Does Your Organization Have the Cash, Time and Patience to Properly Raise a Healthy Channel? (2-minute read)
Board of Directors: “We approved your Channel budget 3-months ago, where’s the money?”
Chastened Executive Leadership to Sales Team: “We don’t expect anything overnight; but, where are the sales?”
You: “Well, it takes time.” Silence…
This could have been avoided – it’s a minor misdemeanor for the company’s senior Channel stakeholder to not establish realistic Partner Program growth and revenue expectations with their respective initiative funders prior to accepting the challenge.
Like pearls, pregnancy and stalactites; some things need time and a nurturing environment to develop. No amount of force-of-will or desperation will greatly impact the inevitable growth cycle – these things take time.
It’s tough to plead your pragmatic case of reasonable expectations to a group or individual that holds your job future in their hands. History tells us you can expect 9-12 months of hard work, unexpected costs and setbacks before realizing a dime of Partner delivered profitability. But, with VERY few exceptions, it’s a reality that any truly neutral and candid channel professional will tell you to expect.
When proper expectations are set and all elements of a nurturing growth environment are in place the program life-cycle can move from concept, recruitment, managed development growth and profitability; instead of, unrealistic expectations, disappointment, frustration and desperation.
Unlike the guy who invented 6-up and quit, it’s just a matter of time, vision and commitment to see the rewards of your efforts.
Set incremental benchmarks and objectives (KPIs) to measure your progress on the path to profitability – See below examples:
- Recruit x number of “qualified” partners per Quarter
- Complete on-boarding (Sales/Technical) in x weeks
- Complete bus plan and target account per ea partner
- Engage in co-branded sales/marketing campaigns.
Every Program is different depending on product/service and licensing delivery model – so, identify the elements and knowledge most consistent with your successful sales efforts and tack that into your plan.
Since there will be no early on commissions, you need to put incentives on the table for your Channel Team that will reward them (MBO’s) for taking the actions that you’ve defined as necessary for your program’s success. The most effective MBO’s are tied to a timed delivery expectation.
As long as you’ve established product viability (another subject for later), identified incremental growth activity benchmarks and committed to the long term Channel plan your chances of success will soar.
Working within the boundaries of realistic expectations, and measuring your progress accordingly will give you a truer perspective on your progress.