Have you ever considered whether your channel partner program is giving you an advantage over the competition? If not, you should be! In today’s digital age, a well-developed and thoughtfully-executed partner program can provide a significant advantage in a competitive vendor landscape.
It all comes down to channel data. If a vendor can both quickly and simply see all manner of partner information – the type of partner, size, geography, specialism, certifications, which offers they have access to, rewards eligibility, etc. – they can harness that channel data to their advantage.
The more granular their partner engagement platform is, the better the data. They can slice and dice and segment their market, while easily differentiating partners simply by building in those types of rules into the platform.
As such, vendors can be extremely targeted with their sales go-to-market strategy. Thus, making it exceptionally difficult for competitors to compete. As a vendor you can home in on certain verticals and get very competitive price-wise. And best of all, the competition can’t react unless they too have that type of capability.
Partner Data at your Fingertips
Modern partner platforms now automate what can be a painful process. The experience should be simple, intuitive and fast to use (for both partner and vendor). It should be personalized to the needs of different partners. While at the same time, delivering a wealth of valuable data to all parties, at the click of a mouse. This in turn helps the vendor to make critical business decisions.
Partner Program Advantage
As previously discussed, in-depth reporting enables vendors to see how their program is performing. How many partners are participating? How many transactions they are making, and whether they’re going through distribution. With modern, wizard-based platforms like Channel Mechanics, vendors can tune the dials to their own requirements.
So what might be an example of using that data for competitive advantage? Well, if you are running an EMEA-wide channel program, you may be seeing success in the UK, but not getting the traction expected in Germany. By drilling down into the data, you might see the company is in a more competitive situation in Germany. Or that you just don’t have the right resellers for that program.
From there you can act – By giving additional discounts in Germany to get traction, or deciding to recruit additional resellers. With access to this data, you can watch the performance for the next cycle. Doing this across verticals or product sets, instead of geography, is just as easy.
Being Both Proactive and Reactive
Some of the competitive advantage a channel program delivers is around time to market. To be competitive, you need to be able to be both proactive and reactive. If you want to launch a program, you can’t wait weeks or months – you’ve got a certain time to hit the market. But if you rely on a traditional IT model to deliver a program, it can take months if not longer. By which time the opportunity may have eroded.
Let’s look at being proactive. Specialists like Channel Mechanics deliver a platform as a service. This gives vendors the capability to ‘spin on a dime’.
For example, if a rival vendor is in the process of acquiring another company, it is not uncommon to go after their business while they’re distracted. But these competitive takeouts need to be done extremely quickly before the news gets out. The key is being able to enable and incentivize your resellers to go after those customers.
And why do you need to be reactive? Because if your competitors launch a price initiative in the market, you need to be able to react to that quickly. If it takes weeks, you’re going to lose market share – and once you lose it, it’s always much harder to win it back.
A channel partner program can be your biggest advantage when building business in a competitive market. Why? Because at the end of the day, time to market is time to revenue.
This post was originally published on the Channel Mechanics blog.