Channel Pros: 4 Ways to Escape Your Bubble
As Channel Professionals we have a lot of responsibility. It seems as if the work will never been done and partners will never have everything they need. For that reason, we tend to fall into a way of doing things that can be detrimental to our channel program and more importantly, our partners. Here’s how to break free from your current routine.
As a consultant I’m asked to take a look at elements of channel programs or the entire channel program and suggest improvements. At times I hear the tell-tale, “that’s not how we do things here” – a major red flag. As the world changes, the way people do business changes, and the way we reward and support our partners has to change.
In other posts such as Channel Programs, One Size does not Fit All! I’ve talked about those elements specifically here I talk about HOW to make those changes. You can sit in your bubble (a.k.a. cubical or office) and pretend that you know what your partners want/need OR you can find out for sure.
Here are 4 key things you need to do to get our of your bubble:
- It’s fine to sit in a room talking to CAMs, CADs, Pre-sales Engineers, and Sales people but until you actually meet face-to-face with a partner and hear from them what their challenges are you’re not getting in touch with your constituents. Yes YOU. Insist that you get out there and walk in the partners shoes once in a while.
- Have you ever met someone that is up to date on entertainment gossip like Houses Wives of Wherevertheheck but has no idea that we’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan? Are you that person? Ruh-roh. It’s so important to educate yourself about your industry and how it may effect your partners. Read everything you can get your hands on about your industry and take that into account when formulating programs. Is SaaS the latest and greatest? How do you help partners better sell your premise solution? Is there a recession? Time to beef up promotions and decrease rebates.
- You can reach out to your partners one at a time as I mention in #1, but it’s hard to talk to each and every partner individually. I am sure your Partner Advisory Council gives you loads of feedback but they don’t represent everyone. It’s also important to send a survey to all partners at least once a year. Not only do you get great feedback but your partners also know how much their opinion means to you.
- While other Channel Professionals may seem like “competitors” to you, they shouldn’t. Your products may compete, but we’re in the channel….we get along with everyone! Tap into your peers. Learn from other Channel Professionals about pitfalls, challenges, wins, and opportunities. Some of the people I’ve kept in touch with and enjoyed networking with the most were at “competitive” channel programs.
By getting out of your comfort zone and reaching out to others, your channel program is going to benefit as will you as a Channel Professional.
Are there suggestions I missed? Folks who don’t agree? I’d love to hear from you.
Contributing blogger Heather K. Margolis, the Channel Maven, has led channel programs for major IT companies. She also has extensive lead generation and marketing experience. Follow The VAR Guy via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; Twitter; and via his Newsletter; Webcasts and Resource Center. Plus, visit www.VARtweet.com.