The following is a contributed article from Jonathan Eisner, VP of partners and alliances, Sovos.
At a time when the global marketplace is more competitive than ever, partners are seeking an interactive, high-end experience full-service channel program with a high level of engagement and support. With 40% of B2B orgs saying “goodbye” to their channel program & revamping it into something bigger and better, it’s clear that the rigid tiers and categories of the past will not work in today’s channel partner ecosystem.
Why Certain Channel Programs Fail
Many channel programs are overly ambitious in their desire to gain partners but lack the investment and insight over time that is needed for success. They are built on an idea around a good product but might fail to provide the necessary knowledge, resources and support to convert potential customers We see this happen all the time with technology solution providers suddenly opening the doors to reselling and referral partners, but they haven’t provided adequate training and support, so they go through a high rate of churn with partners who leave the program without seeing any return. To avoid partner loss, programs need to meet the evolving needs of their channels.
What Do Partners Today Seek?
Today, partners would like a program that allows them to direct the shape and dimensions of their participation. The Sovos Partner Network specifically was based on how partners go to market with us. It is broader in that it goes beyond the traditional tiered program, but provides different programs designed to align with the partner’s business that fits the approach they prefer. We’ve also designed our program to offer flexibility to our partners as their business evolves. The entry point is relatively easy, allowing companies to dip their toes Into a partnership with Sovos. From there, they can continue to invest further based on mutual goals.
How to Meet Your Partner’s Expectations
To provide a “white glove treatment” to our partners, we begin by having clear goals and objectives that can be easily communicated to prospective customers. Our approach aims to make every point of engagement, whether it’s sales, marketing, education or product, easy to understand and rewarding for both parties. Offering a wide range of products across six different regions worldwide can be considered complex to many partners and end users, but we aim to make it simple and easy to use. For example, we have built out a support team to help manage the program, and we see our partners as an extension of our organization. As a result, we are dedicated to providing them with the tools and resources they need to be successful.
We support all our partners in several ways. For example, for our more strategic partners, we have dedicated partner account managers and enable access to the product and marketing teams to help where needed. For smaller partners, we provide self-service tools and resources, like our partner portal or our resource bank, that are available to them so they can continue to grow.
Partner programs are not static. They are meant to evolve with the times, and that is what we intend to do. To encourage a successful relationship, partner programs must continue to expand as the channel grows.