Even though IQBlade is essentially a software company, Ben and I still get involved in a LOT of discussions about the launch plans for new solutions through the channel.
Here are my Top Tips for maximising the chances of success. There are only 3 of them, but they require a LOT of thought and quite a bit of effort. If you get through these and want more, just drop me a line.
1) You need 5 (FIVE!!) Value Propositions Ready!
Your company wouldn’t have got this far without a reasonable value prop for end users (i.e. our solution is great because it will help you to do X or save you Y) so you are at least 20% of the way there already!
However, to get that value prop in front of that end-user you first need to sell to the Execs and Salespeople in Distribution and Execs and Salespeople working for Channel Partners.
How do you motivate them?
Is the Effort to Return Ratio going to be attractive enough for them?
Be honest about whether you are over-selling or under-selling the opportunity because you WILL be found out. Whilst they may not tell you to your face, the results will demonstrate whether you got the balance right.
2) Do you have the right Partners?
The Partners who got you where you are today might not be the ones to take you where you need to be tomorrow.
Whilst you were addressing point 1, you will have considered what kind of end-user you were targeting with your value prop. Once you know their sector, size, location, challenges etc you should be able to build a picture of your ideal Channel Partner.
Do they need to be based in particular place, address certain sectors, have certain skills or services, present themselves a certain way etc?
If you have more than 20 Partners can you guarantee that you know enough detail about all of them to be able to assess whether they meet your new criteria?
3) Is the GTM Plan detailed enough and communicated to the right people?
The Go To Market Plan should explain who is doing each of these essential tasks and what support (practical or financial) is available from the other stakeholders:
- Channel Training: Technical, Sales & Operational
- Marketing: Channel & End-User, Inbound & Outbound
- End User Sales
- Order Processing & Invoicing Process
- Support Renewal
- Account Management (follow on sales)