Part 2: Managing, Motivating, and Maximizing Your Partner Basis: CAM Training

What is the ideal channel partner? There is no one right answer, and that’s okay. With the right program, personnel, and plan, solution providers, MSPs, and integrators of all sizes can add value for a tech vendor’s company. What is an ideal channel partner? This is a question tech vendors often ask. There is no right answer, and that’s okay. If you are able to manage, motivate and maximize your relationships, solution providers, MSPs and integrators can all add value to an organization.
CompTIA has created a series of training programs to help tech vendors understand the dynamics of a strong partnership base. Channel Management (CAM), Training 101 is for beginners and CAM Training 201 is for advanced companies. These certificate programs are free for CompTIA corporate members. However, they can also be purchased for a fee by non-members. Part 1 of this blog covered how to identify and cultivate channel partners. We’ll now discuss the next steps and how to set your partner business up for greater success.
One size doesn’t fit all
Tech vendors can help their partners grow in three key ways, according to Chris Phillips, senior director at CompTIA’s Industry Advisory Councils, and frequent CAM Training lecturer.
“Many companies manage many partners that fall under different categories. It is up to you to decide where your time and resources are spent. Spend it with partners who are highly productive, but also very demanding, or on partners who are less productive but not as demanding?
Phillips said that while managing and motivating partners takes patience and time, ultimately it comes down the to what is reasonable for you and your partners.
“Look for partners who make you better and help your solution look better.” Phillips stated that Phillips is looking for someone who wants to work with him. A single deal is what brings in a large percentage of the partners who end up on the partner rosters. A customer requires your product to solve a problem, so they sign up to your program to do the deal. However, they aren’t invested in you or interested in working with your company.
Phillips points out that venture capital firms do not spend the same amount of time on each business investment. The “rock stars” don’t require a lot of interaction and it’s best to automate as much as possible. They are unlikely to return much more ROI for the resources they spend. They have a track record. They are a great team. They are able to claim their bonuses and incentives. Phillips advised that you should reward them and show your love but not over-invest in time with them.
Your best option is to interact with “diamonds-in-the-rough” partners, even if they haven’t done much yet. These companies could be serving a specific geography, a vertical market or a solution that you see as a potential opportunity.
Phillips advised that you be proactive with your partners and get to know key personnel. Treat them as you would your top business partners. He said, “Coach them, help them achieve their potential.”
Although every company has a different vision of the ideal partner, attendees to CAM Training 101 chose to use the following adjectives to describe their relationship with partners: transparent, focused, partner, innovative, and engaging. (See word cloud infographic below to see more adjectives used by vendor attendees to describe their partnerships.
New Partners
Once you have identified potential partners, it is important to engage them early. You should focus on small wins that are easy to achieve and will help you gain confidence and mindshare. Phillips stated that a great start will help a partner stay involved and committed for the long-term because they will feel that they are invested in their success.
With new partners, vendors may shoulder up to 80% of the initial load in the relationship–finding deals and handholding the partner to success. This is fine, provided you have a plan to move your partner to the second phase, where the investments will be more balanced.
“Make sure they are aware that they have to know by a specific date what they are responsible for. Phillips stated that if you don’t, they will expect you to continue doing a lot, and you’ll end up spending more time and money than necessary.
As they become more familiar with your program, partners can be expected to shoulder about 80% of the work load. It’s a 30-day project.

Author: Kody