SaaS: Crafting Your Strategy
When you have a Saas strategy in place, you need to do everything you can to show your partners the bigger picture but you also need to try and understand the value of what you are being offered as well. Sometimes it may be to your advantage that you make less money on an initial sale so that you can process that sale through your channel, but at the end of the day, why would you intentionally reduce your profit by just passing that deal onto a partner?
Ultimately, because it is an investment. You are investing in the channel relationship that you have so you can get more value from it in the long run. It is helpful to keep the success of your customer in mind. By researching and building a strong channel, you can then begin to experience all of the success that it has to offer but there are so many different parts involved. Even though you have these challenges, you still need to make sure that you understand the potential benefits. If you do have a good channel strategy then the benefits will certainly repay the effort that you have put in and it can be a successful foundation for you to build on as well.
Your Channel Team
It doesn’t matter whether you are working with one person or whether you are working with 100 different people, because there are some practices that you need to consider when it comes to managing your own channel. If you want to try and better your chances of success with your marketing team then choose the people who you work with carefully. Good channel partners will have the ability to cross-function. You may find that your channel program starts out small and you may even find that it is an extension of your sales operation, but it is a good idea for you to take a very cross-functional approach from the start. This is the only way you can make sure that your program is going to survive.
The next thing that you need to do is make sure that your company can offer you some buy-in support. When you look at the typical constraints of an expansion range SaaS company you will find that the efforts to develop that program tend to come in different parts. If you do not have a comprehensive strategy then you will find it incredibly difficult to garner any support and this is especially the case if you have a successful program in your sights.
When you look at things from an organisational point of view, you will find that your head of channel should always report to the CEO and that they should be on an executive committee as well if possible. The level of access and influence is very import because every decision that a leader makes will really impact the partners.
Even though you don’t need to build, or engage in a team straight away, there are a couple of things that you need to think about when you do assemble your team. For example, a lot of people believe that if you expect your inside sales representatives to transition then you have another thing coming. There are a lot of different mindsets when it comes to long-term building efforts. Sales people who are more experienced in direct sales will prefer to have more control and they will also want to see faster results as well. This comes from directly dealing with the customer.
In contrast to this, channel sales people will work in the opposite way. Their patience will really be rewarded because they know that if they wait then the rewards will be even greater.
In addition to this, a lot of people are adamant that the head of sales should be committed to the program that is in place. This is because you need a leader who wants to see the program for what it is as well as understanding any difficult moments you may experience in the early days. You may hand off a lead to one of your channel partners and they might mess the whole thing up. If you stick with them during this time then you have someone who is ultimately going to be committed to your own long term vision. With the head of sales, you have to be able to rely on their skills so you can trust them to manage the rest of the team while also providing the right training.
Next, you need to make sure that you specialise part of the business and the partners. For example, Firas Raouf works with a range of partners and in his own SaaS company he sells marketing tools. He uses some of the software internally and he also has other people to manage the software on his behalf in varying levels of detail. For this situation, Raouf recommends assigning support based on the partner role, whether it is marketing, sales or even services, because every situation is different and you need to treat each one as such.
So as you can see, channel programs can be difficult and it also takes a lot of time to be able to assign the right roles to the right people. If you have any questions about your own channel marketing or if you would like to find out if you can get some additional help and support then I would be more than happy to help you with that.
Missed Part Four ? Click below to read about “How you can start to Define your Channel Strategy”Part Four