In part one of this topic, we discussed how to figure out what makes a good channel sales partner. In that post, we left you with the question of how you find potential channel sales partners in the first place. After all, there can be no opinions about a channel sales partner if you don’t have one in the first place!
How do you find the best program?
Sometimes channel managers are responsible for finding new channel sales partners that will sell their products. Sometimes they are looking for an independent partner who will handle the entire sale, sometimes they are looking for a close partner who works with their company to complete the sale, and sometimes they are looking for a partner to team up and pair products or services. The list of potential situations goes on and on, so how do you narrow your search down to find channel sales partners that are a good fit for your company?
Consider your Criterion
In part one, we discussed how you need to create an outline of criteria that is important to your company. Take the criteria you wrote about in the first step and really consider it. Will your company need to be involved with customer service? How about market position and advertising? What type of partner are you looking for? How will your partner be compensated? By narrowing down your list of potential types of partners, you will make your search for channel sales partners easier.
Isolate Key Phrases
Look at your criteria and look for key phrases that stand out. Also look at your product set. Are there any industry standard words that stick out to you? By isolating these keywords and phrases, you give yourself the foundation of what to search for. Add “seller,” “dealer” or an appropriate term to your keyword in your search. If you have really narrowed down on your key phrases, potential channel sales partners will pop up in your search results.
Perform Competitive Analysis
During your research phase, you should look into additional information about the company. If a company just hits some of your key phrases does not mean it will be a good channel sales partner. Ask yourself common questions that may cause an issue. For example, are any of your competitors already selling through them? If so, will this create a conflict of interest? Was their CEO involved in a scandal that will give your company a bad name? Dig around a bit before you decide to go any further. It’s better to be aware of the good, the bad, and the ugly before you enter into negotiations.
Review Potential Channel Sales Partners
As we discussed in part one, you must take all your criterion and review how the potential channel sales partners hold up. Do they have a product or service you feel good pairing with? Do they have any experience selling products/services like yours? Does the partnership even make sense? Make a list of the pros and cons. If the potential partner still seems like a good fit after review, then it’s probably a good idea to proceed with establishing a business relationship. Reach out to an appropriate party at the company (usually found via LinkedIn) and try leading with how you can benefit them, rather then what you might gain from the partnership.