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Four keys to a revenue-focused channel partner strategy

April 8, 2021 by Jeff Laue, Senior Managing Director – Accenture Digital Inside Sales

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"Four keys to a revenue-focused channel partner strategy," by Jeff Laue. Published to Accenture.com on April 8, 2021. 

You want your channel partners to succeed because you know that an increasing share of your business comes through your partner ecosystems. But are you doing enough to enable partners to succeed? Are you both keeping a relentless focus on revenue?

According to a recent study, more than 90% of company executives and channel leaders expect to increase revenue directly attributed to their partner ecosystems this year [1]. But with those growth expectations, you need to make sure you are positioned for success.

Based on more than 15 years of experience helping companies optimize their partner networks, I have found that there are four key components to ensuring your channel partner strategy is revenue focused.

1. CHOOSE YOUR PARTNERS CAREFULLY

A solid channel strategy is based on quality not quantity. And while you can have a tiered approach to partners, you should ensure you have a partner recruitment strategy that is based on analysis and alignment, not volume. Adopting a scorecard approach to evaluating partners allows you to understand the pros and cons of each partner and identify those that are most aligned to your revenue strategy. Every partner has, of course, its own strengths and weaknesses, but you need to evaluate how each partner is successfully leveraging the former and improving upon the latter.

2. NURTURE YOUR CHANNEL RELATIONSHIPS

Many companies simply don’t invest enough in their partners, and tend to get back what they put in. Adopt a “partner first” attitude internally, just as you would a “customer first” attitude externally. Set up regular forums to update your partners on channel progress and collect their feedback on obstacles that need to be cleared. Offer plenty of opportunities for partners to learn from each other and build institutional best practices. At Accenture, we help our clients develop a concierge-style approach that provides their partners with always-on resources to answer questions, equips them with branded content and enablement materials, and helps them leverage partner funding in the most effective ways. Partners that have this information are prepared to offer real value to organization…and providing value drives revenue.

3. PROVIDE TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT

Marketing technology has become extremely sophisticated and is continuously evolving. To compete in the digital marketplace, partners must be able to identify qualified prospects to target and deliver thoughtful content that effectively communicates the value proposition of the offering. This may be difficult for partners to execute, especially if they don’t have a modern sales and marketing tech stack. We have found that our clients with strong partner programs provide their partners with access to the latest data, technologies, and insights to support their go-to-market approach. Many of our clients leverage AI and machine learning to accelerate opportunities, providing partners with access to full prospect and client history, next-best offer recommendations and optimized messaging based on predictive analysis. Partners who can leverage technology for customer insights are equipped with the information to facilitate more meaningful connections which leads to higher conversions.

4. KEEP YOUR PARTNERS CONNECTED

A foundational component to any successful relationship is good communication. This is no different for your channel partners. Offer them educational opportunities like webinars and sales enablement materials like playbooks and battlecards that they can access instantly and share across their teams. Think beyond product information to things like guidance on social selling. Then provide them with opportunities to give feedback and input into your programs and be prepared to implement changes, when appropriate. Empowering and connecting partners will build strong relationships for your business while becoming more valuable to customers, which directly impact revenues.

Keywords

internet, sales, e-commerce, online, customers