#1 – Topgrade your entire channel sales team. Follow the “people first” principle and you have addressed over half of your performance challenge. The best practices in sales talent management are widely known and yet only a small percentage of sales organizations have adopted them. If you put them in place now, you can place yourself in the elite few that consistently hire and retain A Players.
#2 – Refine your channel partner selection and de-selection criteria. You can only win if you have the best players on your team. Why are you keeping third rate partners in the program? Reduce the partner count and double down on your efforts to make successful partners even better. They will appreciate the focus and reciprocate.
#3 – Develop a strong diagnostic approach to maximize performance. Take your remaining partners and dig deep to understand their competency levels across the entire sales process. Use tools like a partner capability assessment to determine exactly where you should focus your partner training and development program. Cisco is the gold standard in channel management and they recently rolled out a lead generation training program after spotting this as a deficiency across their channel partners.
#4 – Drive accountability through joint scorecards. If you have executed 1-3 above then you have a channel sales machine that can stretch and reach even higher levels performance. Leverage joint scorecards and bring them front and center into your reviews with channel partners. Remember that this is just as much about your own accountabilities and what the partner wants from you.