Building and Developing your Channel Strategy
There is no question about it. Even the most simple of channel strategy programs have a lot of different parts so it is important that you design and develop one that has the right framework as well as making sure that your model is as solid as it can possibly be. We’re going to be taking a look at some of the key questions that are commonly asked when building a channel strategy while also building a strategy that comes with all of the right functional details.
Do You Need Channel Marketing if you have a SaaS Company?
The first question that we’ll be looking at is whether or not a channel program makes sense for your SaaS company. Of course, there are certain situations where you need to assess the criteria while making sure that you are not more suited to a mixed sales model. Once you have been trained then your channel partners can work with you to help you to get your business up and running and they can also help you to free up your internal resources.
The whole process is really simple. Resellers will not be able to sell your product half as well as you do, so if you have an indirect sales process then you won’t be as effective in this. If you have a product that is in a stable state then frequent changes to your software, whether you are fixing bugs, adding features or anything else of the sort will be time consuming. For this reason, you shouldn’t engage your partners unless you have a product that is completely stable so you can avoid these types of updates.
Lastly, if you have a software that supports the function that your customers then go on to outsource, then you may find that the VAR (Value Added Reseller) channel model is more suited to you. There are plenty of SaaS channel models that are built on the services of a partner who already fill a functional role that is then supported by your own software.
Your Sales Model
You need to strengthen your sales model internally before you go on to teach other channel partners who they are going to replicate that model. You will need to make your first sale directly or at least in association with a partner. This will help you to better understand the nuances about the messaging process, the market and even your own sales process.
If you are driving a lot of revenue, or at least £12 million then this is a good indicator that you have built up enough equity in order to drive for a partner channel. In addition to this, if you have a ready-made channel then this is very useful and you should focus on this rather than going out to find your own channel. Larger and even more established companies have all of the time and even the funding they need but if you’re a start-up then you may want to take the VAR approach to your channel instead.
What’s Better- Bootstrapping or Planning?
This is a trick question, to say the least. The truth is that your SaaS channel will probably employ research and designs so that it can adapt to any curve balls that might come your way. As your channel goes on to develop however, the process will probably demonstrate the value of the attributes that you have. You also need to focus on building your program around reality.
After all, you don’t want to put too much stock in the first assumptions that you have. You’ll want to go to the source and talk with the people who you are trying to work with. Find out why they are struggling and find a way so that you can help them. You may also want to interview your customers and your potential partners as well and this is a great way for you to make sure that you are getting a clear idea of who you want to work with and how they are going to help you to build your business. Of course, it is very important that you listen to your audience and you will also need to make sure that you understand the large difference between channel development and even channel execution as well.
During the development, you will need to focus on listening and confirming so you can then go on to understand what your audience needs. At the end of the day, you can never do enough research when the time does come for you to launch a channel program. The end result that you’re looking for is a very polished and very professional program. You’ll want to invest a lot of time into talking with your partners so that you can trust them while also being serious about going into business with them.
While your first channel program doesn’t have to be 100% there are some things that you do need to get right from the get-go. The first thing that you have to do is make sure that you have an outline of the program as well as understanding any framework that might be present on a contractual basis. As soon as you start to see success with your own story, you need to do everything you can to make sure that you are diligent in your approach to your own finances as well as making sure that you are doing everything you can to get some additional resources as well. If you don’t then you run the risk of missing an opportunity.
Of course, if you have any questions about your channel marketing or if you would like to find out more then all you have to do is get in touch with us today to find out if I can help you. I’m an expert in the field when it comes to channel marketing and I’m here to help you with whatever you need.