Chanimal Channel Consulting Process
Following is the process used with micro channel consulting projects:
- Initial call. The first step is to call so we can briefly discuss your company, product, and objectives. If we see a good enough fit, we proceed to the Analysis call.
- Analysis call. The second step is to conduct a phone interview to evaluate your objectives, financing, budgets, organization, strategy, product, pricing, placement and promotions. We are looking for capabilities and holes that can be fixed to meet your objectives and move to the next level. This meeting does not cost you anything and typically takes 90 to 120 minutes–under NDA. Within this meeting, we can discuss if and how I can help the team. If we agree to proceed, I then create the plan of action (usually within 2-3 hours).
- Plan of Action. The third step is to create a high and detailed level, sequenced plan of action that takes into account your objectives (build a channel, increase sell-through, train staff, set up an affiliate program, define a product, etc.), capability (staff and budgets), current pricing, sales strategy, product road map and promotional efforts–whatever was requested within the analysis call.
- Review of Plan. The fourth step is to review the plan of action. We then determine if we believe this approach will meet our objectives. We may refine it by adding or subtracting action items so we can meet the objectives. We also determine internal capability and my level of engagement. Budget, time frames and internal capability will determine to what level of engagement I am needed. We will also consider guerrilla approaches to increase the speed and/or reduce expenses (such as interns that I can train, mentor and manage).
- Set Dates & Execute. Once we agree on the plan and approach, we jointly determine the deadlines, who will do what and execute.
- Collaboration. To facilitate good collaboration, I recommend a primary and secondary contact (in case the primary contact is unavailable), and request a short 20-30 minute weekly collaboration meeting to review progress, set the immediate objectives, discuss any changes, etc.
- Ongoing Assistance. Once you are part of the micro consulting program you are welcome to call anytime (I’ll call back if I’m on the line), or e-mail anytime with any question–or re-direct me to work on anything outside of the plan if needed. You will have full access to my experience, counsel, and network.
- Billing. The monthly retainer should be sent once we have reviewed the plan and agreed on the level of engagement. I do not have the bandwidth to deal with accounts receivable (especially from the larger companies that push for net 60), so the retainer amount should be sent at the beginning of each month of engagement. Any amounts over the fixed amount have to be pre-approved by you, and are due 14 days from receipt.
“I had no idea how deep Ted could go with analyzing our existing channel program and strategy in under one month’s time. The result I received was a highly detailed action plan that was easy to prioritize and execute.
His mission is NOT to lead you into longer and more expensive engagements but to deliver value in any time period you hire him. Ted under promised and over delivered for me. His repeatable processes, templates, and deep experience enable him to cover more ground faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.”
Don Gracy, VP Bus Dev, PTC
“He combines his extensive knowledge and experience with playbook style templates for quickly creating a marketing plan that is tailored specifically for the needs of any tech company. Finally, the best part is that he then helps in systematically executing on that plan so his clients can see real results.”
Deepak Singh, CEO, AccuProcess
Detailed Process for Creating a Reseller Program
I often get questions about the steps that go into creating a reseller program on a consulting project. Following are the steps and what you get when we engage:
The Micro Consulting does not have fixed deliverables (i.e. a “completed” reseller program, 50 guaranteed resellers on board, etc.) especially because we cannot control if the company will complete their deliverables, show up for meetings or if the resellers will like the product (but we usually review that before we even agree to help). Instead, we allocate the time it takes to get these items completed “with” the team–we usually meet 2-3 times per week (depending on what program you decide) to knock all this out.
NOTE: The list of things to do may appear daunting—but EVERYTHING is documented, there are templates and samples and handholding all along the way and it is completed with team members who have built HUNDREDS of reseller programs (including some of the most successful programs in the world (from single-person start-ups to the world’s largest high tech companies (Microsoft, Intel, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Citrix, etc.—several of which started just as small), we can take you through everything very quickly and efficiency (hours, days and weeks – versus months or years trying to do it yourself.
Here is what we can typically accomplish as a group:
Phase I – Define and Setup your Reseller Program
- DEFINE your reseller program. Review every element of the best-in-class reseller programs with the team to help determine which features go into your partner program (what goes in the portal (PowerPoint specifically for a reseller (has a specific format), competitive matrix, market information, collateral, testimonials, etc.), what kind of support and training will be needed (product training, NFR, pre-sales support, online RMA/System Configurator, annual partner meeting, certification program, etc.), what kind of lead generation and sales assistance your program would need (pre-qualified leads, deal registration, bid desk, reseller locator, NFR access, joint promotions), your program requirements (register, qualifications, plan of action, agreement, quotas and frequency), and the reseller experience (pre-sign up phone, grid of program details, east of registration, auto-response email, perceived lead gen capability, etc.).This usually only takes an hour–to review every element as part of the channel education and we decide together which is needed now, later, or never.
