This is the third installment in a four-part blog series on Partner Journey Excellence. In this series, we’re sharing insights and best practices drawn from a recent webinar, featuring a panel of partner journey experts: Jennifer Judy, Senior Director of Global Partner Experience at HP, Penny Byron, Principal Consultant Partner GTM at Bridge Partners, and Kenneth Fox, CEO at Channel Mechanics, and myself, Margaret Adam, Head of Product Marketing at Channel Mechanics.
In our previous blog, Partner Onboarding | Best Practices for Accelerating Time to Revenue for New Partners, we explored strategies to streamline partner onboarding to accelerate time-to-revenue for new partners. While in this blog we dive into the next phase of the partner journey, where the focus shifts to growing revenue from existing partners. Whether this phase centers on Partner-Led Growth or Partner-Fed Growth, it is all about ensuring excellence in how partners position, market, and sell your solutions.
Define Expectations: Partner-Led Growth versus Partner-Fed Growth
“Are you looking for them to grow the business? Or are you looking at them to fulfill the business? Usually, it’s a mix of the two.” Penny Byron, Principal Consultant Partner GTM, Bridge Partners
A common frustration in the world of channel is the perception that partners expect leads to be handed to them (partner-fed), rather than proactively creating their own opportunities (partner-led). While this criticism may not always be entirely fair, it highlights a common gap between partner and vendor expectations when it comes to marketing, generating opportunities, and attracting new customers.
Bridging The Gap
The root cause often lies in how equipped partners are to sell your solutions. Consider the following:
- Have you truly empowered your partners to take the lead in creating opportunities?
- Do they have access to the necessary sales tools and demo materials?
- Is there an efficient quoting system in place?
- Have you provided customizable marketing materials that partners can tailor to their solutions and services?
- Do partners need to involve one of your salespeople before pursuing an opportunity?
Weaknesses in any of these areas can significantly impact a partner’s ability and willingness to generate new opportunities.
“If they have to get your sales team’s buy-in and support before they go after an opportunity, they can’t truly lead the deal.” Penny Byron, Principal Consultant Partner GTM, Bridge Partners
Partners Sell What They Know
It’s critical to provide partners with the knowledge and access they need to succeed.
Ensure your partners have the capabilities and tools to truly lead an opportunity with confidence. This includes access to essential sales training, sales tools, and demos, along with equipment and proof-of-concept environments. Once partners possess the necessary knowledge, incentivize them to take the lead.
“Empower them to be knowledgeable, and once they have that, incentivize them.” Jennifer Judy, Senior Director of Global Partner Experience, HP
Best Practices for Partner-Led Growth
1. Early Engagement: Encourage your teams to engage partners earlier in the sales cycle, fostering greater trust, stronger partnerships, and more collaboration in developing new opportunities from the outset.
2. Tailored Marketing: Recognize that not all partners are alike. Partners need to be able to customize marketing materials to align with their specific needs and business models.
3. Solution Selling: Move away from the “spray and pray” approach. Instead, focus on vertical solutions and business outcomes, equipping partners to position a fuller solution to customers. Make it easier for them to create proofs-of-concept (POCs) and offer customizable marketing assets that support a solution-oriented, business-outcomes-driven go-to-market approach
4. Collaboration: Establish a platform for partners to collaborate with you and with other partners on opportunities. This not only strengthens relationships but also accelerates opportunities and offers visibility into the process.
“The customer journey is all about how to bring prospects closer, identify opportunities and accelerate them into revenue. It should be the same for your partners.” Penny Byron, Principal Consultant Partner GTM, Bridge Partners
By implementing these best practices for partner-led growth, you’re not only nurturing stronger partnerships but also laying the foundation for greater partner-led revenue. Stay tuned for the next installment in our blog series. The focus of that post will be on the next stage of the partner journey. In addition to sharing best practices on how to elevate, deepen, and expand existing partnerships.
The Number 1 ask from Partners today is for vendors to make doing business easy.