2023 Checklist: Equipping Your Partner Program for Success - Bridge Partners

2023 Checklist: Equipping Your Partner Program for Success

Pat Carroll on accelerating partner channel

In the current economic climate, organizations are going to rely even more on partners as a sales channel. Best practices to make that motion more productive will be critical.  

Over this next year, it’s important to remember your partners are going to be under similar pressures that you are. This provides the perfect opportunity to make it as easy as possible to represent you. As all companies are seeking to do more with less, focusing on creating an exceptional partner-centric experience directly affects your partners’ ability to perform for you.   

Start with the end in mind. Need to drive co-selling opportunities? Then you need to understand when and how to elevate them in sales motions. What about building reputation or internal value? You must know what communication channels are available to you. What your partner may require will depend on what type of provider they are and what capabilities they have, such as services, sales, and marketing. Identify your biggest opportunities and focus there first, using the ideas below to build your own plan of action checklist. 

Provide top-quality partner sales-ready enablement

Equip your partners to easily sell on your behalf. Without this, your partners will be unable to land your messages or do services with your customers for your solutions. All partners will need enablement, so do not skimp here. Technical, sales, and sometimes marketing enablement will be the fastest way to expand joint revenue and customer success support. This baseline tactic expands capacity and secures new partners looking to engage.

Create opportunities to co-sell with your direct sales team

Partners will want an efficient way to collaborate around co-selling. Find the partnership evangelists on your sales team and build this capacity into your selling processes and partner relationship management (PRM) portal. Communicate partner attribution methods early on to affirm value and establish frameworks to identify the most promising co-selling opportunities.

Use service partners for customer success

Focus your attention on service partners that can help you with customer success as they will drive velocity in implementing your solutions. Service partners can ensure deployment and integration into the customers’ environment, which is optimal for both short and long-term revenue.

Develop incentives for partners

As you focus more on driving revenue, be ready to leverage the technical competencies of your partners. Expand incentives that reward specific behaviors in the sales funnel and post-sales. Develop funded service partner presales offering such as design sessions and POCs. Consider funding specific deployment or adoption engagements to ensure customer success and solution expansion.

Communicate regularly to internal stakeholders

Get people excited! Every joint win needs to be on the WinWire. The direct salesperson should be championing the win so it is validated from the partner team side of the deal and the sales side of the house. Start every executive review meeting with a partner scorecard that shows progress against the key metrics the CRO/CEO is trying to drive.

Engage functional leaders in Partner Advisory Boards

The more leaders understand the partners and what they do, the better it will be for your team. Establishing a Partner Advisory Board (PAB) demonstrates your commitment and provides a platform for your top players to share knowledge. Hearing directly from the partners has more impact than secondhand stories from internal people.

BONUS: Here’s how to build and run your own Partner Advisory Board

Use data to regularly surface the business impact of the partnership

Those outside the channel program sometimes do not understand the complexity of the channel or what is needed to drive program success. To ensure value is seen, measure it. Your partner-sourced revenue is the most important KPI in your program. Measure the impact of the channel through your deal registrations and CRM co-sell motions. Analyze your data over time to identify trends and tie leading indicators of success to revenue. Prioritize areas of the business that drive revenue short-term this year and you see already working.

The correct PRM approach allows leaders easy visibility into the partner’s impact on revenue. Deal registration, co-sell impact, and influence revenue by service partners (like GSIs) are all important components. PRMs allow you to assess the impact and track partner contribution as aligned to customer success metrics.

KEEP READING: Five Priorities for Channel Leaders in 2023

If you want to learn more about partner program planning for 2023, check out managing director Pat Carroll in the free replay of the webinar “Building a Program for 2023 – What Needs to Change?” hosted by Channel Focus, the global community dedicated to channel professionals in the major vendors in the IT and telecom industry.


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About the author

Pat Carroll Bridge Partners

Pat Carroll

Pat brings 20 years of high-tech advisor and internal leadership experience in Channel, Sales, and Marketing functions.

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