John Gentry, Vice President of Marketing and Alliances –
For many companies in the IT industry, the channel makes integral contributions to both short- and long-term sales and revenue numbers. Organizations seeking exponential growth can benefit greatly from the efforts of their resellers, but that growth only lasts as long as the vendor-partner relationship is mutually beneficial. All too often, companies fail to recognize the channel as a crucial part of the team, and they fall short of providing the necessary training to empower these partners to be successful.
Companies that want to provide better training and support to their channel partners can take three actions: equip, customize and counsel.
- Equip: Companies can support their channel partners by providing the requisite tools for success, including updated company collateral, solution-oriented consulting and an understanding of customer needs and pain points. The sales process can be long and arduous. Comprehensive, consistent support needs to extend to every stage of the process.
- Customize: If you think one size fits all when it comes to your partners or your customers, you are terribly mistaken. Your partner training programs should include customized information that outlines the problems, solutions and situations common to their specific industries. Your customers are all different; shouldn’t your training programs be different, too?
- Counsel: A business can’t underestimate the power of ongoing education for its channel partners, and that education should continue after the sale is final. Your channel partner may have sold your solution and handed it over to your team to install, but by including the partner in the installation, your team has a chance to educate, answer questions, and help the partner learn about your product. At the same time, your partners may get to know and respect your teams better – which will make them more confident and enthusiastic about selling your products and solutions the next time.
A comprehensive, worthwhile training program does require an investment, but if your teams begin to equip, customize and counsel their partners, you’ll notice both short- and long-term returns while developing a strong network for your products and solutions.
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