SBI recently spoke with Rodney Foreman, Senior Vice President of Informatica‘s partner ecosystem. Informatica is the world’s number one provider of data management solutions, more than 7,000 companies turn to Informatica for data solutions that power their businesses. Rodney is uniquely qualified to speak on this topic having run multi-billion-dollar channel businesses with thousands of partners at IBM the past ten years, and now Informatica.
Today’s article is focused on selecting the right indirect channels. We want to invest time in helping b2b sales leaders understand how to cover the market completely with both direct and indirect sales channels. As a guide, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Flip to the sales strategy section of the PDF and review the Channel Optimization phase on pages 290 – 298 of the workbook.
When choosing channels, if the go to market model is an indirect model, and you must choose between indirect channels, which ones should you use? For example, do you select private label or OEM or reseller or distributed or value-added reseller. Rodney shared in the interview how to think through this decision.
Selecting the right partners can bring value to your product and sell a complete solution that’s more attractive in the market. When you’re building a channel business and you’re considering which partners you want to be a part of your partner ecosystem you should consider the product and does it lend itself to different types of partners? You also should consider; do you have the support mechanisms and support infrastructure in place to have these partners take your product to market and be successful? It’s important to think about how you want to go to market, and is your go to market plan such that a third party can come in, take your product and be successful selling into different industries or markets.
First look at the product itself and ask these questions: Does the product lend itself to being sold by a third party? Two, what is your infrastructure that you’re willing to invest in or that’s in place today to support those partners so that they can be successful? Three, in terms of the types of partner, OEM partners typically want a white label. If your product doesn’t lend itself to white labeling or embedding as part of another partners’ value add, and products and solutions, then OEM is probably not a good model. From a reseller perspective, you must have a program where you have consistent margins and rebates so that there’s no mystery for a reseller in terms of what they can make in terms of revenue and profit from selling your product.
You should be willing to put the right programs in place so they can make consistent revenue and profit, and then you also must be able to invest in skills and make sure that whatever the partner’s going to be selling for you that you’ve got the right authorization and certification programs in place so the partner can be effective in the market reselling.
Another dynamic you may see is that customers may prefer to buy through partners. Buyers are shifting to purchasing through a partner because they can build a complete solution with the right partner. Buyers want the value add that a partner puts around that product, be it services or expertise or implementation skills, they want that whole solution. It’s another reason that companies look to the channel to sell. The right partners can bring value to your product and sell a complete solution that’s more attractive in the market. Those are the considerations in terms of what channels you should use and what type of partners could be a part of your ecosystem.
To access the complete interview from Rodney’s guest appearance on SBI Media, download the SBI App from your iPhone. Search Sales Benchmark Index from the App Store and gain access to sales and marketing best practices from your peers. Or click here for the web-based version of the Podcast Episode.
In summary, when selecting channel partners to sell through if you want to go indirect, Rodney outlined a cheat sheet to think through this question.
- Does your product must lend itself to being sold through different types of channels?
- You need to have a support mechanism in place to support those channel partners.
- There must be enough money to go around to support the channels and lastly, and I think probably most importantly is, what’s the buyer preference?
- Does the end customer want to buy through a channel, and if so which type and why, or do they want to buy from you direct and if so why?
If you would like to spend time with me on this subject of channels, come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.