Each year, channel sales and marketing leaders are assigned a revenue goal. The goal may require that they increase last year’s channel revenue by 20 percent or even 30 percent, leaving them to wonder where that growth will come from? Obviously, it will come from partners, but which partners? The ones they already have, or will they need to recruit new partners to reach their goal?
For many suppliers, the right answer is not to add more partners into their program just to drive short-term sales; instead, they’re learning that revenue goals must be reached through continuous, repeatable performance, not by just counting on one deal per partner. They are redoubling their efforts to enable partners as one way of getting them to upsell to existing customers and close net new customers.
Either way, enablement can be beneficial, but channel leaders must look beyond training to increase repeatability and performance. While anecdotal evidence shows that better-trained sales reps are more productive, enablement by itself does not solve the problem of creating a repeatable revenue strategy. This is largely due to the lack of adoption most programs get from partners juggling multiple supplier relationships – each one trying to reach their individual goals, sometimes via the same set of partners.
To build repeatability in the channel, develop a partner execution plan that factors in training, necessary sales resources, different products to be sold and the number of deals the partner should generate. Instead of peppering the partner with quarter-end calls to check on pipeline, channel managers should continually track mutual progress (e.g. training programs delivered, partner participation, selling resources the partner committed to, and frequency of deals closed). By doing so, channel marketers can detect if a partner needs to hire or assign additional reps or ensure that training is being optimized. By developing a scorecard that a channel manager can track, impediments to profitable deals can be identified and the basis for establishing a repeatable model achieved.
It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. To get on the road to a repeatable revenue model in the channel, try beginning with these four steps:
In other words, to create repeatability and increase revenue, create a selling model that encourages partners to commit to investing in the people and the time required to reach the milestones that will drive higher sales for both supplier and partner.