March 29, 2023
By Blaise Brady
All channel partners are looking for new ways to grow, and one of the most common challenges I hear has to do with finding new customers. But the volatile economy is going to make that more challenging than ever before.
Recent research from Techaisle shows nearly half of partners are focused on upselling existing customers at a time when they also plan to tighten their budgets. So how can partners and suppliers work together to get in front of new logos and win them over?
A winning strategy requires taking on new challenges and expanding expertise to become more attractive to potential customer prospects.
3 Steps to a Winning Strategy
There are three steps that can help make this happen: Know where to expand your knowledge; find vendors who will educate you; and be willing to leave your comfort zone.
1. Be willing to admit where you need to expand your knowledge base.
Successful sellers must not be afraid to raise their hands and admit when they don’t know about a specific product or area of expertise that clients need. One solution is to network with peers and be willing to share lessons of your own. While it’s OK to seek assistance with marketing funds or advertising, knowledge support is even better. Good partners will provide resources for you and your customers on new products and services. Be willing to shop around for information and go beyond a “sales pitch” to find the right solutions, solution teams and product specialists that can add value to conversations.
2. Find the right partner who is willing to educate you.
There are some best practices to finding partners who are willing to engage in educational and meaningful conversations instead of running through an hour-long sales deck. Before setting up a call, ask partners if they can provide third-party validation such as an analyst or someone in their partner network to walk through the experience of working with them. Another important qualifier is to ask how much post-sales support a prospective partner can provide, such as onboarding, first bill review, escalations/service-related items, and resolution of complex issues. If they provide quality services after a sale, then the pre-sales experience will probably be just as valuable. With these qualifiers, you can start working together, expand your knowledge base, and from there see how you can push your business even further.
3. Collaborate and get out of your comfort zone.
The best partnerships go beyond simple training or education and focus on professional growth. A true partner on the supplier side will encourage partners to challenge each other to achieve new heights. Think back to your best coach when playing sports, or your best professor in school. They helped you realize new levels of potential. Once you find the right supplier or team, work to determine whether you can pitch a new product or solution or win over new client vertical segments. A good partner can help steer or guide the process. Maybe it’s helpful to let your partner lead a sales engagement with one of your customers, and your goal is to observe, retain, repeat. This is especially true for cybersecurity opportunities.
This doesn’t have to be about convincing companies to invest in new technologies or processes, but helping them get the best possible value out of their existing platforms and frameworks. GTT recently sponsored IDC research (PDF) that found widespread recognition of the value of integrating security and SD-WAN, but that many enterprises have not been able to leverage these benefits.
Good vendors work with clients to close that gap, not just through providing in-house experts but by partnering other vendors within their ecosystem. Working with the right seller to help enterprises fully utilize technology, whether it’s SD-WAN or any other solution, is an opportunity to emerge as a hero for those struggling to take full advantage of new technologies.
One More Tip: Don’t Be Afraid to Evolve
Forward-thinking channel partners always take risks and evolve. If they don’t, they’re going to be surpassed by another company that will.
For example, Amazon didn’t put traditional retail department stores out of business; their failure was self-inflicted because they didn’t evolve. The last few times I walked through the aisles of a department store, it didn’t look much different from when I was there with my grandfather over 20 years ago. Despite starting as an innovative business model, these stores’ business strategy hadn’t changed fast enough to keep up with competitors.
It may seem like evolving can be risky, especially during this uncertain economic climate, but following the above tips can help to mitigate those risks.
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