69 Questions to Jump Start Your Channel Partner Brain

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69 QUESTIONS your CHANNEL PARTNER BRAIN Breakthrough Business Solutions If you sell entirely or partially through a distribution channel – and by distribution channel I mean distributors, channel partners, resellers, system integrators, value added resellers --it comes with its own set of challenges. One of the big challenge is of course getting the Channel Partner’s attention. Most of the successful distributors carry many different product lines and therefore inevitably, a principal’s succe
  69 QUESTIONS your  CHANNEL  PARTNER BRAIN   Breakthrough Business Solutions    If you sell entirely or partially through a distribution channel – and bydistribution channel I mean distributors, channel partners, resellers,system integrators, value added resellers --it comes with its own set of challenges.One of the big challenge is of course getting the Channel Partner’sattention. Most of the successful distributors carry many different productlines and therefore inevitably, a principal’s success hinges on its ability tobreak through all the clutter, demonstrate their superiority and, over time,grow a partner’s share-of-mind (and share-of-wallet).Tall order …But notimpossible . Breaking through though is rarely the result of a big budget, anew product announcement or higher margin to the channel partner.Usually, it’s a matter of thinking a certain way about Channel Partners andfollow- through execution. The list below is meant to stimulate the“Channel partner portion” of the brain.Don’t just answer the questions! Rather carefully consider your answers.Have you made unrealistic assumptions? Will your own sales andmarketing team members answer each question in the same way? If youand your team aren’t on the same page, how do you expect your ChannelPartners to follow your lead?    1.   What are your channel partners’ biggest challenges? Where haveyou incorporated this understanding into your internal and channeltraining materials? 2.   Can you describe your PERFECT Channel Partner? 3.   Your WORST Channel Partner? 4.   Can you describe your PERFECT customer? How have youcommunicated this to your Channel Partners? What format? When? 5.   Your WORST customer? How have you communicated this to yourChannel Partners? What format? When? 6.   What forms of motivation works best for your ChannelPartners? Cash? Travel? Point programs? One-time awards? 7.   How are you currently recognizing your Channel Partners’achievements? Do you have a formal plan or is it rather ad hoc? 8.   Can you write down the names of your top 10 Channel Partnersales executives? Have you met them? 9.   What form of training works best? In-person, online, train-the-trainer? 10.   What are the specific steps a Channel Partner needs to follow (frombeginning to end) to find, qualify, propose and close new business? 11.   What is the incentive for a Channel Partner to close business for anyof the lines they sell? 12.   How does your product enable a Channel Partner to close morebusiness for other lines they sell? In other words, do your  products enable the channel partner to sell his or her portfolio of products, or just yours? 13.   What does a Channel Partner get from you? The intangible and thetangible? If you added it all up, would you be a “buyer” of yourproducts and services if you were a Channel Partner? Why/why not? 14.   Do you expect your Channel Partners to prospect for newbusiness? Is this a realistic expectation? 15.   How many employees can name the Channel Partnersresponsible for 80% of your revenue over the last 12 months? 16.   When any of your executives travel, do they make a point of visitingChannel Partners? If so, how are you capturing the notes from theirmeetings? 17.   How much risk is involved in the selling of your products? How canyou lower it to zero? 18.   What questions do Channel Partners get most often fromcustomers? How do these questions differ from the questionsyou get directly from customers? 19.   If you had all the money, time and talent available to you, would yousell through Channel Partners? 20.   What’s the best reason for a customer to NOT do business with youor your Channel Partners? 21.   What can you teach your Channel Partners to do that would helpthem solve a chronic problem for their customers that may or maynot involve the sale of your products? 22.   Are there other services, providers, products that you canrecommend to your Channel Partners? 23.   Is there “conventional wisdom” in your industry that is just plainwrong? 24.   What things is your company NOT good at? Do your ChannelPartners understand these limitations? 25.   What one thing could any Channel Partner do (specifically) to makemoney with your product today? Skip the “it’s a long salescycle…they get paid when the deal closes”. What can they do todayto put cash in their wallets? 26.   If your answer to the above was “nothing,” go back to the drawingboard and find an activity you’d be willing to pay them to do, andthat by doing it, a channel partner would have “wired” the deal for a
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