Partner sales can help you reach a larger customer base and tap brand new markets. Here, we’ve gathered everything you need to get a clear understanding of what partner sales is – and added a handy step-by-step guide to making your partner sales model a success.
Partner sales (also known as channel sales or indirect sales) basically means that a company sells its products or services through third-party partners, rather than directly to end customers. That way, the company can reach a broader customer base, tap into new markets and use partners’ existing customer relationships and distribution channels. The partners, in turn, can benefit from offering a wider range of solutions to their customers without the need to develop those solutions in-house.
Sounds pretty good, right? So, how can you make it happen?
Reaching partner sales success in practice
Making partner sales success happen can feel like a puzzle where you can’t quite identify all the pieces. The good news is that we’ve gathered the pieces and outlined some of the most important ones here below:
1. Pick the right partners
Carefully select partners that align with your target market, values, and business goals. Here, you’ll want to look for partners who have a proven track record of success, a strong customer base, and expertise in your industry.
2. Clearly Communicate
Set up an open and transparent line of communication from the get-go. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, expectations, and goals for both parties. Keep sharing information, updates, and feedback to make sure everyone is on the same page.
3. Create incentives that benefit both parties
Create an incentive structure that motivates partners to invest their time and efforts into selling your products. This can include things like compensation, bonuses and rewards that are clearly connected to outcomes.
4. Train and enable partners
Provide your partners with comprehensive training about your products and their features, associated benefits and how to actually sell them. Equip partners with the knowledge and resources they need to represent your offering accurately and confidently.
5. Give support continuously
Offer ongoing support to address any questions, concerns, or challenges that partners may face. Here, it can help to have a dedicated channel manager, or a support team that can help partners overcome obstacles and keep the sales processes running smoothly.
6. Work together on marketing efforts
Work with your partners on marketing efforts. Provide marketing materials, co-branded assets and campaigns to help them generate leads and promote your products effectively. You can even co-create marketing campaigns together, which can create a joint sense of accountability and higher engagement levels on your partners’ side.
7. Check performance on a regular basis
Set measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) and regularly review your partners’ performance. This helps you find areas that can be improved and ensures that both parties are working towards common objectives. If you can find ways to continuously track partner efforts, this will be made so much easier.
8. Create a strong feedback loop
Encourage your partners to give feedback on your products, processes and partnership. Their insights can help you refine your offering even more – and make your partner experience even better.
9. Find the right tech
Find tech solutions and products that will help you drive a smooth partner experience, oversee efforts and share the necessary material and content that your partners will need. Here, modern partner enablement solutions can make all the difference.
10. Use Market Development Funds (MDF) wisely
Provide resources for co-marketing activities or initiatives that drive demand. This shared investment can strengthen the partnership and enhance that joint sense of accountability. Make sure to look for the right tech tools here as well – and always follow up on initiatives to make data-driven decisions on what to do more of.
11. Be adaptable and flexible
Be adaptable to changes in the market, technology, and customer preferences. Be willing to adjust your strategy and offerings based on partner feedback and emerging trends. It can make all the difference, especially if you can see the signs early on.
12. Keep checking in with your partners
Set and hold regular meetings with your partners to discuss progress, challenges and new opportunities. This ongoing conversation can work wonders when it comes to nurturing a solid partnership and a mutual sense of trust.
13. Build relationships for the long haul
A partner relationship is a long-term deal and should be approached with that in mind. Work with your partner to grow the relation and nurture trust and reliability. If you and your partner create strong bonds that last, it is more probable that the partnership will bear fruit in the long run.
14. Celebrate Success
Recognize and celebrate good results. Give your partners public shout-outs, share success stories and provide incentives for performing above average.
Partner sales success – a matter of engagement and enablement
Successfully working with a partner sales model can be made so much easier with the steps outlined above. We know they’re many, so if you want to get a quick idea of what they all mean, it’s this: your partner needs to be continuously enabled and engaged. In other words, they need to have the means to sell your product (the right material, structure and knowledge) and the motivation to do so (i.e. they need things like incentives and acknowledgement, an easy way to access what they need and a way to ask questions and be heard).
If you can provide your partners with that, you will have set a solid foundation for a partner sales success that only grows with time.
With SP_CE you can enable and engage your partners – while having full control of the content and material they share. Our platform gives you
- 1 digital room that your partner can share with customers – filled with the right product message and material. Material that you can keep automatically updated through a robust version control.
- 1 room to collaborate with your partner and keep them active with regular updates. Making sure your partner isn’t just enabled but also engaged.
That way, you and your partners get the ultimate conditions to succeed. Read more about SP_CE for partner enablement here, find more information in our Channel Sales FAQ – or contact us to see how SP_CE can upgrade your partner sales machine.