Partner levelling, as we know, is one of the pillars upon which channel programs are built. In addition to being a valuable tool for supporting partner engagement strategy. But in today’s crowded market, vendors need to go that extra mile to maintain critical partner relationships. Those that can demonstrate, in real time, where a partner sits within those levels – and their potential progression to the next tier – find themselves with a significant advantage over the competition.
Our recent webinar, Partner Levelling – Winning Partner Mindshare through Differentiation, covered just this topic. Channel Mechanics VP and General Manager Americas, JD Helms, was joined by Channel Mechanics CEO Kenneth Fox, to discuss how partner levelling can support partner engagement.
Partner Engagement Strategy
Fox noted the most important thing is to make partner levelling easy for partners to understand – in this case, what are the tier requirements?
“A lot of vendors will have a big old guide and that’s great. It takes a lot of work to put these things together. But a partner typically works with an average of seven to 12 vendors. So are they really going to sit down and peel through your fancy PDF? Probably not,” he said.
“Time is the most precious commodity in today’s world. It’s no different for partners. So ease of doing business becomes the critical factor in winning partner mindshare and creating competitive advantage.”
Vendors must be able to demonstrate what they require from partners at any time, quickly and easily. For their part, partners should be able to see their position in the levelling program, and what they need to achieve to go up a tier. Whether that be additional sales or certifications. Conversely, they should see when they are in danger of dropping down a level.
“The best way to do that is through a single pane of glass,” said Fox. “Have a page that your partner can go to and quickly see where they’re at. That is a critical way to go-to-market with your partners.”
Empowering Internal Sales Teams
But it’s not just partners that benefit from this single view of their relationship with the vendor. The vendor’s internal channel sales teams can see exactly where the partners are too.
“It’s equally as important to help your internal teams do the same things, because they’re the ones that have the relationship with the partners,” said Fox. “So empower your account managers to do a better job by giving them those similar views that the partners have – but all in one place. They don’t have to go to five different systems or look at spreadsheets or pull data together. It’s there in front of them so they can now go and sell.”
“Giving your channel operations or sales teams the tools to quickly say ‘this partner’s within 5K of becoming a gold or platinum [partner], they have to take one more certification, or they have to do another renewal – making your channel teams sales-oriented rather than operationally-oriented is really important.”
By adopting a common approach, all account managers can also benefit from a level playing field. This also sidesteps any fallout when someone leaves the company.
The ability to demonstrate a partner’s partner levelling journey is important for your partner engagement strategy and winning critical mindshare. At the same time, if you’re a vendor that makes it easy to engage with you through a partner levelling dashboard, you’re more likely to gain the upper hand against the competition.
To learn how Partner Levelling can benefit your channel engagement strategy, contact our team today!