Adopting a Channel Mindset: Part 1
Picture this scenario: You and your co-worker sit down to discuss the workday over a beer and that’s when your idea hits. You quickly grab a couple of cocktail napkins and sketch out what you believe would be the next best as-a-service product on the market. You then build the business plan, get the funding, develop the product and hire staff.
Now you need to get your new solution into the hands of global resellers—so you maximize exposure to potential customers to drive sales and profits. But you may not know how to scale in the channel without exponential spending. Your next step is to adopt a channel mindset.
Potential channel drawbacks
First, ask yourself and your team a serious question: Do you really want to move from direct sales to the channel? When you move to the channel, you can expect to run into some potential drawbacks, including:
- Trailing profits since your channel partner will want a piece of each sale to make it worth their while
- Losing control of your product sales and marketing as well as the relationship with the customer
- Adding complexity to your sales, marketing, revenue and support processes
Haven’t decided to quit yet? Now that you have a handle on these issues, you should understand that the drawbacks can be short-lived. And handled properly, these can be catalysts to your business’ exponential growth.
It’s time to flip the script in the way you think about your product. You need to realize that no matter how good your product may be, resellers rely on a strong stable of solutions. They’re not simply going to drop what they’re currently offering and sell your product just because you think it’s the best.
Key questions for you to ask next
To get resellers to adopt your product as part of their portfolio and promote it to their customers, you must convince them of not just how great your product is, but how your company has adopted a channel mindset—and will be there to support, grow and expand your product offerings.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to think of several areas that involve both your product and your company, such as:
- Is your company channel-ready?
- Have you developed a channel strategy?
- How will you be successful in the channel?
In this series, we’ll discuss each of these topics in depth, starting with the most important question you need to ask: Is your company channel-ready?
Prepare to sell in the channel
As discussed earlier, there can be several initial drawbacks to moving from direct to channel sales. But, if your company and product are set up properly, you’ll find the channel to be a profit driver that can scale your company’s ability to grow with limited investment on your part.
To be channel-ready, your company needs to ensure that all your departments have adopted a channel mindset. This means they must think of how the product will operate in the channel in a low- or no-touch environment. So, when preparing for the channel, you’ll want to consider these questions:
- Do you have clear and easy-to-understand onboarding and support processes that are well-documented?
- Is your marketing designed to be easily consumed and can it be altered for co-branding purposes?
- Do you have the tools to handle working with multiple partners and track their prospects, customers and support agreements?
These are just some of the key areas you need to focus on when thinking about how you’ll integrate with channel partners.
Once you have tackled the basics, you can create a comprehensive channel strategy to move into this market. We’ll discuss “Developing a Channel Strategy” in the next blog post of this series.
Start selling in the channel
Ingram Micro Cloud’s Activate program provides valuable resources and expertise to help you realize the full potential of your cloud business in the channel. Ready to take the first step? Sign up for our free Activate program.
Category Growth & Best Practices
Written by Mike Jennett
Published on March 16, 2021
Mike Jennett, Director, Cloud Portfolio Development, Ingram Micro Cloud
Mike uses more than 20 years of business and technology experience to guide the strategy and programs for Ingram Micro Cloud’s vendor portfolio development in existing and emerging markets.