In Part 10, we examine the final subject, go to market. If you have followed the nine previous steps and put them into practice the partnership now just needs to get to work and develop new business opportunities. At Bowan Arrow we have developed an approach called Channel Activation. Channel Activation is designed to build long-term business relationships between a vendor and a technology partner (reseller). Executed well, it delivers planned, measured and successful commercial partnerships. In a series of blogs, I have examined and explained our 10 Step process for Channel Partner Success (CPS). This process helps to build success in the activation of channels for both new and established vendors seeking to attract new partners to new and existing segments of their portfolio.
A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is a plan of action that outlines how a company will reach customers and achieve competitive advantage through partnership. The purpose of a GTM strategy is to provide an objective and direction for delivering business products and services to the customer.
For a channel specific go-to-market strategy we need to understand the planned joint approach, account mapping and the joint sales proposition.
- Where are the review points, weekly, monthly or quarterly QBR s? Getting to market takes time and success will not come instantly. The first few weeks and months of a new partnership requires constant monitoring from both sides. Both organizations must schedule weekly conference calls and face to face monthly meetings to review performance, the sales funnel and discuss any further requirements for success. These meetings should answer the original question we posed within the Channel Activation Process Part 1 Partner Mapping Reason to Engage.
- What are the metrics to understand success or failure? Review sessions are designed to track progress against business objectives. These sessions need to be open and honest so that if any changes need to be made they can be discussed and any adjustments agreed and made quickly to ensure that the partnership is on track for success. As highlighted in Part 7 Partner Communication Planning, messaging and PR are important to support the launch of the partnership and ensure the appropriate audiences are aware of this new partnership.
- What is the joint business and marketing plan? Finally, within this new partnership how are you targeting new customers? As I highlighted in the introduction and having followed the nine previous steps and put them into practice, the partnership needs to develop business opportunities.
Therefore, to recap the 10 Step process for Channel Partner Success (CPS):
- Partner Mapping (Reason to Engage) Is there a perceived business benefit for both parties to explore partnership i.e. market opportunity, industry skillset or legislative updates
- Partner Selection Will this partnership increase geographical and vertical market coverage for both parties (size, people, $, core offers, geography, vertical, other vendors)
- Partner Challenges What impact will a new partnership have on current levels of business with existing vendors, % of business by vendor by $ vendor target.
- Partner Competition The importance and significance of other vendor relationships i.e. % Margin, Product Knowledge, Paperwork, Logistics and $ target. Channel conflict and awareness.
- Vendor & Partner Planning What resources are both parties making available to plan an actual launch and support the partnership long term?
- Partner Training What training & support is immediately available via the vendor for the partner to utilize to be day one ready and create relevant messaging to their existing customer base.
- Partner Communication Planning What is the internal & external plan, external PR and joint releases, what is the message to the market?
- Partner Business Benefits Is the partner fully aware of all aspects of vendor s sales programs and incentives.
- Partner Marketing Programs Does the vendor offer Metrics Driven Marketing programs that delivers joint sales success.
- Go to Market What is the planned joint approach, account mapping, joint sales proposition?
To conclude, the lure for a vendor to recruit as many new partners as possible needs to be accompanied by a measured, planned and budgeted approach. Follow the 10 Step process for Channel Partner Success (CPS) to ensure that as a vendor, you have taken the correct steps in the process for Channel Partner Success.