A Partner Operations Guide is a User Manual for your partners. It is separate to your partner agreements, reward and rebate programs, and is the place your partners should go to when needing to learn about how they should conduct business with your company.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been around for decades, yet it has not fundamentally changed throughout my career. Sure, there are new bells and whistles, it can now be in the cloud and most CRM vendors are implementing it on mobile platforms, But that’s just evolution. More features and prettier interfaces are nice, but in my opinion, there are some higher-level issues at play that are poised to fundamentally change the CRM landscape.
Recently I was discussing with a Channel Manager some tactics to help a partner into an end-user account and I asked what their channel eco-system was like. I got a blank stare. Fair enough, so I explained what I meant. I got another blank stare. This article is about building a channel eco-system; what it is and how to use it.
Sometimes it may seem as if there are not enough hours in the day to get things done as a Channel Manager and Time Management can be a real issue for some. Here are my thoughts, and a few tips, on how to get on top of your available time.
When it comes to relationships with your partners, it is important to build a web of relationships at all levels within the partner organisation, not only by yourself, but with many others in your company. Rather than being the star soloist, aim to be the conductor of your own orchestra.
Some vendors have them, some don't. When done correctly they can be a powerful force for both the vendor and the partners. When done poorly, or for the wrong reasons, they can be an absolute waste of time, and actually damage relationships. If you have an Advisory Council, or are considering implementing one, this article may be of interest.
As Channel Managers, we make commitments all the time. What defines us however, is how well we keep the commitments we make. From the mundane "I'll get back to you" to the implementation and execution of strategies, your partners will notice when you keep and break your commitments. No pressure, but this will play a big part in how you are perceived as a Channel Manager.
Contact sheets sound boring. Any competent channel manager will always have updated contact sheets ready and laminated for handing out at partners. But do you have the two other contact sheets, and how often do you update them?
You probably have a few of these in your channel ... partners that add no value to your product or company, are always complaining, and tend to be ambulance-chasers, that is, they ring you about opportunities you already know about and are working on with another partner. What do you do with them?
Working out who your best partners are is something that many channel managers don't spend a lot of time on. Typically, revenue will be the only measure used, but that doesn't answer the question of who your BEST partners are; only who your LARGEST partners are. Here's a test: Ask ten people in your organisation who your best partners are. If you don't get the same answer, then you may find this article interesting.