Adopting a Channel Mindset: Part 3
If you’ve been reading my blog series on how to adopt a cloud solution channel mindset, you now know how to build the strong foundation needed to enter the channel.
My first blog in this series showed you how to determine whether your cloud product and company are a good fit for channel distribution. And my second blog explained how to assemble a crack team to develop the overall strategy for your marketing and sales.
But the best laid plans mean nothing if your product isn’t set up for success in the channel with a proper operational strategy. In the channel, resellers become your customers and their experiences are key to scaling your cloud business. The stronger the customer experience, the more likely they’ll be to continue selling your solution.
To get your product to a place where channel partners will see it flying off the shelves, you’ll want to ensure that these five components are part of the heart and soul of your product development and implementation roadmap:
1. Be certain your product pricing leaves plenty of margin to share with your partner. Remember, every time a partner looks at your product, they aren’t just looking at the capabilities; they’re also looking at how much money they can make from selling your product. If there isn’t a good margin for resellers, then they may not want to invest any time and energy into selling your product. So, look at your bottom line and determine how much you can give to your partners while still hitting your own revenue targets.
2. Create an easy-to-sell pricing structure. Partners have a lot of options in the market, and they want to spend their time providing the best service to their customers, not figuring out your pricing models.
To help your partners, create a structure that’s easy to sell on a recurring subscription basis; monthly is the most common and easiest from a revenue recognition perspective. This provides recurring revenue to both your company and your partner. And your solution may often be bundled with other technologies. The simpler your pricing structure is, the easier it is for your partners to include you in an RFP or proposal.
3. Make your product low- or no-touch. Ensure your product is installed in a low- or preferably no-touch manner, so it’s an easy setup for your partner. This is ideal when your partner can’t install or set up your solution without you. If you have a product that isn’t going to be low- or no-touch, incorporate a way to allow your partners to bundle services such as installation and support into your channel plan.
4. Verify your support is easy and profitable. Design your support to be easy for the end customer to use and include it in the sale of your product. This is another area where you can create an add-on for your partner with a Train-the-Trainer type program, which helps them learn how to support your product locally. Certifications for your partners can be a nice service add-on and make it more appealing for them to sell.
5. Design clear payment and deal structures. Be certain to keep your partners happy with easy payment structures and continuous communication—think deal registration and business intelligence systems—regarding your expectations of them. Create incentive plans that are easy for partners to follow and that help them understand the relationship with your company, your expectations and the benefits of selling your product over that of your competition.
By keeping these five components in mind, you’ll find it easier to build stronger partnerships and grow your product’s market share.
Get ready for channel success
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. If you’re ready to take the first step, sign up for our free Activate program.
Category Growth & Best Practices
Written by Mike Jennett
Published on June 09, 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.