with all apple trees in any orchard, some will bare more fruit than others. Smart farmers will try to learn why and leverage that knowledge to help the others trees bare more fruit next year.

Improve communications with your partners

Keeping your partners up-to-date about your company’s important information is a fundamental need for all channel managers. With a mobile APP, you can push content anytime to your partners and track usage. With e-newsletters and social media you can amplify your message. With a mobile e-learning campus you can provide product and business skills training and testing. With other digital tools, you can distribute product and marketing content. You will need the right mix of digital tools as there is no one tool that can do it all. We know all of the best communication tools in the channel and can offer the best recommendations.

Build stronger partner loyalty and motivation

Keeping your partners motivated and loyal to sell your products is a constant challenge. The competitive choices and “noise level” in the channel makes it difficult to keep your partners focused on you. We can help you develop and manage the right type of incentive program to build loyalty to your company. Done right, incentive programs can help motivate your partners to achieve the desired behavior. Offer rewards for reaching new sales levels or for learning or for marketing your products. We use some automated tools to help you manage the program cost-effectively and maximize results.

Improve your partner portal

You need one spot where your channel partners can find whatever they need to do business with you! Review your partner portal user stats. Our research shows that less than 10% of partners are actually using vendor partner portals. The majority never revisit partner portals after the initial on-boarding phase. There are many challenges facing partner portals, but having an effective, up-to-date partner portal is the minimum to increase usage and satisfaction levels of your partners. We can do a partner portal review to identify its shortfalls and provide a road-map to improve its effectiveness. Either fix your current partner portal or rebuild a better one. Ask about adding partner social networking to your PRM.