Channel Partners: You Want to Be Great? Differentiate
I was recently looking for a new doctor to give me an eye exam. It seems that excessive screen time (coupled with birthdays) is taking its toll on my eyesight. I went to my insurance company’s website, typed in a few key words and waited to see what options I had.
Although the type was a bit fuzzy, the results showed a dizzying array of eye care professionals near my home. At first pass, all the options seemed about the same. But while the Internet makes it easy to locate providers, you still have to pare them down to find exactly what you need.
In this case, I could have just gone with the first optometrist on the list. But that didn’t necessarily seem wise. So, to narrow down my selection, I started with those who had the most accreditations and best patient ratings.
Most businesses also begin their hunt for software solution vendors in a similar way—by checking the provider’s credentials, reputation and success.
An article in CIO magazine ranked this as a key step in the due diligence process that prospective customers go through. Customers look to ensure that vendors and providers they are considering have strong capabilities and credibility around the solution(s) that want to implement.
All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
That is not to say that only channel partners with “gold,” “diamond,” “emerald” or some other top-tier designation in a vendor’s partner program will be considered. If your organization is a startup or just beginning to expand into new products and solutions, don’t feel discouraged. There are plenty of other ways to show customers that you are a standout.
One way to differentiate your organization is to highlight any special awards or recognition. Even more compelling than your own promotions is that of your partner company. You might be surprised at just how powerful and coveted an award recognition can be.
For example, the SAP Pinnacle Awards shine a spotlight on top partners across lines of business and partner types. This is not limited to top-revenue producers; newer partners and innovators have an opportunity to win, as well. Our partners take the award process seriously and work hard to achieve this recognition—because they know the value it can provide in the early stages of the customer acquisition process.
Nothing Speaks Louder Than Customer Success
CIO magazine also identified industry references and success stories as critically important to prospective customers—noting these are still two of the best ways to uncover the truth and capabilities of a vendor—and it certainly applies to solution providers, as well.
That’s why SAP gives partners one-click access to countless success stories that provide validation to prospects during their decision-making process. Our customer reference platform makes it easy to locate and leverage SAP reference customers and stories to fit their needs. Our partners love this platform, saying it goes a long way to find examples they can use to show prospects that SAP software is right for them.
We encourage our partners to contribute their successes to the platform and work with them to develop and produce a co-branded written stories or video. Does your vendor do that? For example, our partner Partnering with Elephants, Rhinos & People (ERP) did a wildly popular success story about protecting wild animals using drones, data and IoT. Many SAP partners focused on completely different industries have picked up on it.
Take Steps to Be a True Standout
There’s value in touting awards and being identified as a silver, gold or platinum partner–it helps to validate your expertise. But the best way to be a standout to your future customers is to showcase your testimonials and customer success stories, too.
Do you need help taking the next step? Visit https://www.sap.com/partner.html for more information on the SAP PartnerEdge program.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.