- Get your portal setup (the container to house your collateral, policies, etc. for your partners). If you host it–then it is included as part of your program (a WordPress site that takes about 10 minutes to clone and 35 minutes to customize (including DETAILED instructions which also serve to teach you the features of your program). No cost if you host it on your servers (we have ALL the details), or a nominal cost if you wish to use a similar portal hosted by SaaSMAX. A basic Partner Relationship Manager (PRM) costs a minimum of $6,000 – $20,000 per year—so the portal and systems alone are worth more than the typical cost of the engagement (and it is included for free if you self-host).
- Setup All your policies. Based on the elements decided in step one, we then review and customize EVERY partner policy live (editing your portal content during the review). This includes the description of your portal (public-facing) with the elements, your program grid, etc., plus finalizing the reseller agreement, the lead policy, the NFR policy, the deal registration policy, your initial jump start promotion, MDF/Co-op policy (as applicable), and ALL of the content on all 53 pages of the typical portal. This usually takes 2-3 hours (and is completed in our regular meetings).
- Work on portal content. We provide templates, samples, and instructions and work with you to write and proof any of the content needed to populate the portal. This typically includes market info, competitive analysis (3rd most common item requested), re-purpose the partner selling PowerPoint, creating the price list, determining your reseller margins (including how to pay, who pays who, when to pay, etc.), put the link to the portal and the locator on your website and discuss any provisioning system. There might be other missing content, but this is identified in step 1. If your value proposition is not dead obvious (3-5 reasons why a prospect would be a fool not to purchase), we may have to review the “persuasive format” and help re-organize your value proposition (main argument) since the reseller MUST see this differentiation of they will NOT come on board (some have a screening team to filter vendors). We then proof the portal, and ALL forms and review the processes with the team. This is the longest stage but is completely dependent on what your program needs and what you already have completed (and whether it can be re-purposed for the partners (much can)). We address everything holistically (whatever it takes to get this completed). This can range from 1-4 weeks (completely dependent on what you have done and who can help).
- Complete recruiting content. Determine your CRM systems for partner follow-up, review your email system for the recruiting campaign, talk about the database and how to set it up, create the recruiting email (we provide samples, and templates and help write/proof), determine when the campaign will start, the 3 step follow up process, who will manage, populate the reseller follow-up worksheet, check the email formats (spacing, check for spam), create the orientation demo script, create the product demo script (PDF – add to portal), introduce you to the reseller follow-up worksheet, determine who will help resellers with the orientation (have a detailed “Orientation for a New Channel Person” document to spin up to speed–or leverage an intern), finalize the reseller approval email.
Phase II – Recruiting
- Send the recruiting email. Start the initial email campaign – 3 part email series (sent 3 days apart).
- Complete reseller templates. During the periods between emails, we put together the reseller templates– especially the sample landing page that is optimized for SEO (since your partners will use this content to put your product on their website), plus the reseller email template (to announce they carry the product to their existing prospect database). We also complete the marketing meeting agenda. These will be used as soon as we start the enablement phase.
- Start to field reseller inquiries. Respond to calls and emails from resellers, plus review reseller applications, send approval emails, and setup orientation meetings.
- Target the first 10 resellers. We try to get the initial 10 resellers ASAP. These are the ones we practice on to confirm they have everything they need to sell and support the product, that our commission provisioning is set up, and to field and get the answers to most of the questions we will typically see–so we are ready for more advanced recruiting.
- Turn on matchmaking. This is when we turn on the matchmaking (if part of your program). We can create the filters matched to your exact profile to match you with one of the 83,000 resellers we have in our databases. You are then introduced to these partners systematically (according to your specific run rate). These often become some of your strongest partners.
- Review and execute ongoing recruiting approaches. We discuss affiliates, alliances (usually where the biggest group of partners comes on board), direct response campaigns, telemarketing, etc. By this time most companies have partners and they start to produce revenue (that helps pay for ongoing recruiting–but we start with the campaigns that have little to no cost). This is the rinse-and-repeat stage where a program can scale to hundreds and even thousands of partners. Fortunately, the channel is THE great multiplier and can be scaled, and always produces the highest ROI for time and budget spent.
