Navigating incentives and benefits in partner programmes can be overwhelming for those new to programmes or even established members. However, knowing what programmes exist and who to ask to participate in them makes it possible to reap partner benefits and leverage these programs to their full extent. It’s not only about being informed and educated about programmes but also about realising the potential partner programmes can bring to the growth and future of your business.
What to look for when selecting a vendor:
Market leadership and breadth of portfolio
First, look at choosing a vendor with market leading technology. Select one, with good breadth in their portfolio. The cost of doing business with one rather than multiple vendors is an attractive value proposition to both your customers and you. Standardising reduces complexity and helps you get more out of your partner relationship. It can mean better purchasing power, less systems and processes to learn or access to benefits that scale based on your investment.
Scaling benefits with investment
In addition, find a vendor who can help you differentiate yourself in the market based on your expertise and level of investment. Consider this like you would customer loyalty schemes: the more you invest the more benefits you reap. Look for a vendor who scales your benefits with your level of investment.
Key questions to ask when selecting a vendor:
Navigating the benefits for maximum value
A broad range of tools and resources are available in most partner programmes, with vendors investing in training and enablement in particular. This can be complex and knowing where to start and how to take advantage of these benefits can be quite overwhelming if you’re new to a programme.
When looking at training offered through programmes, it’s essential to ask:
Generating business leads
The key reason for partnering with a vendor is to expand your business opportunities and better service your customers. Similarly for vendors, the channel helps them to reach new markets and service more customers. It’s a mutually reciprocal relationship. Therefore engagement with the sales team is critical to success.
Before looking to create leads, make sure you’re trained up and enabled.
And understand the unique value proposition you and the vendor present to your customer. Be proactive in networking with your vendor contacts and find opportunities to collaborate for mutual success in customer accounts. In addition, find out what benefits are available to you through the vendor’s marketing programmes. These might include access to marketing development funds, free marketing tools or programmes or access to a vendor-lead management process.
Key pipeline development questions to ask your vendor:
There are a range of financial benefits available through partner programmes. Volume rebate programmes are generally available to highly invested partners and deal registration rebates may offer additional margin or profitability opportunities. Find out how rebates work within your specific partner progamme.
In addition, ask what kinds of incentives there are for individuals. Many financial incentives are geared to companies, but a successful business will ensure their field team is being rewarded to achieve a shared objective. Understand incentives available for the individual stakeholders in your organisation.
Key financial questions to ask:
Finally, when selecting a vendor to partner with, it’s important to look at what support they provide and how to access it. Also, consider your medium- to long-term strategy and ask what support is available to those who have a long-term relationship with the vendor. Remember support is not limited to programme benefits or access to an account manager. Find out how the vendor promotes their partnerships both internally and externally, and where their channel strategy fits in relation to their company strategy and culture.
Key questions to ask about support:
The vendor landscape can be complex, especially to those new to the industry. However, partner programme benefits can give your business a great advantage in the market. Select a good vendor with a wide portfolio and a strong channel culture; find out about the training and resources offered; look at how your vendor will work with you on potential business opportunities and find out how your vendor’s profitability programs work. Success is all about capitalising on the benefits available to you and ensuring you get the most out of your investment, so you can focus on servicing your customers and growing your business.