Tips on How to Sell Anywhere With a Channel Mindset
I’ve been working as the Global Head of Channels & International Carriers at Cradlepoint for one month now. As a purely channel company, Cradlepoint offers a unique insight into what the channel can (and should) look like when navigated with a partner-focused mindset.
Part of my job is looking at how Cradlepoint can continue to expand its global enterprise through the channel. To get into this mindset, I’ve compiled a few pointers for the “100% channel salesman,” based on my experience in previous roles and Cradlepoint’s successful global strategy.
I hope you find them useful!
1) Knowledge is power; invest time as well as money.
Finding the right partner is crucial for an effective channel strategy. You should start by understanding any potential partners’ DNA and GTM (Go-To-Market) imperative. Define what “Good” looks like in a partner’s make-up and customer/target base. Where do you want to expand? Which companies operate in these target regions? Define the criteria a partner needs to meet to have an effective channel relationship with you. Create a shortlist based on these questions and work from there. When you’ve carried out this research, this information will give you great insight into the synergy which may or may not exist between you and potential partner companies.
After you’ve made your shortlist and have established a relationship with a partner, it’s wise to take the time to really understand their targets and ensure you are both in sync. You want to become an extension of your partner’s sales GTM to ensure you’re a large contributor to their turnover and profit. That’s the beauty of the channel model — what you put in you will receive in turn — so make sure you’re investing more than just money, invest your time as well.
2) Educate, enable and measure.
Education and enablement is not a “do-once” activity; it evolves over time and is a continual process. There shouldn’t be any fear of oversharing — your goal is to make your partners as adept at selling your product as you are. They cannot do this successfully without the same education on product and sales tactics that you received. The more you invest in your partners’ success, the more success they will bring you.
Cradlepoint’s solution is a partner-education programme called “Cradlepoint University.” This was created to give our partners access to high-quality training programmes for both technical and sales staff. 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.
There are three levels of accreditation available to Cradlepoint partners:
There are two branches of the Associate level: Certified Sales Associate and the Certified Network Associate. The Certified Sales Associate course prepares partners to begin selling Cradlepoint solutions and introduces them to the devices and services we offer. The Certified Network Associate course introduces students to the basic configuration, management, and monitoring principles of Cradlepoint solutions.
The Network Professional course contains information about the advanced configuration, management, and monitoring of Cradlepoint solutions, including more details on routing protocols, VPNs, security, third-party applications, the NetCloud Platform, and WiFi configuration.
Our Network Expert level covers the way that Cradlepoint devices are configured, as well as the networking concepts that are important in Cradlepoint solutions. On completion of the Expert level accreditation, graduates come away knowing how to select, configure, install, and manage all Cradlepoint products and services.
It’s programmes like these that make for successful channel strategy. Educate and enable = global success!
Channel “superstars” treat partner business and marketing plans as a critical need and not just as a nice-to-have. They work jointly with each of their partners/potential partners to develop plans that document the goals and objectives of the partnership, how those goals are going to be surpassed, and regularly review all plans with all partners to monitor progress and make any required adjustments.
3) Know your partner’s strengths (and weaknesses).
Where certain partners may have strengths, others may have weaknesses. Use this knowledge to improve education and enablement and find opportunities that are best suited to each partners’ strengths. For example, there may not be the demand for certain products in the Western region of Europe as there is in the USA… strategise accordingly and use local partners to their best advantage.
I hope you found these small pointers useful. I’m enjoying my new role at Cradlepoint so far and I’m looking forward to more opportunities for channel growth and expansion. When partner relationships are nurtured correctly, the sky is the limit!
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