Phase III – Enablement
- Orientation. All new resellers go through the orientation meeting. This typically lasts one hour and covers an overview of the portal (so we can review the policies and the content we created for them), a product demo (similar to the one a customer might see–so they get a model of how that works), we explain how they place an order and review any special promotions (we usually recommend a “jump-start” margin amount within the first 90 days–so they have an incentive to start selling immediately (and to help cover their opportunity cost of picking up a new product (learning instead of selling). We never leave the meeting without setting up the next meeting (which is our marketing meeting).
- Marketing Meeting. We set this up within 2-3 days of the orientation meeting. In this meeting, we ask and find out how they make money, what additional services they provide (and note it in our database as we learn about their capabilities for potential future referrals), what promotions have worked for them previously, and set up the first 90 day promotions they will do (one per month) to promote the product. The top three things we put on this list become their initial marketing plan.
- Ongoing marketing help. We meet with them on the dates within their plan and provide the SEO template for the product on their site, later the email template (to introduce the product), and any other promotions we identified in our meeting.
- Newsletter. We provide the templates and show samples for the partner newsletter and usually send out the first newsletter to get it started. This will be ongoing to stay in contact with the partners.
- Thank you emails. We provide the template and the process to ensure we thank and track the resellers for their first two sales—they really appreciate that we even notice.
Ongoing – Channel Consulting Meetings for Later
- Set Quotas per Level. When the resellers have made enough sales, we usually re-group to review the process to set the quotas (we modify the templates and include instructions). We don’t do it in advance since we have no idea how much your partners might sell without some history.
- Setup Certification. As we interact with the partners we will compile the most common problems and questions and start on our training materials so we can use it for certification.
- Motivation. We would typically work with your internal team to train the person running the channel. We would also review and help you consider SPIFFs, contests, and other approaches that keep the channel motivated.
- Partner Conference. The channel is filled with salespeople who love recognition, need to be trained, and like feeling like part of a bigger team–so we usually set up an annual partner conference. The first one is typically a ½ day webinar, but can later expand to an on-site multi-day event—but this is further along when the channel has been developed.
- Certification. We provide a complete certification to train all existing and new team members on how to run a channel. Prices and availability are listed on the Website.
Master Plan of Action
All of these steps are typically outlined in excruciating detail within the Master Plan which is the first item completed at the start of the engagement—it shows ALL the steps and makes it very easy to see where we are in the process, easy for new team members to get up to speed and learn each of the steps. It is one of the most strategic and tactical documents you ever receive (the same plan format used to launch Netscape, American Online, division at GE, Motorola, and other top-selling products). All part of the channel consulting process.
We provide dozens of industry best-practice templates, samples and instructions for all stages of the reseller program. Below are examples of some of the content that is part of a typical program:
- PowerPoint Reseller Template – not the same as your typical in-house presentation.
- Agenda for Partner Marketing Plan meeting – sample/template
- Channel portal copy – all the copy, policies, and agreements to populate your portal
- Channel Manager Interview Questions – when you hit the stage when you need to hire a full-time channel person
- Roles of the Channel Team – so you can see how channel marketing, channel sales, and direct sales interact.
- Reseller Quiz for NFRs (sample/template)
- Reseller Database Import Instructions
- Defining Your Partner Program – a worksheet that shows all elements of the program
- Follow Up – Orientation Email – to get your partners to attend the orientation
- How to Setup the Reseller Portal (8 pages of detailed instructions)
- Portal Demo Script – shows what you should cover during your orientation
- Product Demo Script (template, samples, instructions)
- Reseller Approval Email (template) – list levels, orientation, login instructions
- Reseller List – Sources for databases
- Reseller Promotions Pick List – to help jumpstart your reseller promos
- Reseller Landing Page – template/sample
- Reseller Product Introduction Email – for resellers to introduce the product
- Partner Follow-Up Worksheet – contains the complete workflow for working with partners
- Partner Program Checklist – a checklist for all the channel setup, along with avg times to complete
- How to Determine Margins – how much, who pays who, when to pay, etc.
- Phone Dialogue to Recruit Resellers
- Orientation Checklist for a New Channel Person – for when you have to spin someone new up on the channel (terminology, what works, what doesn’t, routes to outside sources)
- Reseller Sign-Up Process – step-by-step setup within the portal
- Market Information Template & Samples – what a reseller needs to know about your market space
- Download Email Response & Lead Schedule – 7-step process from downloads to sending the leads to your partners
- Plus MUCH more
Again, there are a lot of elements to a partner program—but it can be addressed meeting-by-meeting with lots of samples and templates to make it come together fast (our record – engagement to recruiting – 10 hours). Click HERE to see testimonials.