How to Setup a Partner Business Plan – to Enable Partners
I was asked the question, when trying to enable partners, “Do any of the Chanimal University courses walk through creating joint business plans? If so, which one?” But the response turned into the top three things you should do with a partner.
I am not a strong advocate of joint business plans to enable partners. Resellers don’t like to create them (and most aren’t strong in marketing, so don’t do much), vendors don’t like to read them, and partners seldom follow them.
Instead, I recommend a Marketing Plan of Action which covers ONE thing that is done per month to promote the product. If a partner has 10-15 vendors, they just can’t do much with each of them. So, to get ONE promotion per month is terrific.
1. Get the product on their website
To enable partners, you should be using an SEO-optimized page that you created. This way they can generate their own leads. Here are some samples:
- TouchPlan. Planning software for construction sites.
- CADTALK. CAD integration with ERPs.
- SuperEval. Annual reviews for school district superintendents.
- LiveHelpNow. Chat software.
- High Level Marketing. Marketing company that does SEO
One vendor that I worked with had over 4,000 partners and over 200 Channel Account Managers (CAMs). Yet only 13% of their partner had the product on their website—yet they were sending them leads. That is a travesty!
I helped them with this and a few other things…they had a $257 million DELTA increase in sales the following quarter and were shocked.
Easy Test for a “Good” Channel Manager
I have an easy way to test a “good” channel manager. If they say they have resellers in Austin, TX, then I type in their category (i.e. CRM). If their resellers don’t show up on the home page (there should be at least one of the top 3 listings) then the channel manager is NOT doing their job.
Resellers have an advantage with local SEO (think of them as getting an extra 25 points/100 for being local (type in bike shops and you see local bikes shops, not ones in a different state)—yet the channel managers are not showing their partners how to leverage this local advantage.
Plus, a local SEO website is a gift that keeps on giving—since it generates leads for the partner 24/7 (so you don’t have to send them as many leads (and they generate more leads if they are also a referral partner)).
Video – How & Why to Setup Partner Landing Page
Here is a video I use for the resellers to convince them to use the landing page (it shows several samples, including one partner that has dominated on Google and never lost the #1 Google pole position for 7 years!).
2. Send an email that announces they carry the product
They MUST have their landing page set up first, or where do they send the respondents? They should then send an email and announce a webinar—an excuse for the email. I’ve attached a few samples of actual email templates. See Chanimal Channel Kit.
3. Get prospects to a webinar
The reseller may have anywhere from 50 to thousands of companies they have worked with. They have the inside track and a relationship to get the prospects to attend.
Then you can give the dog and pony show, the reseller gets further exposure to the demo (although they should have a demo script in the portal) so they can get it down, and they can attend with their prospects. You present, then follow-up with them afterwards to show them how to generate a quote and close the deal.
This is a “model call” and is good training for an internal salesperson. It should be obvious, but if you do the same thing with partners that you do with internal sales you usually get the same good results. Plus, when the partners see customer interest and eventually money, they become further committed to selling your product.
Three (3) Simple Steps to Enable Partners
These three simple steps apply to small or large partners. I have only found the largest partners to even have a single person in marketing (they’re called re-sellers—not marketers)–so they really appreciate the help.
In this case, the Channel Account Manager (CAM) can come up with a detailed business plan of action to enable partners—but it is primarily a marketing plan since it concentrates on promotions.
It often includes several “rinse and repeat” activities that may extend over the entire year—but it should have something to keep the pipeline full every month.
Bypass the Fluff
This is why I usually bypass the big “fluffy” annual plan and just go with a quarterly meeting with my accounts to set up the next 3 promotions. They are bite-sized enough to knock out, and you stay closer to your accounts with more regular contact. You also change your role from a channel sales manager, to channel marketing manager (or a regional marketing manager)–unless you have both roles in your team.
I’ve only been marginally impressed with channel marketing folks that I’ve met. They often create “corporate” branding campaigns—but not pragmatic direct response pieces customized for the partner. So their stuff looks nice—but doesn’t pull.
Flip the 80/20 Ratios
These are some of the basics to enable partners that flip the industry ratios around. Most channel managers that attend the Chanimal University courses agree with the 80/20 rule when asked and say that only about 20% of their partners are producing.
In my case, I typically have over 82% of my partners producing and I spend the rest of my time getting the 18% of the non-producers up to speed (always with the first three items). It’s the block and tackle promos that always work.
Take the Course
The different Chanimal University courses cover how to do work with your partners with your a sales and marketing teams. I would always start with the Certified Channel Manager course, then you can branch into other specialties.
I hope that helps – Ted