The partner business proposition is the value the channel receives from selling your company’s products and solutions. Forming a strong partner business proposition should be an essential element to any channel recruitment effort.
Manage your partner business proposition to gain competitive advantage.
They provide the competitive filter a solution provider will use when determining which vendor they will sell and support with their customers.
Surprisingly, a large number of companies fail to develop a core competency in this area. They focus all their efforts developing a powerful customer value proposition and spend little time thinking through why a partner should sell their great product. The result is slow or lack-luster adoption by the channel, frustration within the company with the channel and sluggish success in the marketplace.
These companies need to create partner business propositions with three main elements:
- Market Momentum. The channel naturally migrates to products and services that are in high demand by their customers. A company's market momentum is composed of customer demand, market share and leadership position.
- Relationship. Partners align to vendors when they see long-term value in the relationship. Partners assess alignment based on vendor fit against their strategic objectives; the reputation, either experienced or perceived, of the potential vendor; and judge their satisfaction with engaging the vendor.
- Partner Economics. Partner economics is the financial return a partner can gain from the vendor relationship. It factors in the profits around the sale, the required investment costs and all benefits received through the relationship.
It is unusual for a single company to have strength in all areas. All companies will have soft areas within their proposition with some channel segments.
Understanding your company’s strengths and weaknesses is key. But not enough. You must also understand your competitor’s business proposition. A truly effective partner business proposition assessment benchmarks a company’s business proposition relative to its key competitors with each targeted partner segment.
This will avoid costly missteps in channel management.
- If you have poor market momentum, then you must either reposition your core offering in the marketplace or greatly enhance the economics or joint alignment to offset your market position.
- If you are recruiting solution providers with poor alignment, your targeting or messaging is ineffective and your efforts are unlikely to yield the desired results.
- If your channel economics are weak with partners but better than your competition, then running rebates or other margin programs may not add much to your business proposition, but will cost you profit.
Tuning your competitive position and conducting regular business proposition assessments is critical to driving effectiveness in your channel management.