Clear the way and prime the pump – give them an obstacle free zone (2-minute read)
100 right things will rarely overcome 1 very bad thing – like trying to build a Partner Channel with zero customers. This is a hugely expensive mistake…a golden no-no!
I’m a Channel guy, have been for 35 years. I love Channels; but, first things first.
Do what it takes to build your reference accounts list so you can soften the path and clear the way for your partners. If you can’t present a list of satisfied customers to your future partners don’t expect them to step up and risk their business reputation on an unknown quantity.
For qualified future customers, step up, barter and negotiate a business case study – offer free licenses, upgrades – do whatever it takes to pave the way and make it easier for your partners to present and sell your solution..
“Don’t be afraid to negotiate a business case study and referenceable quotes with license considerations…”
Put your executive team to work. Go out and get some customers before you pursue VAR partners – give it away if you must, but don’t expect a VAR to jeopardize their reputation with your unproven solution. It may very well be the best software ever coded – but, they (and their customers) need to hear it from someone other than you.
Get quotes you can use in Press Releases and leverage to attract partners during your prospecting cycle. If you have several good (well documented) reference accounts your new partners will be more comfortable leading with your solution.
Pick your verticals, make an effort to stack the references in specific sweet-spot markets; Healthcare, Financial, Construction, whatever it may be, it will help you pitch and target partners sharing those marketplaces.
Beyond gaining good marketing copy, your executive team will come out the other side better prepared to create on-boarding documentation for your new partners because they’ve faced the sales obstacles your partners will face, they’ve learned to overcome closing objections and better understand the competition.
You need to learn “Why” people buy your product, and it should not be about price.