Channel Strategy in Presales

Published on: September 9th, 2021
Updated on: September 28th, 2021

Implementing a channel sales strategy requires research and planning. To adopt more channels, Sales Leaders and the sales team evaluate. They do so by signing up with which partner and reseller companies match their product and market expertise. The sales engineers work with those channels when a customer engagement starts. Channel SEs may participate in demos and POC. They may also train the resellers  to help them present before a qualified prospect.

The following are a few of the aspects to look for while finding “an ideal partner”:

  1. Product relevance
  2. Market alignment
  3. Technical expertise
  4. Training requirements

Product relevance- Identifying the right channel

It is important to consider the state of the enterprise, product, and sales process before identifying a channel. Channel SEs can help the sales team to identify the right partner from a technology perspective. 

They train the channel sales team on how to sell the product. Channel SEs help them build knowledge about the product. They further enable them to reach new clients and enhance the value of their products or services.

Market Alignment- How a partner aligns with a company’s technology

Technology partnerships offer a great way to obtain access to markets, special skills, physical assets and operational scalability. Channel SEs understands the positioning in the target market. They examine

  • How their positioning compares to the competitors
  • Why partners should invest their selling efforts on our value proposition, etc. 

The partners can align in two different ways:

  • Technological alignment
  • Cultural and business alignment

Technological Alignment

The partner usually focuses on certain technologies where they build technology expertise and sell multiple similar products. This becomes a significant advantage in terms of products positioned in the market and sold to end customers.

Cultural and Business Alignment

The key element of channel success is sharing the same goals. Channel partners should be properly positioned to understand the  culture of the end customer and how products are sold. Channel partners should also align with product companies on  metrics of success, vision, revenue goals, growth rate, etc. This strengthens the partnership with a win-win situation.

Technical expertise- Does the partner have the technical knowledge to sell the product?

Technology and knowledge are the inception points to enter a new market. Channel SEs identify how much technical knowledge a partner/reseller SE would need to sell the products. It could be a very little knowledge transfer or a great amount. The Reseller SEs should understand a product’s features and benefits from the customer’s point of view, so they can have more engaging conversations that lead to sales. This product knowledge helps them to discuss the product in detail and handle objections in real-time.

There are different types of product knowledge such as :

  • Product features
  • How to use the product
  • ROI
  • Pricing model
  • Customization possibilities
  • Product support
  • Product Roadmaps

What are the training requirements: how much work it is to enable a partner?

Channel SEs assess the capabilities of a partner, and then develop training goals and plans that will give the partner the best chance for success in the field. The “perfect” partner criteria vary from company to company, and from geo to geo. 

Empower the partners to perform

SEs may assist the channel partners with clear, comprehensive, prospect-ready product features. They can also assist with testimonials, customer examples, competitive comparisons, email templates, call scripts, meeting agendas, and objection-handling cheat sheets. Having these resources makes partners enabled for quick success. They feel more confident in presenting the solutions, and achieving quick wins.

Visibility into Partner run activities

There are two major challenges that channel SEs face working with partners:

1- Getting visibility into partner activities is challenging

2- Multiple ways of partner engagements makes it difficult to standardize the process.

Sales Engineer teams can enable the partners, provide them the visibility and structure for running POCs and other projects with platforms like Success.app. The status tracking feature of Success application excludes the manual updates on a POC. It learns from the POC data and delivers insights and analytics to make informed decisions.

Success can scale the multi-channel businesses and keeps the channel data streamlined and organized. This allows the channel SEs to keep track of customer engagement activities. The POC dashboard provides visibility into critical information across all the POCs.

Success acts as the tool to standardize the POC process across the team and partners. It also helps in growing the channel sales program and collaborating with partner SEs on demos and POCs. It automates manual data entry and follow up processes, so sales engineers can work efficiently.

Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

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