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Best Practices for Building a Channel Partner Program 

Building a channel partner program isn’t as intimidating as it may seem. In this blog, we will cover exactly what a channel partner program is and who can benefit from offering one. We have also included 5 easy steps to help you build a successful partner program.  

What is a Channel Partner Program and who is in it? 

A channel partner program is put into place by a company (for the purposes of this blog, we will assume this company is yours) that wants to expand its sales and product distribution without hiring more staff. The partner program is an agreement made with a third party (agent) to sell a certain product or service provided by the original company.  

It is important to note that channel partners are NOT employees of your company, even though they are selling your products and services. Channel partners can be individuals, retailers, wholesalers, resellers, distributors, or businesses. For example, John Doe can enter into a channel partner agreement as an individual while Jane Doe’s Services can enter into a channel partner agreement as a business.  

With the rise of influencers, some people even consider affiliates to be channel partners. This is because your chosen affiliate can promote your product to a new audience that you could not easily reach on your own.  

Start Building A Channel Partner Program 

In most channel partner programs, the partner (agent) will represent your product set by presenting quotes, possibly providing a demo, and in some cases will be on site during installation and turn-up at the end users location. No matter what your product set is, the question we hear frequently is, how do I start building a channel partner program? It takes a little work, but with the right plan in place, you can have and easily support a successful channel partner program. We are going to outline 5 steps to begin building your channel partner program.  

Step 1- Define Your Perfect Partner 

When looking for a partner, you need to consider how they will represent your brand. Even though they are not your employees, they will still be a “face” of your brand and products. You want to make sure that your partner presents the image you want for your brand.  

Your next step is to decide what type of channel partner you would like to work with. Would you prefer to work with individuals or businesses or both? If you choose to work with businesses, you need to decide if you would like to work with retailers, resellers, distributors, or wholesalers. If you wish to partner with individuals, decide if you prefer affiliates, agents, or brokers.  

Step 2- Contact Your Perfect Partner 

After you have defined who your perfect partner is, it’s time to contact that partner. Have a plan ready. You will need to identify what you expect from your channel partner and what they can expect from you. A mutually beneficial and clear plan – which includes a responsibility matrix, go-to-market strategy information, competitive information, defined expectations and more – will be embraced much faster than reaching out to someone unprepared. 

Step 3- Agree to Terms 

The next step is to come to an agreement. You will need to create a legal document that outlines what is expected of your channel partner and what they can expect from you. You should also include any monetary incentives that you’re planning to offer to your channel partners and requirements to earn those items. 

Step 4- Track Your Partners 

Set up a system to track how well your channel partners are doing. How many products are they selling per month? What kind of numbers should you expect from them per month, per quarter, per year? This will help your partners stay on track while allowing you to monitor their progress.  

Step 5- Create a Team 

Now that you have an agreement and a method for tracking, it’s time to build a great relationship with them. You should offer them all the tools they need to be successful – product slicks, webinars, how-to videos, PowerPoint presentations, FAQ pages, etc.   

You should build up your channel partner’s confidence, lend an ear when they need to discuss issues, and congratulate them when they have successes. As you build a great relationship with your channel partners, they will undoubtedly want to continue with the partnership.  

Learning More About Building a Channel Partner Program 

If you would like to learn more about building a channel partner program, the experts at P2P can help. We will leverage our wealth of knowledge to help our clients build their businesses and business relationships. Contact P2P today at info@engagep2p.com or by calling 484-820-5700, so we can give you the leg up you need for a successful channel partner program. 

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