Before we dive into the 3 bold ideas, let’s discuss why success rates are so dismal for first year channel recruits.  The main contributors are:

 

  • Your mind share is very low
  • Channel sales people view new products as a distraction
  • Your visibility into their organization is almost zero on day one

 

Channel Recruitment

 

The ideas below combat these head on and create awareness, interest and intent from the channel sales force

 

#1 – Use an aggressive compensation model in the first 180 days
If people are truly motivated by rewards then step up your discount rates or payouts through the first 180 Days.  Double your rates on the first deal and take it to 3x by the fifth deal.  Counterbalance the higher payout with a required deal value of twice your average channel deal size.  This will incent the behavior you want – take us into your biggest accounts now!  Let’s face it, your partners learn how to sell by doing so the more deals they close early on, the better equipped they are to sell the next one.  You might lose some margin but you will make it up in ramp time

 

#2 – Ask for their two best sales people to shadow your two best sales people
The second best way to learn besides actual practice is observing a skilled practitioner.  During your initial channel recruitment process, make it a requirement for signing on.  The Channel reps should have gone through your training first and its best that they attend an early stage meeting.  This mirrors what you want them to do right out of the gate. This is also a strong sign of commitment from both sides.  I haven’t seen this fail yet

 

#3 – Ask to set up an alert to email you when a complimentary product opportunity is created in their CRM
Many channel sales opportunities are bundle scenarios where your product fits well with some other product they are selling to their customer.  The traditional way to go after this is your channel manager hovers around the partner’s sales floor looking for them.  Today’s CRM systems are perfectly capable of setting up this type of alert.  Again, make this part of the initial agreement and set targets for bolt-on sales that take into account their current run rate and a reasonable attach rate

 

We have seen these techniques pay of big for our clients.  There is certainly more you can do such as use a channel capabilities matrix to focus your enablement activity on the areas that will create the greatest impact.