No doubt the economy is more forgiving than it was a year or two ago and most Strategic Service Providers are having more sales success.
But suppliers that are strategically looking for their SSP channel partners to bring on net new customers must decide if they are pushing hard enough as well as pulling the SSPs with incentives that are effective.
It’s not always an easy conversation, but forcing the field sales team to push partners on finding net new customers is critical. If partners are not delivering in this area, it’s generally either a sign they are not capable or they do not view the supplier as strategic and are driving new customers to other vendors. In either case, it’s a long-term problem.
No supplier can fill out its channel partner community, especially at the SSP level, with strategic partners exclusively. But every supplier can determine which channel partners view it as strategic and adjust its push/pull incentive strategy to compensate.
Pushing partners that do see you as strategic requires quarterly business planning and helping them take advantage of MDF and other programs available to find new customers.
But it’s also worth pulling the non-strategic partners with the incentives available if they get on board and drive business your way. It’s always easier to work with partners that see you as a strategic supplier, but the non-strategic channel players often come around if your incentives around marketing, rebates and joint selling can help them truly drive more revenue, especially with new customers.
Frankly, too many suppliers are afraid to push on partners although, if it’s done properly, it generally works out positively for both. If you don’t push a bit, partners may not think you care or regard them as important. Just having the conversation around what you need to do to get them leading with your product set can wake them up to your sincere desire to do more with them.
When you push and get some interest and then follow that with an incentive that pulls them into the fold, you just might end up with a partner that is headed toward driving more revenue for itself and you as well.