Building a SaaS Channel 101 – Part Six

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Building a SaaS Channel 101 – Part Six

Taking the Next Step with your Channel Marketing Strategy

If you are ready to take that next step with your SaaS channel strategy then the first thing that you need to do is consider your short term and your long-term goals. At the end of the day, the channel strategy that you have is not a machine and you can’t just turn it off and on whenever you need to make a return. It’s an ecosystem that will continue to grow and develop over time. As a channel champion, it is your job to make sure that your teammates are working efficiently across all of your departments. This helps everyone to be on the same page and it also stops people from making assumptions about the performance of the team. You can also help your teammates to understand the realistic expectations that are present.

Of course, you want to set your goal and get it done, but channel trends are complex. You could even go as far to say that they are moving targets. For this reason, you need to adjust your sights when your program is underway and you also need to make sure that you understand the complexity of the strategy you have so everyone is on the same page.

When you do encourage your team to work cross-functionally, you can help everyone to be on the same page throughout the whole process.

Partner Recruitment Goals

Normally your recruitment goals will be based on hitting the right quota. In addition to this, your goals are also set with a vertical tier. If you want to measure your recruitment success then you could measure the cost to recruit a new partner. This includes your partner pitch and even the way that you test your new recruitment. Think about it, are you doing everything you can to perform well with the metrics you have? Are the barriers to entry low? Do you utilise different methods of recruitment? How long does it take you to sign a new partner? All of these are measurable metrics and you should always do everything you can to make sure that you utilise and track them properly.

Company Infrastructure

The second phase of your development is understanding the fact that a lot of your focus is on assessing your organisation’s ability to integrate and sustain a channel program. You will need to take a hard look at the people who you work with, the system you have in place and even your ability to maintain the program you have. It doesn’t matter whether you are wanting to grow your program or whether you want to evolve the structure that you have, because you need to do everything you can to support the needs of your resources. If you don’t do this then you will be setting yourself up for failure.

Sales and Reporting

When you invest in a value-added channel model, through various incentives, you’ll find that these do play a role and they are usually not the typical focus of the compensation conversation. When you have a look at the traditional software reseller scenario, you’ll find that the reseller makes their money upfront however this is only done one time. When you have a SaaS VAR model then the value lies within the ability to help the business grow by selling additional services.

The Economics of It All

It doesn’t matter what type of compensation you choose, because if you want to be able to provide the economics of the model you have or even for your company partners then you need to look at the economics of your company model. When you have hired a channel account manager you then need to validate that the economics can work across a large scale. This includes your sales, training, services and even development. A lot of experts will warn you against jumpstarting your program aggressively and this is especially the case if you have a reduced rate. This may seem like a good way for you to obtain a good critical mass but it will also create channel conflict for you as well. It will cause you real issues with your long-term consequences. In other cases, SaaS companies choose to undercut their resellers and they even steal deals from their partners.

At the end of the day, you need to make sure that you have some alternative solutions in place in case this happens and you also need to make sure that you do everything you can to be prepared if you need to facilitate a coup with your competitor. Your channel model needs to be fair and you also need to make sure that it is equitable for all of the parties who are involved.  There are a lot of different ways in which you can avoid a conflict with your sales channel marketing and this ultimately depends on the type of situation that you are in. For example, if you are worried about sales reps undercutting the channels that you have then you may want to change your pricing structure. This will give you the chance to open up discounts that are specific to your channel and you can also fix a price point for your sales. You can compensate your internal sales and this means that it won’t make any difference to the commissions. It doesn’t matter whether the sale you have goes through the channel or whether it goes direct. You can even take this chance to offer your direct reps the chance to gain additional incentive when making channel sales, so you know that you won’t have any problems there.

If you would like to find out more about channel marketing or how it can help you then all you have to do is contact me today. I would be more than happy to work with you to support you with the channel program you have while also giving you the support you need with your business and your upcoming endeavours.

Did you miss the last post then read it below.

Part Five

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