'Boots on the Ground': The Importance of Presence in the Channel

How Global Companies Can be Vast & Connected Within the Channel

A successful channel sales strategy is built on a strong foundation of partner relationships. This is why, when I got the opportunity to move from the US to Germany, I jumped at the chance. I am the DACH Region Account Manager at Cradlepoint EMEA, and I think this move has been a great opportunity to be more present with the partners I work with on a daily basis.

I and my husband moved with our son a month ago, and already I’m seeing the benefits of being as present as possible with channel partners. It’s important to have those “boots on the ground” where the action is. This doesn’t mean everyone who works with partners in EMEA should up sticks and live in Europe! (That would be taking work commitment to the next level…) However, I find it interesting how my personal move has highlighted both big and small ways we can work at supporting our channel partners.

In this blog, I want to delve a bit deeper into how global companies can be both vast and connected within the channel. Three key words here:

Empowerment

Training

Communication

Let’s start with Empowerment. What I mean by this is give your partners the power to be successful. When they succeed, you succeed. This is especially important for those partners that don’t hold the biggest accounts or have the highest performance numbers. These are the partners you want to cultivate, support and empower to sell your product. Often, these partners will also have the most potential for major growth.

Ignore the 80/20 Rule…

The Pareto Principle argues that “80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” In B2B sales, this means that only 20% of the top-performing partners are given the support, while the other 80% are virtually ignored. What this leaves us with is a big chunk of partner-potential untouched and uncultivated. That’s 80% less revenue than you could have if you gave your time, resources and attention to the whole 100%.

And how exactly do we empower our partners? By Training them to sell our product in the most effective way. For us at Cradlepoint, we call our partner-enablement scheme Cradlepoint University. It was created to give our partners access to high-quality training programmes for both technical and sales staff. With three levels of accreditation available, it’s a great example of doing all you can to provide everything your partners need to better serve their customers and increase sales performance.

Even after you have Empowered and Trained your partners to sell your product successfully, it’s important to continue an open line of Communication. There should be continual evaluation of your partner’s individual needs, training and growth. To ensure they are fully supported, you can’t just send them your product and a handbook – you have to work in tandem at growing business together.

To ensure this line of communication is continual it’s worth having a regular call with key partners to help develop the relationship, and make sure their knowledge base and sales materials are always up-to-date.

There’s a Tibetan proverb that goes something like this: “When he took time to help the man up the mountain, lo, he scaled it himself…” We need to get more excited about the potential in our partner relationships, to be just as invested in their climb as ours.

 

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