What turns a good channel partner into a great channel partner?
Beata Wright, Unit4’s Global Head of Partner Ecosystems, believes that today partner communities are more important than ever. Because in tough times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, great partnerships exceed demand and expectation on all sides. Which right now matters.
But what makes a great partner relationship?
According to Beata, “True partnerships are based on those shared values, shared goals, alignment in terms of objectives, and proven success in the market, but takes a lot of time, energy and collaboration. ”
Successful Partnerships rely on an alignment of goals and values. The vendor and partner typically support each other by sharing and combining the vendor’s technologies and expertise with the partner’s strong local and vertical knowledge and expertise to form a powerful union.
This combined team then becomes stronger than the sum of its parts. Creating a unique and joint value proposition. With each side bringing something to the table that the other needs to succeed. All ultimately focused on customer success.
What’s in it for the partner?
It doesn’t matter if you’re a value added reseller, system integrator, distributor, there are many benefits to becoming a channel partner, and they fall into two key categories: market credibility and reach, access, and growth. The benefits these bring are:
Market credibility benefits:
- Reputation through association with a larger industry-recognized vendor
- Being able to build a competitive advantage through access to the latest technologies and products
- Recognition of expertise through relationship, training, vendor accreditation
- Becoming a trusted advisor to and conduit between vendor and customer
- Able to help customers drive transformation through all these
Reach, access, and growth:
- The vendor’s global scale can support partner expansion into new regions where the vendor already plays
- Or vice versa, the partner can use their network to help the vendor enter new markets and build successful direct sales teams
- Collaborate with and benefit from the vendor’s additional marketing support to build lead generation channels and awareness for your business and services
- Incremental revenue growth means the better the relationship, the better the margins, and the better the prospect opportunities
Are great partners born or nurtured?
The reality is, no great partnership is born great. Any relationship must be nurtured by everyone involved. True partnerships are based on shared values and success.
So it’s about how much our partners embrace the relationship and support what we can offer each other to help us both succeed.
Great partners are the most engaged; those who share their expertise and help us learn from each other.
Nurturing great partnerships
At Unit4, all partners are valued. It’s as much our responsibility to support our partners as it is theirs to support us. And this takes time and energy to make it work.
For this to work, we must share knowledge and expertise. Listen to each other and work together at all stages. It’s not simply enough to offer access to our technology and wait for commissions. A great partnership comes from having common goals focused on customer success, which provides true value. Remember, you get back what you put in.
To make this happen:
- Set ground rules up front. To ensure both sides know how the relationship will work.
- Work together to achieve goals. It’s not about signing up and then doing your own thing. It must be a collaborative effort at all stages.
- Play nice. Unit4 believes there’s room for all, and our partners are not in competition. There’s even scope for partners to work with partners. We’re all trying to achieve the same result.
- Empowerment through engagement. Unit4 believes we are responsible for empowering all our vendors to succeed and support them with whatever they need, from training to marketing. We also believe this is a two-way street and are always learning and innovating with our partners' support and expertise.
- Keep talking. Dialogue and constant communication is key to any relationship. We’re always on hand. Make sure you take advantage.
- Be as one. We treat our partners as an extension of our organization, and we encourage them to do the same.